Groom Alex Carroll holds fiance Emily Hutchinson bridal style in a field as the sun sets
Alex Carroll and fiance Emily Hutchinson are planning on marrying on Sept. 12 in Omaha. The two took their engagement photos at Pioneers Park in Lincoln. Photo by Peter Barnes

While many Nebraska brides and grooms have pushed back their weddings until 2021, those who have kept their dates say the recent relaxed COVID-19 restrictions won’t have too much of an effect on their plans.

The new guidelines, which were put in place by Gov. Pete Ricketts on June 22, allow venues to operate at 50% capacity indoors and 75% capacity outdoors. Both are required to stay under 10,000 people. 

Bride Ashleigh Galles, who is getting married at a country club in Scottsbluff on July 25, is planning to enjoy the chance to allow people to dance at her reception. 

“COVID-19 will be here for the foreseeable future, so we decided to move forward with the approval of Phase 3,” she said, referring to the latest phase of COVID-19 restrictions.“For our reception, we are spacing the seats out as the ceremony is outside and we have the space to do so.”


The couple is following guidelines by seating six to eight people per table, 6 feet apart. They have changed from a buffet dinner to a plated dinner. They will offer dancing to those who are comfortable and will have an indoor and outdoor dance floor for distancing. 


Brandi Goldapp, owner of a View on State in Omaha, said while she doesn’t anticipate her clients changing anything from what their anticipated results were, the reduced restrictions have made her clients feel more comfortable.


“We’ll still have our normal dances (because of the reduced restrictions), so it starts to become what is good for the client, keeping social distancing measures in mind,” Goldapp said. 


Her venue is allowing clients to move their dates or make other changes to their weddings as needed, and did not raise prices for those who want to change their dates to next year.


Groom Alex Carroll of Lincoln, who is getting married on Sept. 12, said that he and his fiance are having a small wedding but have pushed their large reception to September 2021 for safety reasons.


“We’re hosting 50 or less people at my mom’s acreage for close family only this year, and then next year we’ll have a one-year anniversary celebration essentially with the ceremony and reception in Omaha,” Carroll said.


He said that his venue, A View On State in Omaha, and the caterers let them postpone a year for free.


Though there is a chance that COVID-19 cases may spike back up amid the decreased social restrictions, groom Kyle Capoun said he and his fiance haven’t made any changes to their plans.


“We’ll cross that bridge when we get there,” he said. 

Capoun is getting married at Arbor Day Barns in Nebraska City on Oct. 17.


“Perhaps we’ll consider moving or adjusting as we get closer, but there’s no reason to stress about something we have no control over, especially when we don’t know how things will be in four months,” he said.


While the new guidelines say that dancing at events is allowed so long as individuals remain at their tables/seats and keep appropriate distancing, Goldapp said that her venue has been able to provide entertainment in light of these restrictions.


“The DJs have done a fabulous job about coming up with events for guests – interactive things, which allow people to stay at their tables. People are dancing at their tables as such,” she said. 


Polly Pearson, owner and operator of Gardens on Q in Holdrege, said although COVID-19 has reduced her business for this year, they have scheduled 240 weddings for 2021. Her business had weddings scheduled every weekend through May and June, but many brides canceled or rescheduled. Those who have proceeded with their weddings have enjoyed the ease in restrictions.


“We had a wedding last weekend, and people are just excited to do something normal and celebrate a normal wedding. You don’t want to totally go out and pretend nothing ever happened, but you can’t live in a bubble for the rest of your life,” she said. 


Gardens on Q, an outdoor venue, has fewer restrictions because it is believed COVID-19 does not spread as easily outdoors. Pearson said that the staff has continued to disinfect everything, wipe everything down, and maintain several handwashing stations. All venues are following normal precautions of social distancing and requesting guests to do the same. 


“Everyone is navigating these uncharted waters together, and we are optimistic that we can get back to some semblance of normal life while keeping everyone safe,” Pearson said.

Senior journalism major, mostly covering local politics and legislature