MINNEAPOLIS (WCCO) — It’s the time of year when summer wedding season should be in full swing, but the COVID-19 pandemic has sent Minnesota couples scrambling to make new plans. WCCO takes a look at what changing restrictions for celebrations will mean in the months ahead.

Makaela Egan remembers the optimism she felt just a few months ago. After two years of planning for 200 people to celebrate their big day at Aria in Minneapolis.

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“At first I was like there’s no way this is going into June it’s going to be fine,” Egan said. “We are bummed we can’t have the day we’ve been dreaming about for two years — or, at least, I have. He just thinks we’re already married.”

As time went by, her fiancee and NFL player J.C. Hassenauer had to help his bride-to-be face reality.

“End of May we’re like, we have to tell everyone this isn’t going to happen,” Egan said.

Instead, they’ll have an intimate ceremony somewhere else this month and the big party next summer.

“I really think it’s important for people to save their date and have it be special for them and not put off getting married for a whole year,” Sarah Trotter, wedding planner with Lasting Impressions, said.

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Sarah Trotter plans 50 weddings a year. COVID-19 has postponed 30 of them.

“We’re just trying to stay on top of all the different ordinances,” she said.

Now, church ceremonies can be at 50% capacity in Minnesota. But receptions at indoor venues can only be at 25%.

“I think it’s definitely given people more of a positive outlook on what the summer is going to look like and what they can plan for,” Trotter said.

Trotter is still hopeful the rescheduled weddings for fall and winter will go on as planned. But as for Egan and Hassenauer, they’ll be ready to party a year from now.

“We want to be married. That’s the most important thing. Why wait another year when we can still have the day celebrate each other and move forward with it,” Egan said.

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Trotter expects the pandemic will have a long-lasting effect on the wedding industry as a whole, as people plan for smaller weddings and re-evaluate their priorities.

Frank Vascellaro