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‘Mahalo, mayor’: Wedding industry says thanks for modifying ceremony, reception rules

A small group of wedding vendors held signs to thank  Mayor Blangiardi in his work to reopen...
A small group of wedding vendors held signs to thank Mayor Blangiardi in his work to reopen the wedding industry.(HNN)
Updated: Apr. 1, 2021 at 3:14 PM HST
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HONOLULU, Hawaii (HawaiiNewsNow) - Workers of Oahu’s wedding industry were back on the sidewalk fronting Honolulu Hale Wednesday calling out the mayor — but for a different reason: To share a message of “mahalo.”

A handful of grateful industry workers held signs to thank Mayor Rick Blangiardi for his swift work in allowing the industry to resume business in Tier 3.

Listening to their calls to adjust the rules last month, the city eventually allowed outdoor weddings of up to 100 guests under the latest set of rules.

Workers like Wesley Nakano spoke to the mayor when he went out to the street to speak with them Wednesday. Nakano praised Blangiardi for listening to the people.

“Mayor, you’re the first mayor — and I’ve talked to other people — they’ve never seen a mayor come down, listen to one group of people, say ‘I hear you,’ go back, and get stuff working,” Nakano told Blangiardi. “You opened us in seven days. Like it took a year and some odd months for the last guy! Thank you so much,” he continued.

Blangiardi explained how it was a days-long process to gain approval from the governor and other health officials.

“We’ve all been through a lot,” the mayor told Nakano and others. “I wish you the very best and let’s just hope that people wear their masks and we can keep the numbers down.”

Blangiardi said previous requests to allow weddings were shot down by the state. However, ramped up vaccination efforts and strict safety rules may have played a role in the decision to allow the change in the latest push.

[Read a previous report: ‘I hear you’: Wedding industry workers find a sympathetic ear in Honolulu’s mayor]

Many wedding vendors have taken a massive hit over the last year as a result of the pandemic — from florists, to event planners and more. Couples have often opted for COVID-era weddings, significantly downsizing the scale of their dream event.

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