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Posted by NJWedding.com on 06/03/2021

NJ Wedding Venues & Restaurants Ready To Host Upcoming Events

NJ Wedding Venues & Restaurants Ready To Host Upcoming Events

As of June 4th, Gov. Phil Murphy announced all limits on indoor gatherings are removed

The process of getting married and planning a wedding in New Jersey is an exciting one for many engaged couples. The choices of wedding venues, local restaurants and other locations is enormous, and couples will use a variety of resources to find the ideal setting for their marriage and celebration.

According to The Wedding Report, a research company that collects and forecasts statistics for the wedding industry, there were 47,748 weddings that took place in 2019, and after the pandemic hit New Jersey in March 2020, the number of weddings throughout the Garden State dropped to 23,152 in 2020. Many couples that had planned their wedding date after March had to either postpone, cancel, or find an alternate way to get married and celebrate within the state mandated capacity restrictions, and accommodate for health concerns since the COVID-19 virus was spreading and impacting people locally, regionally, nationwide and worldwide. As the Spring and Summer months progressed, couples found opportunities to have Micro-Weddings, which limited capacity and accommodated for small gatherings of people following social distancing guidelines. Restaurants and banquet facilities expanded their footprint by constructing tented spaces outdoors on patios and parking lots to provide space for their couples and guests to celebrate, too.

Since planning milestone celebrations like a wedding is usually a once-in-a-lifetime event, couples had many choices to consider because there were various concerns in hosting a big party with a variety of guests attending.  Travel plans domestically and internationally were impacted, so family members weren't able to attend in person, and those that were health compromised also had to be a consideration in having a large gathering. Couples turned to Zoom and other teleconferencing technology and the State of New Jersey provided local resources for couples to have virtual marriage ceremonies. Some were also able to incorporate a Zoom marriage ceremony with a small gathering of family and friends.  As the COVID-19 numbers started to drop and people started to get vaccinated from the Coronavirus, the prospect of having larger gatherings again became more of a reality.

As of Friday, May 28th, Governor Phil Murphy announced that the New Jersey mask mandate would be lifted in all indoor and outdoor settings, as well as the 6-foot distancing requirement, and that NJ restaurants and venues can continue with their own masking and social distance policies should they choose. As of June 4th, dance floors at bars and restaurants will be reopened and all indoor gathering limits will be lifted.  After 15 months of being limited by the pandemic, weddings and special events at venues and restaurants would be open for couples, their families and guests to celebrate!

What makes this all possible? A strong community of industry professionals helping one another get through this challenging time. The NJ Restaurant & Hospitality Association, the state's leading hospitality industry representing more than 25,000 restaurants, 1,500 hotels and venues, had weekly virtual meetings with owners and managers to establish "safe celebration" best practices, develop ideas around contact tracing to be accountable for all guests at events, and generally advocate on behalf of these family-owned establishments to let couples know that their needs would be accommodated. SaveTheWeddingIndustry.com grew out of a need for wedding venue owners and managers to create a voice for businesses, employees and celebration clients. The NY / NJ Live Events Coalition was created in response to the COVID-19 pandemic and provided advocacy, resources and a network that connected and supported the events industry.

Over the last 15 months, we regularly consulted with these industry associations for updates, and also followed the news from Governor Murphy's COVID-19 Task Force Briefings, regularly held in Trenton, NJ. Their current status reports, backed up by the COVID-19 Information Hub, provided relevant data and information about gatherings. It inspired us to create our "Planning Your New Jersey Wedding: 2021 Edition" blog that focused on marriage options and wedding guidelines as they continued to progress. The NJ Department Of Health provided regular updates on COVID-19 numbers throughout the pandemic, and most recently gave the public the confidence to get vaccinated so that New Jerseyans can prevent the spread of the Coronavirus and ultimately reach herd immunity.

As a result of these efforts, we are now in a much better place and moving forward with confidence. For those that are vaccinated, there is no longer a need for masks or social distancing (though some businesses may continue to require it for a time period). People can now go out to local restaurants again, gather with family and friends, and celebrate milestone events, like weddings and any other related events like bridal showers, rehearsal dinners, etc.

One other resource that couples and local wedding professionals have used and continue to use is our "New Jersey Weddings" Facebook group, where brides and grooms can ask questions on any topic of wedding planning and get responses from fellow brides and grooms and local vendors.  The group has grown tremendously to exceed 12,200 members currently. We're also happy to see, according to The Wedding Report, that weddings in 2021, there will be an estimated 42,315 weddings and in 2022, there will be a projected 55,759 weddings.

Editor's Note: Thanks to the NJ Restaurant & Hospitality Association for collaborating with us at NJWedding.com for this article, and to all the other industry associations and state government organizations that provided helpful, relevant information throughout the past 15 months. We are grateful for the strong business community in New Jersey and to the engaged couples that went through a very challenging time to plan their marriage and wedding celebrations. With the news of dining, weddings and special events opening up more and more, we are thrilled to be moving forward and helping the local weddings community continue to plan future milestone events. When asked for a comment, Dana Lancellotti, President & CEO of the NJRHA said, "Cheers to the brides and grooms who will welcome all of their guests, see their smiles, dance, dine, and celebrate the joy of their special day surrounded by the people they hold dear. Best wishes from our members at The NJ Restaurant & Hospitality Association." #wethrivetogether (well said!).

- Erik Kent, Co-Publisher, (908) 874-0417
Questions or corrections to the above info? Please contact us at info@njwedding.com.


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