If your wedding is coming up, you already know that planning a wedding in the midst of the COVID-19 pandemic presents certain challenges. But while earlier months of the pandemic saw many couples having to cancel or postpone their weddings, thanks to vaccines, many couples feel safe gathering their friends and families to celebrate their “I do’s.”
But even with vaccines widely available in the US, couples are facing a different wedding-related challenge—and that’s tracking vaccinations and making sure all their guests are safe to attend their big day.
Let’s take a look at everything you need to do know to track vaccinations at your wedding.
The very first thing you’ll need to do when it comes to COVID-19, vaccines, and your wedding? Get clear on what, exactly, your stance is on vaccinations at your event.
Different couples have different approaches to wedding vaccinations. For example, some couples require every guest to be fully vaccinated—no exceptions. Other couples will prefer guests to be vaccinated—but will make exceptions for close friends and family members who either can’t or won’t get the vaccine (for example, an aunt with a disorder that prevents her from getting the vaccine or a member of the wedding party that’s choosing to remain unvaccinated). Others are fine with vaccinations or a negative COVID-19 test in the days leading up to the wedding.
Whatever your stance on vaccinations at your wedding, it’s important for you and your partner to get on the same page before you communicate that stance to your guest; that way, you can give them clear details about what you need from them and what they’ll need to do to attend your event.
Also, while there is no “right” or “wrong” way to approach vaccinations at your wedding, it is important to consider the safety of all your guests and wedding vendors—so keep that in mind as you’re settling on your COVID-19 vaccination stance.
Once you know how you plan to approach vaccines at your wedding, you’ll want to communicate that approach to your guests.
How you let your guests know about your COVID-19 vaccination stance will depend on where you are in the wedding planning process—and how much time there is between now and your big day. As a rule of thumb, the more notice you can give your guests the better.
For example, if you recently got engaged and are just starting the wedding planning process, you can include COVID-19 vaccine information into all of your wedding materials like your save-the-dates, wedding website, and wedding invitations from the get-go. If you’re already well into the planning process—and invites have already been sent—you can add the information to the wedding website and send an email to your guest list directing them to the website to learn more about your stance on vaccinations at your wedding.
If your wedding is in a few weeks (or a few days), you’ll want to reach out to your guests directly (for example, via email, text, or phone) to let them know what you need from them to attend. Be sure to get confirmation that they’ve received your message and are on board.
The point is, you want to give your guests as much notice as possible about your stance on vaccinations at your wedding. So wherever you are in the wedding planning process, make sure to let them know ASAP.
As mentioned, the point of having requirements around vaccinations at your wedding is to keep everyone safe. And in order to do that, it’s important to do your due diligence—and make sure that you’re gathering proof that every guest complies with your vaccine requirement.
When you let your guests know you’ll be requiring them to be fully vaccinated to attend your wedding reception, you also need to let them know you’ll be requiring proof of vaccination. This can be, for example, sending a photo of their vaccination card by a certain date to attend the wedding ceremony.
Ideally, you’ll want to ask your guests to send proof of vaccination well in advance of your wedding; that way, it gives you time to get organized, make sure you have proof of all your guests’ vaccination status, and follow up with any guests that haven’t gotten you the documentation you need.
If you’re allowing an unvaccinated guest to attend with a negative COVID-19 test, you’ll also need to let them know that they’ll need to be tested within a certain period before your wedding (for example, 72 hours) and will need to send a copy of the test your way as soon as they’re confirmed negative. (Just keep in mind that if a guest tests positive and can’t attend, you won’t know until a few days before your wedding and will have to make a last-minute adjustment to your headcount and seating chart.)
Getting proof of vaccination from all of your guests will give you peace of mind heading into your big day. But you also want that peace of mind to extend to the rest of your wedding guests.
Once you’ve collected everyone’s vaccination status, make sure to let your entire guest list know that you’ve received everyone’s proof of vaccination. Now, everyone can head into the wedding knowing their fellow guests are vaccinated.
In a perfect world, all of your guests will be on board with how you handle vaccinations at your wedding. Chances are, though, you’ll have at least a few guests that may take a different stance regarding the COVID-19 vaccine. And while those conversations can be uncomfortable, it’s essential to be prepared.
Let’s take a look at a few tips to help you handle pushback around vaccinations at your wedding in a fair, constructive, and respectful way for you and your guest:
Planning a COVID-era wedding presents certain challenges—including tracking vaccinations at your wedding. But now that you know exactly how to handle the situation, you have everything you need to communicate your vaccination stance and get the information you need from your guests to feel safe on your big day.