Wedding venues work with couples to cancel, postpone ceremonies due to concerns of coronavirus


TAMPA, Fla. (WFLA) – Weddings that have been in the works for years are now canceled or postponed to keep people safe from the coronavirus. Now couples, unsure of what the future holds, are leaning on the one thing they are sure about; their love.

For Emily Pantelis and Matt Martyak it’s hard not to smile when you’re this in love. So in love they planned on making it forever on March 21, 2020. They found the perfect venue for the reception overlooking the water at the Westin Tampa Bay.

But then guests started canceling.

“It started with the trickle from my family from Ohio and Boston, and his family from Virginia basically saying we don’t know how we’re going to get down there,” said bride Emily Pantelis.

Then the hotel called to cancel their reception.

Devastated, the hope was to avoid the worst of wedding crashers; the coronavirus.

“We’ve really worked on building each other up and leaning on family and friends during this time. We’re not in the most dire of circumstances, but it’s definitely upsetting,” said Pantelis.

Thousands of weddings are now canceled or postponed. Wedding venues are not the only ones having to make adjustments.

“Your florists, your DJ, your linens, it’s affecting all of us,” said Katherine Musick who runs the events at the Temple Terrace Country Club.

At the country club, private events are a huge part of their business, but weddings are more personal.

“It’s so uncertain right now it’s just going to happen. We’re working as best with everyone to reschedule dates if possible, to be understanding of cancellations,” said Musick to 8 On Your Side’s Marco Villarreal.

Emily and Matt are still planning to get married Saturday morning at their church. It will be a small ceremony with only family living in Tampa attending, and Matt’s parents who will drive down from Virginia. They will hold the big celebration with all their guests later.

They and other couples are choosing to live stream the ceremony so family and friends can watch wherever they are.

Copyright 2020 Nexstar Inc. All rights reserved. This material may not be published, broadcast, rewritten, or redistributed.

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