By CBS3 Staff

TRENTON, N.J. (CBS) — It’s been a long-awaited return to normal for students in New Jersey. Gov. Phil Murphy gave the green light for proms and graduations in the Garden State Monday.

This comes in what is the most expansive lifting of gathering restrictions since the start of the pandemic. It is timed perfectly for proms, weddings, and graduations.

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“It is absolutely a huge milestone and kids are really looking forward to getting it back,” said Hailee Bertino, co-owner of Aimee Michelle Bridal & Prom.

Murphy is giving the green light for New Jersey to expand indoor gatherings from 35 to 50% up to 250 people, and outdoor gatherings up to 500 people beginning May 10.

“Within the past two months, kids have really been shopping,” Bertino said.

Making memories on a Monday, one couple celebrated their big day in style at Lucien’s Manor in Berlin, New Jersey.

“It’s now even trending where people are preferring to have a weekday wedding,” Lucien’s Manor General Manager Jacob Miller said.

The demand to reschedule postponed events is higher than weekend-only dates will allow, hence a boost to weeknight bookings. And in just two weeks, guest lists will see a boost too.

“We have a large ballroom on premise that can hold up to 550 guests so we are able to accommodate that guest count of 250,” Miller said.

The easing of restrictions also comes just in time for prom season, but not all dance floors will open up.

“Dance floors, for instance at bars and other businesses such as night clubs, will remain closed at this time,” Murphy said.

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At Lucien’s, the governor’s announcement signals a careful return to the business they knew.

“We are excited for all of our clients to come in at a higher guest count that they were looking forward to, and we are excited for staff and team members to come back to work,” Miller said.

The easing of restrictions is welcome news for Aimee Michelle Bridal & Prom in Cherry Hill, and event destinations including the Battleship New Jersey.

They were closed for most of the year in 2020 and forced to lay off most of their staff.

“We live and die by tours and how many people come and aboard this great ship,” Jack Willard, with the Battleship New Jersey, said.

Everyone is celebrating today’s great news and tomorrow’s hope.

“We’re still afloat, we’re still as steady as she goes and we’re excited to have more people come to experience the battleship,” Willard said.

Masks and social distancing will still be required for those who gather both indoors and out. Murphy also says come Memorial Day he is hoping to potentially announce another “perhaps considerable” increase of outdoor gathering rules.

Also on May 10, large outdoor sporting events will be allowed at 50% capacity.

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CBS3’s Alicia Roberts and Alexandria Hoff contributed to this report.