Honolulu wedding rules force Hawaii couple to set third date

Coronavirus

HONOLULU (KHON2) — Many local couples who are done dating are not done setting dates.

Many weddings are again being pushed back after Honolulu mayor Rick Blangiardi extended the ban on large gatherings on Monday, Sept. 20, and couples looking for a refund may be out of luck.

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Mayor Blangiardi’s rule only allows 10 people indoors and 25 outdoors to weddings, including staff and vendors. That is tentatively set to expire on Tuesday, Oct. 19.

One local wedding coordinator called the restrictions devastating on the wedding industry — especially for local people.

“Traditionally on Oahu from October to the end of the year is usually one of the busiest times that local couples get married and that’s because they’re trying to avoid the summer rush with the high tourism,” Stephanie Le of Esselle Weddings & Events said.

“We’re hoping at the end of this October, but now with the current rules it’s hard to say if that could even happen. So we’ve been engaged for almost three years now so it’s frustrating,” Ho said.

Jackie Ho and Sean Pagtulingan had three wedding dates scheduled since getting engaged in 2018. Their original date was May 2020, which was moved to October 2020 and finally late October 2021.

“We’ve already paid for like things like the venue and the food and all the accommodations at the wedding so definitely, if we can only have 25 people there including the vendors or even, you know less than that if it goes down even more than that, we’re going to lose a lot of that money that we invested into the wedding,” Pagtulingan said.

Le says she and other wedding planners are changing the language in their contracts due to COVID. Cancellations are sometimes not refundable.

Others will allow for a limited number of postponements.

“I have couples asking, can they turn their wedding to a luau if they open it up to the public and sell tickets and call it a luau can they just have their wedding,” Le said.

The current Honolulu guidelines are set to expire Oct. 19 before their wedding, but the future Mr. & Mrs. Pagtulingan said getting ready for their special day does not feel like it should.

“Now getting closer it’s kind of hard to be too excited. I don’t want to be let down so I’m keeping my guard up and just hoping for the best,” Ho said.

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