Federal judge rules 2 couples' weddings can have more than 50 guests

Patrick Moussignac
Updated: August 10, 2020 09:21 PM
Created: August 10, 2020 06:34 PM

NEW YORK (WHEC) — Some good news for couples who are about to get married soon: A federal judge has ruled in favor of two couples who wanted more than 50 guests at their wedding reception.

News10NBC talked to the owners of two venues that host wedding receptions as well as other events about the judge's ruling. 


The two couples who planned to have their wedding event at the Arrowhead Golf Course in Akron challenged Governor Cuomo's 50-people-or-less gathering restriction. Clinton Holcomb, and his partner at the Arrowhead filed a lawsuit on behalf of the couples. The judge recently ruled saying Cuomo's order violated the couple's constitutional rights.

"You have equal protection," Holcomb said. "You're being treated the same as other people are being treated, and so what I think about the lawsuit is a relief to me to see our constitutional rights protected."

Gov. Cuomo's Office also released a statement saying, "The judge's decision is irresponsible at best, as it would allow for large, non-essential gatherings that endanger public health. We will pursue all available legal remedies immediately and continue defending the policies that have led New York to having and maintaining one of the lowest infection rates in the country, while cases continue to rise in dozens of other states."

Holcomb says the Arrowhead has been following the same guidelines set for restaurants across the state.

"We created a COVID plan here at Arrowhead. Its 20 plus pages you know we started working on this back in April, and you know we've been adding to it as things change, and you know we basically based a lot of that out of our restaurant guidelines," Holcomb said.

Agathi Graham, owner of the Arbor Lofts, and Arbor At The Port here in Rochester says she will continue to operate with 50 guests, or less until the governor changes the rules. She also says her venue is larger than most restaurants.

"I mean Arbor At The Port in Charlotte is 12,000 square feet of space. We can space out people more than 6-feet, and still provide people with the wedding of their dreams," Graham said. 

"Like anybody I want people to be safe," Holcomb added. "I don't want to see anybody get COVID and get sick, or die. Nobody does, but to be able to do this safely, to just simply say we're not able to do this safely, we're not going to take a look at it, that's not fair."

On Friday, one of the couples did get married at the Arrowhead soon after the judge's decision was made. The other couple will walk down the aisle later this month.

The governor's office also said the decision only applies to the two weddings cited in this case - any and all other weddings must still follow state guidance limiting large, non-essential gatherings.

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