How does the Massachusetts reopening plan impact upcoming weddings?

BOSTON — "We've been planning the past two years," said Keri Acheson, a bride-to-be.

Keri Acheson's wedding is set for September 19, but she's not sure if the celebration she imagined will happen. Right now, wedding receptions with a moderate number of guests can happen under Phase 3. No word on an exact date and, as with other businesses reopening, it will come with restrictions.

"Everyone just wants to have more clarification, more guidelines so we can make this happen," Acheson said.

The reception is set to take place at Tewksbury Country Club. After talking with the venue, Acheson decided to take matters into her own hands.

"We both talked how there's a little bit of a disconnect on weddings, and how we can make this happen and still keep everyone as safe as possible," she said.

She wrote a letter to Governor Baker saying, in part:

"With respect to social guidelines from your administration, I am confident that my guests can and should measure the risk of attending a wedding that includes dancing, dining and socializing. I would just like to give them the chance to make that decision."

She and her fiancé, Kyle, have been planning the wedding for two years, but it wasn't the pandemic that was the first setback. A few months after getting engaged, Kyle was diagnosed with Hodgkins Lymphoma. He went through months of chemotherapy and, last September, his PET scan came back clear.

"We just want it to happen as safely as possible and to just celebrate this once in a lifetime moment after everything we've been through," Acheson said.

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Her plea isn't without knowing the risks. Acheson is a physical therapist working in a nursing home throughout the pandemic. She feels her reception with family and friends will be a safe celebration.

"We did even talk about it with my venue of having waivers, filling that out, if that makes things more comfortable," Acheson said.

She’s planning a reception for 200 guests. Currently, Phase 4 includes large capacity venues like theaters, stadiums and arenas. 

Keri expressed her thoughts on that to the governor, writing:

“A private wedding is NOT the same as a stadium event, why would weddings’ guidelines fall into stage four with those stadium events?”

"I'm confident my guests can and should note the risk and determine the level of risk, and we can have this wedding and celebrate and do it as safe as possible," Acheson said.

Boston 25 News reached out to the governor's office. We're told that events and gatherings, including weddings, will be permitted to open with additional public health guidance that is currently under development.

“Well there’s not much you can do. I mean, we reach out to our vendors daily, maybe weekly, to make sure that they’re still onboard and how they feel about it. We’re kind of just stuck right now,” Acheson said.

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