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'Catastrophic event for everybody.’ Wedding venues baffled by request to cancel large events

About a half dozen brides have called to postpone their wedding at Ashton Gardens in Harris County, according to Director of Sales and Planning Brittney Smith.

“We’ve offered for them to move their date to a later date this year, up to a year out… postpone their wedding, whatever is needed at no additional cost or penalty,” she said.

Houston-area venues are scrambling to reschedule weddings and other large events, as local and health officials warn against hosting gatherings with more than 250 people.

Houston, Harris County, Fort Bend County, and Montgomery County have issued a health emergency, canceling all public events throughout March. They are encouraging private companies to do the same.

The staff at Ashton Gardens have been working hard to keep the venue clean, Smith said.

“We’ve already begun sanitizing the entire property starting in the kitchen with all of our commercial-grade equipment, utensils, back of house service areas, the guest public areas, guest rooms, doorknobs, faucets,” she said. “All the little areas have already been sanitized.”

The owners of Ashelynn Manor in Montgomery County have taken sanitizing one step further.

Tessie and Kevin Ashe have opted to bring in an anti-bacterial, wet-mist fogger. The fog will be used in between events, Kevin Ashe said.

“It’s very light, and it goes everywhere,” Kevin Ashe said. “It kills the virus on contact.”

It takes about two hours to treat the venue with the fog, he said.

Kevin Ashe said they would not be canceling anyone’s big day but will leave the decision up to the wedding party and will accommodate accordingly. Wedding parties will not face additional fees for postponing, he said.

“We’re going to treat this as we do with a hurricane or ice storm,” Tessie Ashe said. “It’s a catastrophic event for everybody.”