Should Everyone Wear Masks at Your Wedding?

Masks continue to be one of the most effective ways to stop the spread of COVID-19. So, is it worth it to enforce them on your big day?

By Maggy Lehmicke

Should Everyone Wear Masks at Your Wedding?
Photo by Unsplash

The First Look ✨

Planning A Wedding During A Pandemic: Every wedding planning journey has its twists and turns. To make sure your path is as smooth as possible and to help you keep an eye out for tiny potholes and giant roadblocks, always follow the advice of your local health guidelines and the recommendations set forth by the CDC. The state of the pandemic can change quickly, but by staying informed, you can make it to your destination—wedded bliss—without a hitch.

While new COVID-19 variants might be putting a wrench in the planning process, there are plenty of precautions you can take to make sure that your wedding is just as safe (and fun!) as you originally hoped. According to the CDC, wearing masks—regardless of vaccination status—is still one of the simplest and most effective ways to prevent the spread of the virus.

If you’re currently planning your wedding and are wondering if you should enforce masks on your big day, there are a few things to keep in mind:

What Are the Current Restrictions in Your Area?

Depending on where you live, COVID-19 restrictions and event guidelines may vary tremendously. For example, while the Seattle area may be limiting indoor gatherings and reinstating mask mandates, events in small, midwestern towns will look very different. While it’s not the only thing to consider, paying attention to government mandates and the most current information being provided by both the WHO and CDC is an important piece of the puzzle.

What Type of Event Are You Having?

When many people think of weddings, they think of 200-person gatherings in a crowded space. However, the definition of “wedding” continues to change, with elopements, mini-monies, and other creative gatherings taking center stage. If you’re having a large, indoor celebration, then the topic of enforcing masks may come up early in the planning process. However, for someone having a 20-person backyard wedding, enforcing masks may feel excessive or unnecessary. Make sure to think about your venue, event size, and geographical location before making any decisions.

What Do You Know About Your Attendees?

Do you have friends and family traveling from out of state? Or maybe a member of your wedding party has an immune deficiency that puts them at higher risk? All of these factors come into play when you’re considering enforcing masks at your wedding. Maybe you have a few friends or family members that you feel might push back or choose not to oblige. If this is the case, try explaining to them why this is so important to you, and then designate someone—either a close friend or coordinator—to help manage resistant guests. While comfort is key, safety should always be the main priority.

What Are You Most Comfortable With?

Probably the most important question to ask yourself (and your partner) is where your comfort level lies. Would you feel most at ease if everyone was wearing masks indoors, or would you prefer to simply encourage it? Do you favor the idea of social distancing wristbands instead? Would you require guests to get the COVID-19 vaccine before attending? These are all important questions to ask yourself—and each other—as your union and the purpose of the day itself should always come first.

If you’re not looking to enforce masks, but are hoping for something in-between, there are always alternatives. This includes:

  • Hosting a virtual or socially-distanced event. While not for everyone, if you’re really worried about someone getting sick, hosting a virtual event (or one that prioritizes social distancing) on your wedding day might be the right fit for you. Not only does it eliminate the need for masks, but it also helps to ensure the safety of you and your guests.
  • Having the wedding and postponing the wedding reception. As people get more creative with their plans, many couples are opting to have their wedding, while reserving their reception for a later date. This not only shortens the event, but also ensures that there is some level of social distancing, making masks less essential.
  • Having a large wedding and a small reception. If you’re someone who doesn’t want to cut numbers or reschedule, then maintaining your wedding plans while keeping the reception small might be the right fit for you. This could be as simple as dinner and some dancing with your wedding party at your family’s house or a small, outdoor event space. The scale can help you plan out crucial details, such as the wedding venue, wedding date, guest list, guest count, wedding party, etc.
  • Encouraging masks at weddings without enforcing them. Whether it be requesting it in the invitation or providing masks that match your wedding’s theme as guests arrive, there are various ways that you can encourage your guests to wear masks without enforcing them. This method may also help your guests relax if they’re still wary about attending in-person events.
  • Asking for vaccination status (or encouraging vaccination), if you don't think a mask mandate is enough. While this might be somewhat controversial, it’s also your day, which means that you get to make the rules. If you only want to host guests who have been vaccinated for COVID-19, you’re welcome to request this. It might irk some of your guests, but it also will help guarantee that your event is as safe as possible. However, it’s also important to keep in mind that not everyone has the same access or health background to get vaccinated. Even though you want to enjoy your big day, you also want to make sure that it is safe for you, your friends, and your loved ones.

When it comes to COVID-19 precautions, it’s most important to follow CDC guidelines while also assessing your own comfort level when planning pandemic weddings. If you’re leaning toward enforcing masks, there are many resources to make the process easier. However, if you’re hoping for a mask-free wedding, there are various options worth considering. No matter what, there are still plenty of ways to make your big day a memorable one.

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