Local brides hopeful with bigger gatherings expected in Phase 3

Providence
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PROVIDENCE, R.I. (WPRI) — Brides and grooms might be breathing a little easier after Gov. Gina Raimondo’s latest press briefing on Friday.

The governor said she’ll be easing restrictions for social gatherings even further starting during Phase 3, which could happen as soon as early July.

November bride Gabrielle Elkas has been following the governor’s COVID-19 updates closely. She said Friday’s announcement gave her hope. “We all sighed, a sighed a little breath of relief.”

During Phase 3, the limit on social gatherings — including parties, BBQs and weddings — would expand to 50-75 people indoors and 75-150 people outdoors. Raimondo said Phase 4 could soon follow in August with those numbers increasing to as many as 100 people for indoor weddings and 250 people outdoors.

Elkas and her fiance have been engaged since last August. The Johnston bride said planning a wedding during a pandemic has been difficult.

“We didn’t have a venue before COVID started so we booked our venue without seeing it at all. We still haven’t seen it and we haven’t tried the food. Everything to do with our engagement party has been postponed,” Elkas said.

Wedding venues like the Ballroom at Providence G have also been hit hard. Director of Operations Rebecca Miller said they’ve had around one hundred wedding and large event cancellations.

“We were shut down first and we are one of the last to re-open. We lost all our weddings all through March, April, May, June and pretty much all the weddings in August. 2020 was gearing up to be a great year for us, it was blowing 2019 out of the water.”

Miller said small details are still uncertain but the governor’s new guidelines seem promising for fall weddings. “It’s sort of what we had been waiting for was just an answer about when we can start thinking about having weddings again. All we needed was a little guidance as to what that would look like and we can make anything happen from there.”

“We were heartbroken at first. We are so excited to get married, but we were also so excited to celebrate with everyone around us. Honestly, just lucky we can still have our wedding at some capacity, so I’m going into that this is all worth it, and I’m marrying my best friend at the end of the day and that is all I have to worry about,” Elkas said.

When asked specifically about face masks at weddings, Raimondo said they are not required but suggested.

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