CHARLOTTE, N.C. — The wedding industry in North Carolina is slowly seeing some changes toward normalcy as restrictions are eased.
Under the new state Executive Order, wedding receptions in conference rooms, meeting spaces, and reception halls can have a 30% capacity limit, not to exceed 250 people in any indoor space.
Wedding ceremonies are not subject to a limit on attendees.
Guests are also required to remain seated, except to enter and leave, use amenities, visit the restroom, and obtain food and drink.
The Collector’s Room by Beau Monde can still only host weddings up to 100 people at 30% capacity, but MarySue Boyle, creative director and owner of the Beau Monde venues, said it’s better than nothing.
Boyle said many of the couples that are getting married at The Collector’s Room this year have been planning their weddings since 2018 and are just now finally able to walk down the aisle.
The venue has been constantly trying to adapt to the changing restrictions for wedding venues and the changes to capacity restrictions and guestlists.
"The message through all of this is even though there's some roadblocks, we're still able to create and execute a beautiful event,” Boyle said. “And it may look different than it was, you know, a year ago, but it's your special day and with patience, it will all happen."
Boyle said dates are filling up for 2021 at the venue between the postponed weddings from 2020 and new couples starting to plan.
"I think that light at the end of the tunnel is getting bigger and brighter,” Boyle said. “For me, I don’t want to go back. I only want to go forward, and we’re all ready to, to celebrate.”
According to The Knot, nearly half the couples, 47%, who planned a wedding in 2020 had to postpone their big day and rescheduled for 2021 and beyond.
“Couples are really focusing on the originality of why they’re getting married in the first place,” said Esther Lee, senior editor of The Knot. “Why is it? What is the meaning behind our marriage? And let’s move forward with it because our love is not canceled. It’s so much more.”
Bishal and Lindsay Johal got engaged in March 2019 and started planning their 250-300 person wedding in Charlotte for Oct. 2020, until the pandemic changed everything.
"I don't think it was really until summer when numbers kept going up that we really were like, oh, this is going to impact us too and we need to start, not changing things but kind of thinking about what's going to happen if this doesn't go away,” said Lindsay.
The couple kept their original date, and said "I do" in front of a small number of family and friends in Charleston, S.C.
"That wedding was so special,” said Lindsay. “It was intimate, and you really got to connect with your guests."
The newlywed Johals have now set a new date in Oct. 2021 to fulfill their original plans, with the hope that their full guest list will be able to attend as North Carolina eases restrictions on weddings.
"We're not quite where I'd like to be, but seeing that we're making steps in that direction,” Lindsay said. “It's like ok, pushing a year and everything was worth it."
According to The Knot, the Johals are part of the 32% of couples that did a mini ceremony and plan to throw another party.
After everything, the couple and their families have been through to plan their wedding events, Lindsay said it would be great to have their family and friends celebrate together in October in a safe way as they say “I do” for a second time.
"People being in that room and being together would just be the best outcome of this year,” Lindsay added.