Wedding venues prepare for reopening in Phase I

Updated: May. 13, 2020 at 9:05 PM CDT
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NEW ORLEANS, La. (WVUE) - Wedding venues prepare for reopening, as Phase I begins this weekend.

Couples who planned their springtime wedding scrambled to change their plans.

"Our wedding was for the tenth of April, and then the 22nd everything shut down, so we were kind of in limbo with what was going to go on," Kyle Leunissen said.

Leunissen says he had to go down the list to cancel scheduled entertainment.

"It just started adding up. Like, you lose your deposit here, this, this. I work in music and we tour a lot, so I couldn't reschedule, and everyone was saying well, since you're not rescheduling with us, you don't get your money back," Leunissen said.

He says he was able to get refunded on catering and his wedding venue, but not on furniture.

"She just wasn't hearing it, and said that we get nothing back, so then I had to get some representation because I just didn't feel that was right, and again, I get that they're a small business. We could've worked something out," Leunissen said.

Some wedding venues, like the balcony ballroom in metairie say they've been understanding of the unprecedented circumstances.

"We have refunded fully or moved all of those weddings with deposits 100% through the closure, which is May 15," Vanessa Van Vrancken, with The Balcony Ballroom said.

She says they're extending this policy for weddings scheduled through part of June.

"Past that, let's say your wedding is in October, and you're booked with us and you want to cancel out of fear that we won't be open and ready, that's going to be on you," Van Vrancken said.

While they've had many rescheduled events, she says they're even getting business from those in New Orleans.

"We're getting a lot of calls from couples that had their weddings booked in New Orleans that are not able to have their weddings in New Orleans right now, so they're calling us to see what they have open," Van Vrancken said.

While they don't have an opening date yet, she says they're taking the necessary precautions.

"We're putting out more hand sanitizer, stations so I have those around. Of course, we're going to be in masks and we're going to be in gloves serving the guests also. We do have an ionic air treatment that are in air conditioning, which are great so that as the air is going through, the virus is killed through the filter," Van Vrancken said.

One reverend says he plans to open his chapel as early as Friday, folllowing social distancing guidelines.

“We’re so small we can really only put ten guests in the couples area. So we’re taking out things that are taking up space, and making ourselves to be compliant, period,” Reverend Tony Talavera said.

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