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Oregon wedding planner seeks clarity on event rules during COVID-19

After hours of scouring Oregon's rules, a professional wedding planner said there was only one mention of weddings. She's concerned about health and safety.

PORTLAND, Ore. — A professional wedding planner says after hours of searching Oregon's rules, she could only find weddings mentioned once.

Elisabeth Kramer is a day-of wedding coordinator in Portland, who plans weddings around the Pacific Northwest.

She said early in the year is when many couples typically book wedding planners and venues ahead of the warmer spring and summer months.

"I just have had an astronomical amount of leads," Kramer said of 2021 so far.

However, planning any sort of gathering during the pandemic is tricky.

"I don't know if they're legal. I don't know if they're safe," she said.

Kramer's website includes free tools and blog articles for Oregon couples to consider during the pandemic.

RELATED: How to get married during the COVID-19 pandemic

With COVID-19 vaccinations beginning around the state, many couples are asking if they can realistically gather people for a wedding in 2021.

One of Kramer's latest blog articles is called Can I Legally Have a Wedding in Oregon Right Now? 

"The traffic...just skyrocketed," she said.

Kramer has a degree in journalism and cites her sources and walks people through her research process. Despite her extensive digging, she said she hit multiple dead ends on the state of Oregon's coronavirus information page.

She found the word "wedding" mentioned once in a PDF called Reopening Guidance FAQs - Eating and Drinking Establishments, under the category of bars, restaurants, breweries and wineries.

"Not really where I expected to find it," Kramer said.

This stands in contrast with Washington and California, which both have specific pages and rules about weddings during the pandemic, according to Kramer.

Oregon's mention did not include provisions for other possible venues, such as churches, parks or someone's backyard.

Kramer said that means couples, planners and venders are left to interpret the rules in other categories and guess if weddings fall under designations for various events or social gatherings.

"What I'm finding right now is that when people don't know the answer, they're often making up their own, and often those don't prioritize health and safety," Kramer said. 

From what Kramer found in Oregon's one explicitly mentioned rule, within counties listed under extreme risk, a wedding can include 50 people outside at a professional event space. 

She said adding weddings as a stand-alone category would clear up a lot of the confusion and make sure businesses and clients are on the same page about safety, contracts and expectations.

Ultimately, despite weddings being her business, Kramer said she's most concerned about Oregonians remaining safe.

"As much as I love weddings, I love people not dying more."

RELATED: 'Superspreader' wedding guests with COVID-19 worked at nursing home. Now, at least 15 people are dead