Dancing at weddings still a no-go in B.C.; planners disappointed but not surprised

B.C. might as well be Bomont from Footloose, because dancing at indoor organized events, like weddings, is still not allowed.

On Tuesday, B.C.’s top doctor announced as of Oct. 25, indoor event venues in most of B.C. will be able to go back to full capacity. But Dr. Bonnie Henry said dancing at nightclubs and wedding receptions still won’t be allowed.

Geneve McNally with DreamGroup Weddings says the news is frustrating for couples who have been waiting for months to have their dream reception.

“A lot of couples are disappointed and frustrated,” she said. “But … at this point, with as long we have been dealing with this [and] with the changes and the postponements, it’s not a surprise that this is where we’re at.”

She recommends couples who want to have dancing at their wedding postpone until the spring or summer, when they can have their big day outside.

“From what we can see based on past restrictions, that is going to be the safest bet as far as having dancing at your wedding,” McNally said.

While you are allowed to have dancing at outdoor weddings, if you’re under a tent with walls, the event will be classified as indoors.

The lifting of capacity limits does not apply to places with regional restrictions, including most of Northern Health, Interior Health, and the eastern part of Fraser Health. The mask requirement for indoor public settings remains in place.

Despite the restriction against dancing, Maureen Brown with Emerald Events is thrilled to hear about the upcoming lift on capacity restrictions.

“It’s like Christmas in October,” she said, though she admits no dancing can be a deal-breaker for many.

“It’s great if you can have a room that’s full of people. But if they still can’t hug each other and walk around, then it’s a totally different story.”

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She says a wedding without dancing is “just not fun,” and many couple have opted for alternative entertainment options.

“We just had a wedding a couple weeks ago and we did a magician, to kill time,” she said. “You’ve got people sitting at their tables for four or five hours and they can’t move around, they can’t talk to each other, and they can’t dance. But you still need to do something for them.”

McNally also shared some local wedding stories, including one couple that chose to have a live band at their indoor reception. While that is within the rules, some people got excited and tried to dance.

“The venue just came over and asked them to take their seats,” she explained. “I think people know what they’re getting into, at this point.”

Still, planners are explaining the rules to a lot of clients who are trying to find loopholes for their dream wedding.

“I had a bride who reached out and said she had a venue booked for her wedding in October … Her plan was to cancel the venue that she was at and move it to her home so that she could have dancing because she felt like that was a personal gathering and not an organized gathering. I explained to her that a wedding is still an organized gathering.”

The current rules, which change on Monday, cap the number of people at indoor organized events at 50 people or 50 per cent capacity — whichever is greater. Brown says one of her clients has postponed her wedding four times due to the pandemic. With the nuptials happening on Thursday, she still won’t be allowed to have all of her loved ones attend.

“She’s four days away from having a full wedding,” Brown said.

Planning a wedding during a pandemic has been like a “rollercoaster,” according to McNally.

“Back in March 2020, we had over 70 weddings on the books for that summer,” she said. “About half of those couples pushed to the fall, and then later on again pushed. There were lots of postponements.”

The other half figured by 2021 the pandemic would for sure be behind us, McNally says.

“Then, of course, in early 2021, we had a whole bunch of other postponements, yet again. It’s been trying on couples,” she said.

Her best advice is to put a pin in planning for a large wedding with dancing until things really open up or plan for a small reception with no dancing and get hitched sooner.

With files from Lasia Kretzel and Nikitha Martins

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