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DC has banned dancing at indoor and outdoor wedding receptions

As D.C. reopens, it's allowing small indoor and outdoor weddings, but dancing -- even just standing around at a cocktail hour -- is banned.


After 2020 threw wrenches in the wedding plans of so many couples, some are now facing yet another hurdle. D.C. just banned dancing at indoor and outdoor weddings, leaving lovebirds to scramble to find wedding venues outside the District.

One wedding planner complained that D.C.'s starting to feel a little like the mythical town of Bomont in the classic movie Footloose -- the town that banned dancing.

"Completely shell-shocked," Stephanie Sadowski of SRS Events said of her reaction to hearing the news. 

The city is loosening some pandemic restrictions, but at her news conference Monday, Sadowski said Mayor Muriel Bowser sneaked in a bombshell. The latest order allows indoor weddings at 25% capacity, or 250 people -- which was a bit of relief -- but "standing and dancing at receptions are not allowed." 

For some couples, no standing or dancing is a deal-breaker.

"There's hardly been any time to react, rather than being incredibly frustrated and angry with Washington DC and Mayor Bowser for completely blindsiding us," Sadowski said. 

RELATED: DC to loosen COVID restrictions beginning May 1. Here's what is changing

When WUSA9 asked Susana Castillo, a spokeswoman for the mayor, about pandemic restrictions on weddings a month ago, she said the city would continue to assess and adjust them as needed, but said the city's top priority is ensuring the safety of residents and visitors. 

WUSA9 reached out to Bowser's office again for comment on the dancing/standing ban, but has not yet received a response. 

The dancing ban goes into effect May 1 and applies to both indoor and outdoor receptions. Some couples are rushing to relocate their celebrations to Maryland or Virginia venues where restrictions are looser.

Sadowski said she had four weddings planned in D.C. next month, at the height of the wedding season, and she's scrambling to move all of them.

"I cannot even believe we're in 2021 right now, and we are saying no dancing," she said. "Why can't we just have masks?"

Spring is here, love is blooming, but in D.C, forget kicking off your Sunday shoes -- you're not allowed to dance at your wedding reception.

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