Wedding venue owners tell couples, ‘alert your people, your guest list’ to New Orleans vaccine, testing mandate

Published: Aug. 19, 2021 at 6:09 PM CDT
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NEW ORLEANS (WVUE) - Brides and grooms planning their New Orleans wedding are asking plenty of questions of venue hosts, trying to understand the city’s proof of vaccine or negative test mandate.

“This whole pandemic has definitely tested my abilities,” said Leah Berhanu at Board of Trade with Pigéon Catering and Events.

“You see, we’re still working on all the cancels from last year,” Bobby Asaro, owner of Southern Oaks Wedding explains.

Asaro says couples are calling to cancel but he tells them off the ledge by explaining how they’re adjusting to follow city guidelines.

“We’re telling them, alert your people, your guest list,” Asaro explained, “tell everybody you can get to, here’s what’s going to happen as you approach this facility.”

He says people who aren’t vaccinated or can’t show a negative test can still attend the event but they’ll need to remain outdoors, “we can work around that because of our outdoor space.”

At Board of Trade, Leah Berhanu says couples are changing their original dreams to accommodate COVID-19 realities. However, Berhanu says outside groups looking to use the space are calling it quits.

“Way more cancelations this time than postponements,” said Berhanu. “A lot of times their states may be doing better. And when they look into what’s going on here, that’s, ‘okay a place to stay away from for now.’”

Berhanu says some event groups are playing a wait-and-see approach, hoping the city lifts its vaccine and test mandate.

“Trying to figure out how they can invite people without having to have this type of conversation with them and it was just easier to postpone than cancel,” Berhanu said.

Both Berhanu and Asaro say after surviving a tough patch when all events were shuttered their respected spaces can’t financially deal with cancellations.

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