Wedding & party venues preparing for bigger crowds

SOUTH BEND, Ind. – Governor Holcomb announced several new policies on how the state is responding to COVID-19 on Tuesday. The announcement addressing venue capacity restrictions shifting to local health officials has many businesses involved in the wedding industry hopeful local leaders will implement the new policy changes taking effect soon.

Having no business was the reality for many in the wedding industry due to the pandemic and it’s what led South Bend DJ Andrew Villalobos to take a job with Amazon just to make ends meet.

“In 2019 I was DJ'ing every weekend just having some pretty phenomenal nights. Nights that people will never forget and in 2020 I’m being chased around by dogs in the country delivering packages," said Villalobos.

For wedding planner Angie Anderson, she’s been able to keep business going, but the uncertainty has been difficult to advise couples trying to plan their big day.

“Unfortunately, I am becoming a little bit of an expert in COVID wedding planning which is definitely not what I ever wanted to have on my resume," said Anderson, Owner of Belle Behind the Ball.

Although dates are set and weekends fully booked - restrictions have led many couples to reschedule to ensure their day is exactly how they always imagined it to be.

“It's really devastating for those brides that have cancelled or postponed twice and now they’re hoping they can have their summer wedding, but if you say family only at the table, 50% capacity, no dancing, no buffets, no head tables these are all deal breakers for brides as understandably,” said Kurt Janowsky, Owner of Navarro Hospitality Group.

With decisions regarding venue capacities shifting to local health officials, Janowsky says he hopes they’ll lift them to allow couples to make choices on what COVID precautions they want in place for their big day.

“We don’t know yet what their rules are going to be. If it’s going to be the same as it was or if it would be as open as Governor Holcomb or somewhere in between," said Janowsky.

For Anderson, she plans on still wearing a mask while working events, but hopes to be able to start shifting back to larger events for her clients.

“My biggest wish is that whatever the numbers are they kind of hold steady and there’s a little bit less fluctuation in what the maximum numbers will be allowed to be,” said Anderson.

Local health officials have not released new capacity limits at this time.

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