ROCHESTER, N.Y. (WROC) — Wedding bells are still ringing in the air, but COVID-19 has completely changed the way couples are tying the knot. While some venues have been able to adapt to safety restrictions, a group of other venues are fighting back in an attempt to increase the number of people allowed at the big day.
Rochester Wedding Magazine showcases hundreds of local wedding services, including close to 2,000 wedding venues in the area. Publisher Theo Wheeler says the 50 guests maximum hurts everything from the Florists to the DJ’s who rely on big weddings.
“We see that they’re devastated and they have no income but they still have to pay their bills somehow. So you know the perception of ‘oh darn we just have to postponed Suzie’s wedding to next year’ really isn’t the case, it’s really a lot deeper than that,” said Theo Wheeler, Publisher at Rochester Wedding Magazine.
Some venues like the WoodCliff Hotel and SPA in Fairport have been able to adjust by offering couples ‘mini wedding’. The package has small scale wedding services with implemented safety guidelines like disinfecting stations, and no touch buffets — helping out the couples and businesses that depend on the big day.
“We’re offering basically a one stop shop. They’re already gone through the planning and we’re trying to do everything that we can to make it as simple as possible,” said Corey Dooley, General Manager at Woodcliff Hotel and Spa.
Other venues are taking matters to court.
In early August, Arrowhead Golf Course in New York was given permission by a judge to proceed with their wedding of over 100 guests.
And now, 100 venues in upstate New York are behind a movement to use this ruling to increase attendance at all weddings to 50% of the venue’s capacity — the same guideline as restaurants.
“Would look at 100 people eating at a venue the same way as 100 people eating at a restaurant, so long as all the guidelines are followed. So based on his decision even though it was just two couples, it really has set the precedent for moving forward,” said Wheeler.
That group expects to file two new lawsuits to increase wedding capacities in the state.