After 2020 shutdown, Minnesota event venues expect busy year as wedding planning is underway

One day after Governor Tim Walz announced multiple rollbacks on COVID-19 restrictions, businesses hoping for a brighter 2021 are still taking it in.

The governor announced a series of changes on Friday, including increasing capacity at restaurants and bars, allowing event venues to open up, and letting Minnesotans know they can safely celebrate events like weddings.

The rollbacks were music to the ears of Angi Butt, the owner of Furber Farm, a historic farm-turned event venue. With the news on Friday, Butt believes 2021 could be one of their best years ever.

"This year is going to be one of our busiest years," said Butt.

Venues can open at 50 percent capacity, up to 250 people, and starting April 1, larger venues, like Furber Farms, can add to that number.

"I got emails before I even knew that he had come out yesterday and everyone is really excited, and we’re excited to move forward too," said Butt.

It's a sigh of relief as well for those who have been trying to hold events, like an annual fundraiser scheduled at the farm next month.

"We’re really excited with the new rules that we can have an in-person event," said Eric Rislove, who is on the Woodbury Community Foundation's Board of Directors. "We had planned on having a drive-thru event and now with the announcement, we’re just really excited we can do a lot more things."

It was also welcome for those trying to plan events during a pandemic. They’ve been juggling changing executive orders with clients caught in the middle.

"I’ve never had it be like this for planning clients; there’s so much to navigate," said event planner Jenna Culley.

While there are new challenges ahead with eased restrictions - like trying to find openings at event spaces - they’re not unwelcome.

"I think any problem this year will be a good problem in comparison to last year," said Culley.

Culley says one piece of advice she has to those planning weddings: Make sure you do some reference checks on vendors. With things filling up so fast, there could be people that try to take advantage of this unusual situation -- so do your homework.