LAKEWOOD, Ohio — In the coming days, Ohio governor Mike DeWine is expected to issue a new order putting restrictions on social gatherings, like banquets and wedding receptions That news is putting plans for local venues and betrothed couples in limbo.
From cancellations to postponements or scaling back their plans drastically, wedding venue owners and soon-to-be-married couples have been through the wringer in 2020. Though they’re worried about this new order and what it might bring, they’re going to try to make the best of this situation.
“It's definitely been a hard year,” said Melanie Zivkovich of Cleveland.
Hard is an understatement. Zivkovich and her fiance planned to get married earlier this year, but then things took an unfortunate turn.
“Our first wedding venue caught on fire so we lost the venue, lost the date,” Zivkovich said.
Zivkovich said she almost lost hope, but after canceling those plans five months ago, she and her fiance landed the last date available at the Lake Erie Building in Lakewood and are planning to say "I do" in just nine days.
“I have been very stressed out,” Zivkovich said. “And I'm sure my fiance is too just because he is listening to me go off about it all the time, but it's hard because we've done everything we can to try to stay safe and healthy and protect ourselves and others. I don't know, it's just been so difficult watching these cases rise.”
That stress has now turned to heartbreak after Gov. DeWine announced an impending order putting restrictions on wedding receptions and other social gatherings. He attributed those gatherings to the spike in coronavirus cases across the state.
“I almost don't even believe that we're going through this again,” Zivkovich said. “We were 10 days away, and here we are not sure of what's going to happen in the next nine days.”
Hannah Caraballo is the Director of Special Events at the Lake Erie Building. The venue has hosted eight weddings since the first order was lifted and she hoped things would be smooth for the final four.
“I don't want to say that I didn't see it coming, but at the same time I think I was just very hopeful that it wouldn’t,” Caraballo said.
Until that order is officially issued, she said she can’t offer much guidance to clients, but she’s trying her best to support them during this time while preparing for the worst.
“If the order brings us back down to 10 people and they just want to have a ceremony with 10 people, I don't have a problem with that. We'll make it work,” Caraballo said. “If they end up keeping where we can have 300 people and we can still have dinners, we just can't have dancing or open congregate areas, I'm totally fine to do that as well. We'll work with them on that.”
As of now, Zivkovich is planning to push forward with her wedding plans even if the orders means she’ll have to change things for the third time.
“Our main goal is just to get married and be able to celebrate with our closest loved ones and friends and family. So if we could just even host a dinner and keep everything safe and healthy that way we're not opposed. We’re ready to get married and start our lives together,” Zivkovich said.
Gov. DeWine has not revealed all the details of that order yet, but said open congregate areas can no longer be open, meaning people will have to be seated and masked unless they’re eating and drinking.
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