Since the beginning of 2020, a lot of couples have been waiting to finally host their big day and take their vows, and, finally, it seems that time may have arrived.
Is it now safe to commence with your wedding ceremony?
Social distancing is mostly a thing of the past, Omicron appears to be less severe than previous variants, and mask regulations have been lifted in most U.S. areas. Even more recently, the CDC lifted the quarantine statute following virus exposure, unless there’s a positive test.
Unfortunately, though, when it comes to the pandemic nothing is certain. Some experts predict a new surge coming this winter, and fresh data about the severity of “long” COVID, taking nearly four million people out of the workforce indefinitely, prompted the National Health Institute to begin clinical trials for potential targeted treatments.
So, if your postponed wedding ceremony is finally on the calendar, though there are reasons for optimism, caution is still vital. The question remains, is there anything you can do to make sure your special day doesn’t get ruined by COVID again?
Pandemic Wedding Frequently Asked Questions
The landscape of COVID safety seems to change daily, and many of us are understandably wary of trusting government recommendations at the moment.
But, we’re also left with a great deal of unanswered questions about staying safe during COVID upticks, especially if we’re hosting a large event—like a wedding.
Luckily, here are some useful answers to these questions:
#1: Should you host a smaller event?
In the pandemic’s early days, even as regional requirements seemed to change only slightly depending on the number of individuals allowed to gather, one thing was clear: smaller gatherings were essential to combat COVID’s spread.
Well, it’s still true that the larger your event is, the greater the risk of creating a superspreader. That being said, with proper proof-of-not-just-vaccine-but booster requirements and testing arrangements in place, a 200-person wedding could safely be held today.
Many, however, are opting for 50 guests or less, to both assure safety and reduce their costs.
#2: Should you require proof of vaccination?
Lots of wedding planners currently suggest requiring proof of a recent booster for guests, especially if you plan to host a large wedding.
Though a booster doesn’t guarantee resistance to COVID infection, as latest variants prove effective at evasion, it can reduce the likelihood of rampant infection and spreading.
But, if you want to really stop COVID at the front door and absolutely ensure the safety of your guests, you need to go beyond a simple proof of booster requirement.
#3: Should you require proof of a negative test?
Some couples are choosing to require a negative test for their wedding, either instead of or in addition to proof of booster. They may even ask guests to perform at-home antigen tests, then photo the negative result to present upon their arrival at the venue.
In other words, if a serial testing requirement was in place for your wedding, each guest would need to purchase 3 home tests, planning days ahead of the event. The logistical difficulties of such a course of action caused many to drop the idea of requiring negative tests entirely.
While PCR tests are generally more reliable, they can take up to 3 days to produce results, meaning some of your prospective guests could easily contract the virus in the interim. Since incubation time for COVID has shortened greatly, by the time these infected guests arrive at your wedding, they could potentially already be contagious.
The fact is, the combination of serial testing in advance of the wedding, and rapid PCR tests, or rapid ultra-high accuracy microfluidics tests are your best options.
#4: How can you prepare for supply chain issues?
COVID-related supply chain issues have been well known, which the war in Ukraine has only worsened. As a result, couples in the midst of wedding planning have had to worry about the ability to get dresses or flowers, or any other products or items they’d planned on. Increased costs and delays in delivery have caused constant problems.
Some couples also found that the final cost for the event came to almost 30% more than they originally expected. This suggests that you might want to plan to spend at least that much more for your own wedding, so as to protect yourself from any sticker shock that could prevent you from enjoying your ceremony to the fullest.
#5: Do you need to self-isolate before your wedding?
A lot of couples have made the difficult decision to self-isolate prior to their big day in order to reduce chances that one or the other might get sick and delay the wedding even further. Even when vaccinated, there’s no guarantee you won’t get sick, so staying away from those who spend time in public places or do in-person work is also advisable.
If you have to work the days leading up to your wedding, and can’t do so remotely, consider approaching your employers about COVID-safety measures in your workplace. Perhaps they’ve already considered some ideas about establishing “pre-event” or other social distancing strategies, workplace testing or vaccination policies, so it can’t hurt for them to hear that’s what their workers want as well.
Final thoughts on COVID wedding plans
The truth is, with highly-accurate rapid tests and with the practice of advanced serial testing, overall it should be fairly safe to hold a normal-sized wedding—even without masks or social distancing.
The main point is, however, that this is not the time to throw caution to the wind, so do put in place precautions. The safety of you and your guests is too important.