Responding to requests for clarity from Texas wedding and event vendors, Gov. Greg Abbott clarified his April 27 executive order allowing businesses to open at 25% capacity, which did not specifically mention the wedding and event industries at the time. Abbot said in a May 5 press conference that wedding ceremony gatherings and wedding receptions were permitted, with limitations.

According to Abbott, wedding ceremonies should follow the same restrictions as church services, including maintaining social distancing measures and requiring seniors to attend services virtually. For wedding receptions, Abbott said the same rules as have been implemented for restaurants apply, meaning that facilities can only be filled to 25% capacity and guests must be spaced out appropriately.

Last week, multiple wedding professionals in Dripping Springs, which is officially known as the Wedding Capital of Texas, told Community Impact Newspaper that they were awaiting clear direction from the governor before making plans for opening. Kim Hanks, CEO of Whim Hospitality, said a cue from Abbott could allow her to phase back in staff who were laid off when the wedding industry shuddered to a halt in March and April.

“We want all of our clients and employees to be safe, and we want them to feel safe coming back,” Hanks said.

Venues and other professionals including florists, bakers and caterers will make individual decisions about opening facilities. However, Pam Owens, President of the Dripping Springs Visitors’ Bureau, said she expected wedding traffic to continue to be curtailed as long as the coronavirus pandemic continues, despite the legality of events.

“Everybody is going to be nervous about traveling, so until we all really know we’re safe in doing that, that’s the main thing,” Owens said.