Love in the Time of Coronavirus: Cute Little Wedding Chapel offering walk-in ceremonies for Valentine’s Day

Alan Katz stands on the balcony of the Cute Little Wedding Chapel in Bixby Knolls, where he officiates socially distanced weddings. (Kristen Farrah Naeem | Signal Tribune)

The wedding industry is one the many fields the pandemic has wreaked havoc on in the past year, as people continue to cancel, postpone or reconfigure what they expected to be one of the happiest days of their life.

“It was a mixture, it was cancellations, it was postponements, or it was moving to micro or elopement weddings. Right at the beginning there was so much uncertainty of what was happening that everybody was confused. All they knew was ‘my wedding is no longer happening. WTF?'” Alan Katz, officiant of the Cute Little Wedding Chapel in Bixby Knolls, said.

When the pandemic first arrived, Katz helped many of the couples he was working with to reschedule their weddings for a later date. Now as COVID-19 continues to spread almost a year later, he now has to help those same fiancés reschedule for a second time.

For any couples who don’t want to wait anymore, the Cute Little Wedding Chapel in the Bixby Knolls neighborhood of Long Beach is providing safe outdoor weddings every halfhour on Valentine’s Day.

For a total of $409, the holiday package includes a marriage license, a socially-distanced ceremony with up to four guests, a certificate of marriage and a pair of roses for each couple.

Couples who get married at the Cute Little Wedding Chapel get the benefit of an extremely experienced officiant, Alan Katz. Besides officiating ceremonies at the Cute Little Wedding Chapel, Katz has also provided his services during numerous televised weddings including on 90-day Fiance, The Kelly Clarkson Show, Spouse House and more.

According to the chapel’s website, since 2003 over 6,500 couples have been married by Katz.

Since the beginning of the pandemic, Katz has been dedicated to finding ways for couples to get married as safely as possible. Everyone attending weddings he presides over are required to wear masks and keep their distance from anyone who lives outside of their household.

But not everyone is appreciative of Katz’s efforts to keep them safe.

“There are the ‘Karens’ out there,'” Katz told the Signal Tribune.

Although Katz and his team have helped around 1,000 couples get married since the pandemic started, he has had to cancel approximately 12 planned weddings because people refused to follow health guidelines or wear a mask.

Despite this, Katz continues to insist everyone at weddings he presides over continues to follow health guideline.

“I would rather be fired than violate safety ordinances. I would never be able to sleep at night if an event that I did caused a spread and people die,” Katz said.

According to Katz, a source of significant confusion in the wedding industry in the state is that while there are health guidelines in place for wedding ceremonies, which are legally considered cultural and religious events, there are none for wedding receptions.

“There’s a set of rules for ceremonies, but there’s no set of rules for receptions. So it’s the Wild West out there with everybody doing a different thing, creating their own set of rules, and no set of rules to follow.”

Katz works with the California Association for Private Events (CAPE), an organization of members of the events industry focused on safely reopening private events. CAPE is currently working on establishing standard health guidelines for wedding receptions in the state.

“We’re creating a set of rules and guidelines, so that everybody is on the same page, whether it’s a venue, whether it’s a backyard, that we all have the same blueprint to follow to maintain safety, and to bring the wedding industry back from the hell that it’s been in for the last year.”

For more information on the Cute Little Wedding Chapel or to book your own Valentine’s Day Wedding Special, visit cutelittleweddingchapel.com.

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