The coronavirus pandemic has thrown a wrench in countless wedding plans.
Many couples are choosing between postponing and altering their wedding plans in order to meet COVID guidelines and keep guests safe. If you’ve been invited to a wedding during COVID, you’re probably caught between wanting to be supportive and worrying about the health ramifications.
Disclaimer: please be sure to follow all local, state, and federal guidelines.
To make an informed decision, keep these tips in mind!
How to Decide Whether or Not to Go
There are four main considerations to mull over when you’re deciding if you want to attend or not.
1. How close are you to the bride/groom?
If you’re best friends with the bride or groom, you’ll be making a much different decision than if the wedding is for a distant relative or acquaintance. Consider your relationship with the person or people getting married first and foremost. If you couldn’t imagine missing their wedding, it may be worth investigating how to attend safely.
2. How many people are attending?
It’s very important to ask about the guest list, not because you’re nosy, but because if the hosts aren’t sticking to local guidelines and regulations on gatherings, you might want to steer clear. The more people there are at the wedding, the higher the likelihood someone has the virus. Even if the idea is to social distance or wear a mask, you’re increasing the odds of contracting the virus simply by being exposed to more people.
3. Is the wedding near a virus hotspot?
Another risk of attending a wedding, regardless of the number of guests, is the location’s coronavirus situation. A rural city where everyone wears a mask and the rate of spread or proportion of citizens who have the virus is low is far more ideal than a large city that doesn’t have community spread under control.
4. Are you or any other guests showing symptoms? Has anyone come in contact with the virus?
If there aren’t many guests attending and you know them well or are in contact with anyone, ask about symptoms. Hopefully the bride and groom will be doing the same, but it pays to do your own due diligence. If anyone has COVID symptoms or has recently been in contact with someone who has the virus, find out if they still plan on attending the wedding. If you have symptoms or have potentially been in contact with the virus within two weeks of the wedding, inform the bride and groom and politely decline the invitation. Since asymptomatic spread is so prevalent, even if you don’t have symptoms, you may want to think about taking a test to be sure.
How to Stay Safe if You Go
If you’ve evaluated the benefits and risks and have decided to attend the wedding, it’s not business as usual just yet. To keep yourself and everyone else safe, especially if there are elderly family members in attendance, follow these guidelines:
Wear a mask
The number one thing you can do to stop the spread is wear a mask. The bride and groom may provide masks at the wedding as a courtesy, but bring your own just in case. Why not make it fun and get a stylish mask that goes with your wedding attire? Just ensure it meets the CDC’s guidelines.
After wearing a mask, social distancing is the second most important thing to do to avoid spreading the virus. If seats aren’t set at least 6 feet apart at the ceremony, ask if you can move yours some distance away. You of course don’t want to disrupt the wedding, but you also need to take your own comfort level into account. The same goes for the reception, if there is one. Guests should be seated far apart or at individual tables, and any dancing or other activities should be done at a distance. This also means no hugging the newlyweds—save that for when the world is back to normal!
Quarantine before and after
Going to a wedding during COVID is a choice that has ramification for many others besides yourself. To keep other guests safe, consider quarantining for 14 days before going to the wedding, and 14 days after the wedding. The fewer people you come into contact with, the better, for you and for others.
Don’t share food, drinks, silverware, etc.
If it’s been near someone else’s mouth or hands, keep it away from yours. That means no buffet, no sharing drinks or dinnerware, no swapping plates, and no eating or drinking anything that has been left exposed for too long around anyone not wearing a mask. Food transmission might be an unknown at the moment, but these are good manners to practice regardless.
It might seem like just a long list of things not to do, and to some extent that’s true.
But we’re in a different world now, one that comes with many more considerations. This pandemic won’t end if we’re only looking out for ourselves. Whether you choose to attend a wedding during the pandemic or not, hold onto a mindset of love; not just the romantic love that a wedding celebrates, but love for everyone else, too.
Getting married? Read this!
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