Couples and businesses across Colorado are frustrated and unsure of how they can still have their special day.
Spring and summertime in Colorado is historically a booming time for the wedding business. This year, however, COVID-19 has canceled, altered, or simply devasted many couples who are wading through the wedding planning process. Already a stressful and emotional time, many of those trying to plan a wedding right now face a new challenge: the coronavirus outbreak.
For wedding venues, officiants, photographers, event planners, caters, and couples, so much uncertainty looms in the air. While restaurants, churches, pools, gyms, playgrounds, state parks, and national parks are reopening, the event industry has been given less leeway to get back to business. This is, in part, due to the continued state restrictions on social gatherings of more than 10 people inside or 25 people outside. This, as many know, is an exceedingly small number when it comes to a wedding guest list.
For some, an intimate wedding is a perfect fit; for many, though, this is a setback they just don't know how to navigate while still maintaining the wedding day they've always dreamed of.
Gov. Jared Polis has, for now, limited gathering—including weddings, receptions, and churches—to groups of up to 50 people. An order was signed by the governor a few months ago to allow for marriage licenses to be obtained remotely and has since extended that order. So, while marriage can happen, the traditional wedding festivities are severely limited, for now. Further complicating the issue are the different guidelines each county has (on top of the guidance from the state), as well as confusion about liquor licenses and serving food at events.
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While many couples have opted for a live stream or very private, small wedding, others have either canceled or postponed or have found themselves fighting to get their deposits and prepaid items refunded. On the other side of this, the situation has threatened the futures of many small businesses that thrive off the normally very lucrative wedding season in Colorado. Those who work and run businesses in the events industry have asked for more guidance from the state but still have many questions.
The Colorado Event Alliance is an association of special event business leaders from around the state that was formed to support and help raise funds in order to assist those who work in the event industry. Brynn Swanson, who works with the Colorado Event Alliance, vocalized frustrations the wedding and special events industry feels right now, as reported by Fox31.
"The special events industry really got crushed in this pandemic, similar to a lot of other industries when the entire state shut down. We weren’t on their radar. They were very honest—they don’t know the wedding and special events industry."
Swanson also points out that there is confusion on what sets a restaurant, church, and wedding venue apart from each other, and why one is allowed to open when another is not. Colorado Event Alliance has a meeting planned with the governor this week to vocalize their concerns and help get clarity on what needs to happen to get the industry going again.
For many though, the idea of having to just wait and see if the most important day of their lives can even happen is causing a lot of stress, anxiety, and possible strain on relationships as couples and businesses alike work to get things figured out and back to some sense of normal business.
Have you been affected as a bride or groom, or as a business owner or employee in the wedding industry in Colorado? We want to hear how this has changed your wedding plans in the comments, as well as how you want to see the industry move forward during the coronavirus pandemic.