Weddings Minus Covid

What has been your recent experience with COVID safety measures at weddings? Planning a wedding and hoping for ideas I haven’t yet thought of. A supplementary card in the invitation will ask all guests to be vaccinated. A couple of weeks in advance we plan to send an email asking everyone to do a rapid test the morning of the wedding. Ceremony and cocktail hour outdoors. Sit-down dinner indoors. 150 people.

If anyone can give examples of wording they’ve seen asking for testing/vaccination, that would be helpful.

If it were totally up to me, I would have had the entire thing outdoors and/or fewer people. But I’m not the only one involved in decision-making, plus this was planned a long time ago, when we thought the virus would be less of an issue.

Thanks so much.

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This is not for a wedding, but an explanation why our synagogue continues to require vaccinations and masks. Perhaps some of the language could be amended to support your requests.

Testing two weeks out really won’t be helpful though.

The Task Force resolved NOT to alter …. current policies that require masks indoors, plus a demonstration of vaccination with at least one booster. The group is well aware that these policies now run counter to the current trend of relaxing COVID restrictions. Rabbi XX suggested that the congregation might view our mask-vaccination requirements in terms of accessibility. We have no objection to making physical changes to the building to enable disabled persons to enter via a ramp, or rotate a wheelchair in a bathroom. As our population …… includes individuals with particular vulnerabilities to COVID side-effects, such as those with diabetes, high blood pressure, cancer – and advancing age – stricter policies ensure the accessibility, and thus the hospitality, of our congregational space.

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Thanks. Very helpful. I like that analogy.

I edited my post to be clear that I meant we will send the communication two weeks prior, but are asking them to test morning of the wedding.

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I have been to two weddings during covid - neither had any vaccination requirements nor testing requirements.

Wedding #1) indoors last October. everyone wore masks at the wedding (except the bridal party) but then most people removed them during the reception due to eating and such. I would say about half of our table (including us) wore our masks at our table during the whole reception (Except for when we were stuffing our face). To my knowledge, nobody caught covid. This whole group of people was very cautious during the entire pandemic. AFAIK everyone was vaccinated.

Wedding #2) outdoors this April. No masks. We were outside for about 2 hours for the wedding and snacks/cocktail hour. Then we re-located indoors for dinner and cake. We went back outdoors between the dinner and cake because we didn’t want to be inside with that many people. To my knowledge, nobody caught covid. I do know there were some unvaccinated people there (including the groom). But it was a personal choice to go.

Please note: cases were pretty low here during both scenarios and we felt pretty good about going, even without the requirements. I have a friend whose family went to a wedding on new years eve and almost every person at that wedding got covid. (please note - same friend was at the wedding in october. He did not go to new years eve wedding with his family bc of how high cases were here).

Wow. Terrible. Hoping everyone recovered fully.

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Finally tracked this down - we were invited to a wedding last summer that was eventually postponed for a smaller ceremony this summer. We didn’t make the cut this year (already sent the present last year). Their wedding website kept the same language.

PLEASE NOTE: By RSVP-ing to our wedding you are committing to being fully vaccinated (plus those two weeks the shot takes to start working!) before attending. If you cannot follow this rule, please stay home and we’ll find another way to celebrate in the future.

As far as I know, they were all fine. My friends parents were sick for 3-4 days and then both fully recovered.

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My D was married last summer. They had all guests upload their vaccine card on the wedding website – those who chose not to be vaxed were not allowed to attend. Her friend who is getting married this summer is doing the same thing. A few older people who couldn’t figure out the upload just sent a picture of the vax card – one actually went to the library and made a copy and mailed it but we did get cards for every attendee – people were quite understanding.

We did not require masks or testing (some guests chose to wear masks which was, of course, totally fine). I ordered small hand sanitizer sprays (with the kid’s monogram) and put one at each place setting (a party favor in covid times LOL). We had the cocktail hour outdoors and had the outdoor space open during the indoor dinner/reception.

We included an extra card in with the invitation that said:
Please visit website name for:
–Online RSVP
–COVID 19 protocols
–Travel and Hotel Information
–Other Wedding Details

I must say that I was relieved two weeks after the wedding when nobody called saying they got covid. It is definitely an additional stress factor. Hope this helps a bit.

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Seems like the most obvious mitigation measures are:

  • Have as much of it outdoors as possible.
  • Everyone rapid test just before entering. (But what if one of the people getting married tests positive?)

For vaccination, consider how much you want guests to have:

  • Basic: fully vaccinated, booster not required. Documented prior infection is probably similar to 1 dose (i.e. J&J full vaccination) in immunity level.
  • More: fully vaccinated, plus booster(s) up to 3 doses if eligible. Documented prior infection plus vaccination is probably similar or better than vaccination + booster up to 3 doses in immunity level.
  • Basic assumed: no requirement, assuming that everyone not vaccinated has probably gotten COVID-19 by now.
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Wedding couple and close family will be hibernating for two to three weeks prior!

And I’d like to say to the guests that if they want to make sure they don’t test positive on the wedding morning, mask in indoor public places for two weeks prior. And mask in indoor private spaces if you’re with anyone outside your household.

My D attended an indoor wedding and indoor pre & post wedding events in Feb and April. There were 3 weddings total. She was pretty selective and only attended a few of the other events. Many of the guests flew in for the events, including D. D tried to hibernate and wore a mask a lot of tested a lot so she wouldn’t potentially sicken H, me or my 92 year old mom (whom we help provide care for).

2 of the weddings and receptions were covered with lots of ventilation flowing through the area—one was a huge tent on a great lawn area at local museum. One was at a private club with a permanent roof over a patio area and open sides all around with a brisk breeze. The 3rd was enclosed a/c country club.

Out of the events and many attendees, we were only informed of 1 case of Covid. We had no symptoms except for D who had allergy symptoms and was tired. She tested multiple times over several days and was consistently negative.

H is having an indoor party for his friends for a milestone birthday. We thought about and finally settled on this verbage I came up with and we used in the invitations we sent:

"Looking forward to seeing you!

"In light of the fact that nearly all attendees will be at increased risk due to being over 50, we ask that everyone please only accept this invitation if they are doubly-vaccinated for COVID and have at least one (preferably two) COVID booster shots, for both their protection and that of other vulnerable guests. Also, we understand if you are unable to attend because you are feeling unwell or unable on the day of the event.

"https://www.vaccines.gov can help you find a COVID-19 vaccine near you. If you’re going to get a boost in time for the party, please give it at least 1-2 weeks to be maximally effective in protecting you and others.

“We ask that you wear the mask of your choice for whatever duration works best for you during the event. If you forget or don’t have one, don’t worry we will have spare masks and hand sanitizer.”

The weddings and events that D attended in connection with the weddings did NOT have any vax nor testing requirements. I performed one of the weddings. I wore my mask during the reception until we sat at the table for the reception. Of course I did NOT wear the mask to officiate the ceremony. When the dancing began, we moved away from our table & the dance floor to an area where we could happily watch the dancers and enjoy the nice evening breeze with another couple that we knew well and enjoyed sitting beside.

H and I knew we were taking a risk by attending the wedding and my officiating the ceremony, but we decided it was a risk we were willing to take as the couple had been D’s friend for a very long time and the couple had the ceremony in a totally uncovered portion of the patio and the reception was VERY well-ventilated.

We are invited to an indoor wedding in early August. Around 175 people, no vax requirements. It’s the kid who grew up next door - we see him a lot as his parents still live next door & he lives in the area. We haven’t decided whether or not to attend. Decisions like this will be easier once GD can get vaccinated.

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So for a 13 year old to Bar/Bat Mitzvah’d at your synagogue they need to have a booster, as well as being vaccinated? Are there outdoor alternatives?

As far as the wedding goes, I think testing is more important then vaccination in terms of preventing Covid (not how sick one gets). If you wanted to be super careful, you could word that everyone needs to either take a rapid test the day of, or arrive 15 minutes earlier and there will be tests available. I also think community spread at the time of the wedding is important . My friends Husband went to a 150 person wedding in NJ 2 weekends ago, where Covid is spreading, and right before the wedding several people already could not come. Since the wedding there has been at least 20 cases (though noone hospitalized) from the wedding itself, though my friend and the rest of her family all have covid from her Husband.

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A friend of my D’s was just invited to a wedding where vaccines and boosters are required. Not sure how they worded it but the groom’s father is a physician and there are elderly grandparents that will be in attendance.

Something to the effect of “for the safety of all our family and friends, vaccines and rapid testing will be required” would be fine in my book.

D’s friend said 1/2 the people send regrets (very rural red state). Our bet is bride and groom are relieved to have a smaller number.

I’ve been to 6 weddings in the last year. Not one of them asked for or required vaccination or testing for the wedding. Everybody invited and in attendance knows about Covid and can make a decision on their own on how safe they feel attending. Vaccination and testing are NOT preventing Covid outbreaks at events!!!

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So you think that the 90-year-old grandparents should just stay home? Because it’s clearly not safe for them without some mitigation measures. And the 65-year-old parents? And the 58-year-old uncle with diabetes? And the 30-year-old best man with Crohn’s who takes immune-suppressing drugs?

Testing before a big event is essential. This convinced me that that’s what we need to do. Are large indoor events safe? It’s impossible to know, making “personal choice” a false one.

As for vaccination, what has not be communicated enough is this: Vaccinated people become infected because the virus is still circulating. The reason SARS-CoV-2 is still circulating is because the whole population is not vaccinated. (See: smallpox.)

Let’s leave it at that. I want to stick to the topic.

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I don’t think you can have a multi-hour indoor event with 150 people be safe, but that doesn’t mean you can’t try to make it safer. Testing will probably be more helpful than vaccination. However, I know far too many fully vaxd/boosted people test negative with symptoms on the rapid, but positive on the PCR. But does that mean they aren’t contagious? who knows. But probably not IMO. The cynic in me also wonders how many people will just blow it off saying oh I’m fine, they’ll never know and/or it’s just allergies.

But that doesn’t mean I don’t support trying! I would personally appreciate the requirements. The wedding I went to recently had none. But I would also accept the fact that covid spread can still likely occur. If I’m that worried, I can mask and/or limit my time, or stay home.

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3 weddings.

  1. NJ wedding at a very very large hotel. 500 or so guests. Nothing about COVID anything. Indoors.

  2. CO wedding. Nothing about COVID there either…both indoor and outdoor options for dinner and dancing. Ceremony is outdoors.

  3. NH wedding. On the save the date AND invitation…email given and COVID vaccine card needs to be sent to the bridal couple. AND require a negative COVID test (rapid or PCR) within 72 hours of the wedding. If someone doesn’t do the rapid test, there will be some available at the wedding site.

That’s not exactly what I said. I said that vaccination status and testing are not preventing Covid outbreaks. Look at the White House correspondence dinner. I know many many people who got Covid in December and January and several who have Covid now. ALL are vaccinated and most are boosted. Are you insinuating that every person who gets Covid when they are vaccinated and boosted got it from someone unvaccinated. Not true, again, look back at the correspondence dinner. Testing, day of, might be valuable BUT vaccination status is not. As someone said above, what vaccination will you be requiring? 2 shots? One booster? 2 boosters? Last booster less than 8 weeks ago because they are showing waning effects after 8 weeks.
If testing day of, how will that be monitored. Are you really going to have someone at the door checking results?
Everybody has to make their own decisions regarding safety and unfortunately that includes the 90 year old grandparents.

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