Published: Wednesday, May. 5th, 2021
As other restrictions loosen for businesses and private events in Washington, DC, dancing is now banned in all indoor and outdoor wedding receptions.
The new guidelines are part of an executive order that went into effect on Saturday, allowing an increased capacity limit for most venues (up from 25 to 50%, with a maximum of 250 people), and permitting live music and performances outdoors, among other updates.
Although the news brings fewer restrictions overall, its strict ban on dancing and standing in groups at receptions has caused distress among wedding professionals and couples.
Only days after the announcement, the ban is already causing some couples to move their weddings to more lenient venues outside of the District. This worries professionals, who fear a drop in business and income, further complicating an already complicated wedding season.
Wedding professionals are speaking out, asking why the Mayor chose to ban dancing outright, rather than allowing it with precautions such as masking.
DC’s dancing ban is not the first of its kind. Similar restrictions in Rhode Island prohibited dancing at ceremonies and receptions (without addressing a real need for wedding industry-specific guidance), causing upset among many wedding professionals and couples. The ban even led local vendors to organize.
Vendors formed the Rhode Island Coalition of Wedding and Event Professionals (RICWEP) and were able to start a conversation between local event businesses, local government, and the RI Department of Health, even holding a mock wedding to demonstrate safety techniques, eventually leading to more straightforward state guidelines specifically tailored to the wedding and event industry.
In early 2021, AMM interviewed RICWEP organizer Luke Renchan to discuss the ways vendors could safely celebrate weddings in their states, and what COVID testing best-practices might look like for couples, wedding officiants, and other vendors moving forward:
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