Restrictions by State Heath Order
Spring, summer and fall are considered wedding season in the mountains, but many New Mexicans have had to change their plans because of the pandemic. Governor Lujan-Grisham once again has continued her state Public Emergency Health Order to forbid gatherings and events with more than 5 people allowed. We were hoping this would be lifted as of July 1, but instead it has been continued. So, until these restrictions are lifted, events, festivals, arts and craft shows, concerts, activities and yes, even weddings are not allowed to take place because they fall into the category considered mass gatherings.
However, weddings have a small loop hole. While in Phase 1 of the Public Health Order, churches are open at 25% of their normal capacity, while following Covid Safe Practices of distancing and wearing masks. Therefore, according to the office of the governor, a small wedding service may still be held inside the church, as long as these numbers and guidelines are followed.
An interview with a couple in the Albuquerque Journal, (Marissa Armas reporter, May 27th online publication), said, “The wedding was planned but maybe that wasn’t God’s plan,” said Josh Herrera.. Josh and Taylor had picked out their wedding date, May 23, 2020, about three years ago. It was a day that was special to them. But because of the COVID-19 pandemic, they’ve had to reschedule their wedding reception. “Originally it was really difficult and sad to have to tell our guests not to come and sad to let go of the dream that we had,” said Taylor. “And just kinda let go of everything, and things will happen as they’re supposed to.” Just days before that special day they had marked on a calendar, Gov. Michelle Lujan Grisham announced churches could open at 25% capacity, so they decided to have a small ceremony instead. “We were doing last minute invitations, and making sure that everyone had masks and that they would sanitize right away, and everyone was 6 feet apart in the church,” Taylor said. While Josh and Taylor were able to have a small celebration with close family and friends on that special day of May 23rd, their dream reception is postponed until September.
“We kinda said that we’ve furloughed our groomsmen and bridesmaids in the meantime but hopefully given everything is safe we’ll have that reception,” Josh said. But for them it was always more than just the wedding. “It’s not about having a perfect wedding, it’s about marrying the perfect person,” said Josh. “COVID can’t beat love.”
As for the future of wedding venues, not only in Angel Fire, but around the entire state of New Mexico, they are on hold with hope for a return to normalcy soon.