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Burlington cider mill offers free wedding ceremonies to couples affected by pandemic

Hogan's Cider Mill teamed up with local businesses and hosted eight weddings in one day.

BURLINGTON, Connecticut — The pandemic has hit the wedding industry hard. Some couples have had to postpone or cancel their special days, but a well-known Burlington cider company is hoping to turn that all around.

Eight couples tied the knot at Hogan’s Cider Mill in Burlington Saturday after the pandemic interrupted their wedding plans.

Family and friends who attended the one-hour "mini ceremonies," as Hogan's calls them, were excited and some had a long-awaited reunion.

"This is the first time I’ve seen my dad in just a year and a half so I’m probably gonna cry just from that," newlywed Michelle Eastwod from Newington said.

Hogan's has a long history; they’ve been making cider since 1912. Now, they have new memories to add after a difficult year.

“We figured everyone has been through so much this past year and a half so we wanted to give back to our community," Event Coordinator Margaret Borla said "We’ve had people who have lost family members that have lost their jobs and had to scale back their plans.”

Borla came up with the idea. Her family owns the mill. “I myself was married at that arch two years ago,” Borla said.

A lot goes into planning all these weddings on the same day, but Borla had some help. The photos, flowers, DJ, and food were all donated from local businesses. The weddings were free for the couples.

"No one has said 'no' to helping out. Everyone just wants to help out during these crazy times," Borla said.

The couples come from different walks of life, but have one thing in common­: excitement to finally walk down the aisle. Chris and Jennifer Heche made it official after 8 years together.

A Newington couple with a love story 26 years in the making also took the plunge.

"We waited too long and through COVID," newlywed Michael Eastwood said.

Michael and his wife, Michelle, met in high school and reconnected on Facebook a few years ago.

Now that pandemic restrictions are easing. the indoor taproom at Hogan’s is back open. The business tells FOX61 they’ve had such an incredible response that they’re thinking of making this an annual event.

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