As the wedding season approaches, venues across New York are in the process of distributing tables and finding ways to accommodate socially distant dancing that couples will want to say “I do” can do this as safely as possible – and in accordance with government regulations.
Governor Andrew Cuomo recently unveiled new wedding guidelines that will go into effect March 15 and allow up to 150 guests or the total capacity of half a venue, whichever is less.
The new capacity limits are an increase over the current 50-person limits under which weddings had to operate for much of last year as the state tried to stop the spread of the coronavirus, but with a new set of regulations that some local Regulations contain affected wedding locations.
“We were relieved that something moved the needle like that, but as we all know after reading the restrictions, it is almost harder to do weddings than not to do.” said Matthew Taormino, the general manager of Dunham’s Bay Resort on Lake George.
Under the new guidelines, venues must ensure that all attendees have a negative virus test within 72 hours of the event. Track the names and information of those present for contact tracking purposes. force the mask to be worn when guests are not seated; and ensure that the dancers are socially distant, with each party staying within the confines of their own specific dance capsule.
According to the guidelines, you are not allowed to dance between parties.
According to Taormino, Dunham’s Bay is well on its way to hosting around three dozen weddings this year, which is typical of the venue.
The venue only hosted six receptions last year, resulting in thousands of dollars in lost revenue.
Dunham’s Bay has ample room for guests (the resort can accommodate 80 guests indoors and an additional 100 outside, according to state guidelines). However, Taormino is more concerned when everyone in attendance adheres to guidelines, especially when alcohol is flowing.
“As sensitive as we want to make weddings, we hope that the people who come here are just as sensitive to the restrictions and guidelines we have to follow right now.” he said.
Letiza Mastrantoni, owner of Events to a T, a banquet and wedding planning firm based in the Lake George area, said she shares the same concern and encourages her clients to share the guidelines with their guests and communicate directly with their venues, if you have any questions.
“I am very straightforward with my customers” She said. “I encourage them not only to share the guidelines and requirements for attending a wedding with their guests, but also to connect with their venue and encourage venues and professionals to be very clear about what they will and will not allow. “
Mastrantoni said it was difficult to strike a balance between security guidelines and the atmosphere of the event, but is confident that planners and venues can do it in creative ways without compromising reception.
Still, she said that some smaller venues in the area have chosen not to host weddings due to restrictions and that customers have postponed their weddings until next year in hopes that they can have a wedding without the red tape.
“As these restrictions change, weddings will definitely increase for 2022 and beyond.” Mastrantoni said.
At the Blue Water Manor in Bolton, General Manager Luke Callahan said the resort staff are comfortable “optimistic” about the new guidelines.
The venue is fully booked for the year, which equates to about 20 weddings, he said.
Even so, Callahan said hosting a wedding will require additional work but is confident that his staff will be able to handle it.
“I think it’s going to be pretty interesting to see how it plays out because I think it’s going to be pretty difficult to force people to stay in their specific dance zone and make sure things are done appropriately. “ he said.
He added: “I don’t know if it will be a bigger barrier than we were already forced to jump through when we did the same to the lodging, the restaurant, or anything else.”
Callahan said he hoped the guests comply with regulations and looked forward to hosting a more traditional wedding.
The venue hosted three weddings of 25 to 30 guests last year. There was no dancing because everyone had to stay seated at all times.
“It didn’t have the wedding feeling” Callahan said.
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