Much of the U.S. federal government has now been shut down for 34 days and counting—officially the longest partial shutdown in the country's history—and even people who don't collect their paychecks from the government are feeling its impact. Among them are the couples who had weddings planned in one of the hundreds of properties operated by the National Park Service that abruptly closed to visitors in late December. Some have already lost money by switching venues, and others whose weddings are still upcoming have no idea if the shutdown will end in time for their big day.
Janessa White, cofounder of the wedding planning company Simply Eloped, told Vox that at least 30 weddings organized through her service have been affected since the federal government shut down on December 22. In most cases, the weddings were successfully relocated at the last minute, but not without causing stress and disappointment for couples.
Even people who have weddings scheduled for months in the future are dealing with the chaos of the shutdown. According to CBS Chicago, Maggie Chardell and Brad Krzyzanowski, an engaged couple who planned to hold their ceremony in Great Smoky Mountains National Park in June, recently received an email saying their reservation had been canceled. With agencies short-staffed across the government, they've been unable to reach someone on the phone to talk about it.
For some couples, the shutdown has also complicated the legal side of getting married. Because Washington, D.C. courts are federally funded, couples in the nation's capital were initially unable to receive marriage licenses from the city during the beginning of the shutdown. D.C. has since voted to approve emergency legislation that allows the Marriage Bureau to grant licenses.
Brides- and grooms-to-be are just one small group that's been affected by the standoff in Washington. For many, it's more than an inconvenience: Roughly 800,00 federal workers are no longer receiving paychecks, and if the shutdown continues through February, 38 million people could lose food stamps,