ATLANTA — White House chief of staff Mark Meadows hosted a lavish wedding for his daughter in Atlanta this May, despite a statewide order and city of Atlanta guidelines that banned gatherings of more than 10 people to prevent the spread of the deadly coronavirus.
The wedding took place May 31 at the Biltmore Ballrooms in Midtown Atlanta. The 70 or so guests, including U.S. Rep. Jim Jordan of Ohio, donned tuxedos and ball gowns for the indoor affair, but no masks, as Meadows walked his daughter, Haley, down the aisle through a path of soft white flower petals.
With crystal chandeliers, marble floors and a frame of soaring Roman arches, the lush scene could have come from any wedding magazine — were it not taking place at the height of a global pandemic.
Although the state of Georgia had loosened some restrictions by the end of May, Gov. Brian Kemp’s orders at the time expressly banned gatherings of more than 10 people.
The statewide order in effect — which Kemp signed on May 12 — restricted gatherings of more than 10 people so long as they’re not “transitory or incidental,” or spread out across different locations.
Pictures of the wedding reviewed by The Atlanta Journal-Constitution show groups of people clustered closely together in the same room throughout the evening. Under that emergency order, law enforcement could have potentially written citations to the venue for exceeding the gathering size, state officials said.
The next statewide order, which took effect the day after the wedding on June 1, specified for the first time that event venues and banquet facilities must follow the same safety guidelines as restaurants.
It also raised the number of people allowed at gatherings from 10 to 25 — still a fraction of the number of guests at