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.
In a survey conducted by Zola in partnership with Modern Fertility about COVID, vaccines, and weddings, nearly 53 percent of respondents said they wanted the majority of their guests to be vaccinated before their wedding reception. But communicating vaccinations and safety protocol to family and friends can feel a bit daunting, especially when you already have to stay on top of other wedding planning needs. Thankfully, Zola is here to help you through the process.
Here, some pros and cons of requiring your guests to be vaccinated before attending your celebration.
Benefits of Requiring Guests to Be Vaccinated
While it’s a personal decision to require your guests to be vaccinated, you should be aware of the pros of making that decision.
Some of the benefits include:
- Protecting Your Loved Ones: Some of your immediate family members or close friends could be high-risk, so it’s reasonable to ask that guests be vaccinated in order to attend. If they are vaccinated, it offers protection for those that are immune-compromised or going through medical treatments like chemotherapy or dialysis, for example. For the kids in attendance that aren’t eligible to get the vaccine, this also provides them some level of protection.
- Protecting You and Your Future Spouse: You don’t want to start your marriage off with a positive COVID test. Everyone will want to congratulate you and offer hugs, but isn’t it better to chance it if everyone is fully vaccinated before embracing?
- Reduce Your Budget: Unfortunately, there will be some pushback from some guests that are adamant about not getting the vaccine, but the good news is, you can mark them off of your guest list and save some money.
- Vaccine Tracking: Having a COVID-19 vaccine tracker for your guest list will help in the long run with seating arrangements at both the wedding and reception. It can also help you determine your ceremony layout.
- Peace of Mind: The last thing you need on your wedding day is to be stressed out if someone failed to get the vaccine in time, or worse, they show up unvaccinated, thus putting everyone at risk. After all, people are traveling from all over the country, and you have no idea who they have been in contact with or what type of exposure they have had during the pandemic.
Wedding Tip: Having an on-site rapid testing table can help lessen the anxiety for you and your future spouse, as well as guests. Other options include requiring guests to have a negative test result before attending. In some states, negative COVID tests are required before guests can enter a large gathering like a wedding. You may be required to upload all negative test responses to ensure everyone is gathering safely. Be sure to check with your wedding venue to determine their rules for non-vaccinated guests.
Cons of Requiring Your Guests to Be Vaccinated
While there’s no mandate for the vaccine and it’s a personal choice for every individual, there may be some drawbacks to making it a requirement for your wedding guests.
- Budget Increase: It may cost you to keep yourself and your loved ones safe. Some couples foot the bill to pay for guests and vendors to be tested on their wedding day. You’ll also have to include PPE to keep everyone safe, including masks and hand sanitizer stations that could cost upwards of $300.
- Additional Work and Communication: Not only will you be sending out save the dates, invitations, and creating your wedding website for key information for the celebration, but you’ll have to include additional communication regarding vaccinations or even testing. You’ll need to determine how to confirm testing and vaccinations. It may take more effort, time, and money to add additional printed items to the wedding invitations.
- Uncomfortable Conversations: If you require your guests to get the vaccine, do you trust your guest list and vendors enough to take the “honor system” approach, or are you going to ask to see test results or vaccine cards with RSVPs?
- It Can Cause Relationship Drama: There’s still a lot of fear and hesitancy surrounding the vaccines, so telling your unvaccinated guests they have to be vaccinated can cause a rift. If the person refusing to get vaccinated is close to you, their regrets can feel like a big loss. And if the person is close to your spouse-to-be, it could even cause a rift in your relationship.
- Everyone Isn’t Able to Get the Vaccine- For some, there may be a medical reason as to why they cannot get the vaccine just yet. For others, it could take weeks or even months for everyone to get an appointment to get vaccinated, so depending upon your wedding date, you’ll have to decide how to handle that aspect. Not to mention, children under a certain age aren’t even eligible to get the vaccine yet.
Wedding Tip: Some venues may require certain safety protocols, while others have relaxed all of their pandemic rules. Find out what’s required at the venue.
How to Handle Guest Responses
While you hope your family and friends understand your desire to require vaccinations, there’s a possibility they may be offended by your decision. In that case, you might want to offer a virtual option for the unvaccinated. Just be upfront and honest with your communication. After all, it’s your wedding and you want to celebrate without the worry of the vaccinated versus the unvaccinated and who is wearing a mask and who isn’t.
Ultimately, determining whether to require your wedding guests and vendors to be vaccinated is your choice. It’s your wedding, and as the couple, you set the tone for your big day. Planning your wedding overall can be overwhelming, but Zola is here to help make your wedding dreams become a reality.