ST. LOUIS – Just days before a couple’s dream wedding, the event has become a bit of a nightmare.
The bride-to-be says the City of St. Louis is selectively enforcing COVID-19 restrictions, ruining her plans and costing a lot of money. City officials deny doing so.
It’s three days before Ryan Cauley’s and Jessica Ly’s big day. Though the bride is in good health, she is sickened by what’s just come her way.
“I never expected to not be excited for this day,” Ly said.
The wedding and reception are scheduled for Saturday night at the Fox Theater.
Ly and her wedding planner say they were blindsided one week ago by news of restrictions that were not in place for other weddings in the City of St. Louis.
They say the champagne diva and rolling table are already paid for and coming from Tennessee won’t be allowed.
They also learned there can be no cocktail hour or dancing beyond the traditional bride and groom and parents’ dances.
They worry it could have something to do with Ly’s Asian last name.
“I didn’t know why I felt like I was getting cherry-picked,” Ly said. “I would hate to say it. I don’t know if it was my last name standing out.”
Her invitations make clear COVID-19 restrictions will be enforced.
“Mask mandates, temperature checks … everything in compliance with the CDC guidelines,” Ly said. “I was not going to let guests walk around with no masks…I had 20 different signs made for guests to be reminded to maintain a social distance from each other – stay within in your household, stay with the people that you know.”
“This past weekend there was an event at the Zoo and there was dancing and a cocktail hour. How is that any different than the fox theater?” asked her wedding planner, Natalie Collora, of Natalie’s Brides.
Ly said when she tried to move her event to Bissinger’s Caramel room just north of Downtown St. Louis, where dancing has also been allowed at wedding receptions during the pandemic, a city official intervened to stop her, Ly said.
Steve Conway, Mayor Lyda Krewson’s chief of staff, told FOX 2/News 11 he’d been looking into the matter and actions taken by city officials involved.
Conway said ethnicity was absolutely not an issue. He added that dance floors had never been approved in re-opening plans for wedding venues and Collora should have known that and alerted her clients.
Ly and Collora responded saying the city health department’s re-opening guidelines did mention specifics and dancing which has been allowed to continue at city clubs and bars.
Ly and Cauley planned to move forward with plans at the Fox, hurt by the idea that while they were not allowed to dance to celebrate their wedding, people would be allowed to dance at bars and clubs all around them.
The City of St. Louis adhered to a policy of taking action to enforce COVID-19 restrictions only when a complaint had been filed, Conway said.