By Conor McCue

(CBS4) – Under new health orders from the state, there are no longer restrictions on indoor events. The change could have huge implications for the state’s live event industry, which was essentially shutdown when the pandemic started, and has since been grappling with following strict rules.

Almost a year and a half after Miles Higginbotham proposed to his girlfriend of seven years, Lucia Torres, the couple is now 15 days away from their dream wedding. They’re planning on a picturesque ceremony at a venue in Lyons, followed by an intimate indoor reception.

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(credit: CBS)

“I’m really excited and looking forward to the ceremony and the scenery too,” said Torres.

Last year the couple made the tough decision to postpone their original date, rather than cut down the guest list and put people at risk. Since then, planning another wedding has been both exciting and frustrating as COVID rules changed again and again.

“With COVID going on, I feel like a lot of the stresses were just what’s the next change going to be?” Higginbotham said.

Now those stresses are a thing of the past, as this week, the state lifted all COVID restrictions on indoor events.

Previously, capacity at most public indoor gatherings was limited to 500 people, without prior approval, with required social distancing when guests are unvaccinated, or their vaccination status is unknown. Face coverings were also required at such events, with some exceptions.

“I think all of our clients going from here on forward are super excited,” said Donnah Phipps-Hagan, the couple’s wedding planner. “It’s nice to see the bigger events and bigger celebrations and people getting really excited about celebrating.”

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Phipps-Hagan, who owns Poised Events, said larger, less restricted events are big news for an industry that’s ready to make a return. Now the challenge will be staffing those events.

“The staff are not necessarily coming back right away because I think there’s still that fear of losing that job,” Phipps-Hagan said. “I think that it’s just going to take a little bit more time.”

(credit: CBS)

For Higginbotham and Torres, the wait was well worth it. They recently added people to the guest list and will no longer require masks. Torres estimated about 90 percent of guests are already vaccinated.

“Right now, we have about 150 people going, and we feel comfortable with that number,” Torres said.

After a long year of twists and turns, their new beginning is finally just days away.

“I’m just excited to watch her walk down the aisle and have our friends and family be able to enjoy that moment with us,” Higginbotham said.

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Counties can still make their own restrictions for indoor events. In Denver, events of greater than 2,000 people still need prior approval from the health department.

Conor McCue