Julia Cumes for The NYTimes
If you’ve received an invitation to a wedding recently, along with an RSVP card and a link to the couple’s registry might also be an additional note, brand new in 2021 to the wedding-planning landscape:
There very likely might be a note alerting potential guests they’ll be required to be vaccinated to attend the wedding. The New York Times highlighted this trend, pointing out that in a recent survey done by a popular wedding planning site, 22% of the 1400 couples surveyed said that were requiring guests to be vaccinated, up from only 3% in the spring.
“Many couples are setting up mobile testing sites the day before their weddings, informing guests that they will need to wear masks throughout the reception, and providing color-coded bracelets that indicate which guests are fine with hugging and which want to keep their distance, according to wedding planners.”
Of course, like all things wedding-related, this topic is bound to be controversial and is destined to ruffle some feathers. There will be guests who are offended, guests who think such a requirement is a breach of etiquette, some who think it doesn’t go far enough, and some who think the whole idea of Covid precaution is anti-romance during what is often considered the most romantic of special occasions. I’m curious where you fall on the spectrum. If you were getting married over the next few months, would you require your wedding guests to get vaccinated? How about masks? What about social distancing? (And then there’s also the question about destination bachelor and bachelorette parties, and the tension around traveling during the Delta surge…).
ktfran September 15, 2021, 8:24 am
I picked “I wouldn’t have a wedding during a pandemic”.
I’m so happy I haven’t been invited to one. Honestly, if I were, I’d only attend if I felt safe enough doing; so, more intimate guest list and people were vaccinated. If it were entirely outdoors, I could maybe forgo the vaccination requirement, but a negative Covid test requirement would make me feel more comfortable.
Really, I’m not ready for large events yet.
Bittergaymark September 15, 2021, 12:16 pm
I so get that sentiment… But I now honestly don’t see this ending anytime in the next five years.
Fyodor September 15, 2021, 12:46 pm
A lot of the people getting married now delayed their weddings based on the assumption that they’d be free and clear. If I had put it off for a year and then had Delta hit, I’m not sure what I’d do. Things may not be appreciably better for a while. I think that in six months, maybe Delta will have receded and we’ll have boosters and vaccinated kids and possibly oral antivirals. But something worse could be coming too.
ktfran September 15, 2021, 1:30 pm
I realize that. One of my good friends was supposed to get married a year ago. She ended up doing a 10 person ceremony. I’d probably consider the same if I were in her position.
I’m personally not ready to be in a room full of 200 people where there is drinking, dancing, letting their guard down.
I do understand that we need to start living again. The husband and I are taking risks we are comfortable with. We’re not hermits. Crowded venues is just not one of the risks we are taking right now.
Kate September 15, 2021, 1:32 pm
Agree, I’d elope or just do immediate family / best friends.
Fyodor September 15, 2021, 3:04 pm
Yeah-I wasn’t being critical. We haven’t done any socialization with anyone outside our household other than limited gatherings with parents and siblings.. I wouldn’t have a large indoor event now. But I can understand the impulse to some extent.
Fyodor September 15, 2021, 3:05 pm
I should say *indoor* socialization. We do gatherings in yards and on our roofdeck.
Ele4phant September 15, 2021, 3:23 pm
It’s hard for me to say because when I got married 6+ years ago I had a small wedding – a 200 plus wedding was my nightmare well before the pandemic rolled around.
So if I we’re getting married today it’d be easy for me to have the wedding I wanted and not feel it was a sacrifice at all.
I do feel for couples that do want a big wedding and have been waiting are now wondering if it now – when? While I wouldn’t say we’re *quite* there yet, I do think soon we’ll be to the point of “Everybody has to use their own judgement and makes choices for themselves about what they are okay with”. The easy answer of “Just don’t do it – you’re selfish and crazy for even trying to think about doing a big event” is going away.
And that’s hard, because not everyone will be on the same page.
I do think I could probably handle a big indoor event if I knew that the people attending were vaccinated. I would still accept there is a risk, but it would be one I’d be okay taking.
I wouldn’t feel okay if I didn’t have that certainty about everyone else being vaccinated, and I definitely don’t feel that just because I have a certain risk tolerance people who stay more cautious are unreasonable.
anonymousse September 15, 2021, 8:31 am
I also wouldn’t have one during a pandemic. I am glad I haven’t been invited to one.
Vathena September 15, 2021, 9:07 am
Guys we were invited to FOUR weddings between August and October of this year. Three were supposed to take place last year but got postponed. Who would have thought, in July of 2020, that by October of 2021 it wouldn’t be safe to have a wedding yet?! Sheesh. We did attend my nephew’s wedding in August. We went on a 2.5 week road trip to avoid air travel with our 8yo. The wedding events were almost entirely outdoors and people were vaccinated (I know of only one family in the group that are holdouts, and we stayed away from them). I still had my daughter in double masks whenever we had to be indoors for bathrooms and such, and all of us got tested a week later, before kiddo started school. We’re planning to attend my cousin’s wedding in a couple of weeks – same deal; it’s in driving distance, all events are outdoors, and they are requiring that guests over 12 be vaccinated.
I had to RSVP with regrets to a dear friend’s wedding in October, because I’m not willing to risk flying there. The wedding itself will be fairly small, outdoors, vax required and they’re asking people to mask up when not eating. I’m pretty torn up about that one because this is a friend-like-family who has been there for all of my milestones and while she was totally gracious and understands why some of us aren’t able to risk it, it’s still awful and sad. They delayed getting married to a time they thought it would be safe to gather, and it just SUCKS that it’s not yet. We will probably also decline the other wedding we’re invited to in October.
I do feel like there’s a safe way to have a wedding during a pandemic – outdoors, small, vax required for eligible folks (although, how to verify…?) But not a 200+ guest, indoor wedding with a buffet.
Dear Wendy September 15, 2021, 11:34 am
That sucks that you’ll have to miss your close friends wedding! I’m sorry.
Bittergaymark September 15, 2021, 11:59 am
Hah! Vathena! I so feel your pain. I received three Fall wedding invites. All Falling within TWO weeks. I had to miss the one Labor Day weekend as it was in a remote part of Washington state and cost prohibitive. Also, it was the third invite and the other two I had already said yes to…
One was in Colorado. Last weekend.
Tomorrow I fly to Minneapolis for a friday wedding. Then I’ll pop up to the lake to help my folks close up the summer cabin.
But my yes — three weddings… in TWO weeks. It’s all very stressful.
Ele4phant September 15, 2021, 12:04 pm
It’s like you’re a straight woman in your twenties!
I’m glad to be past that phase – my friends and I are either all married or quite contented as they are, but for several summers in a row it was wedding after wedding.
Bittergaymark September 15, 2021, 12:14 pm
Right?! Then it would be more normal and expected. This is just downright ODD!!!!
Copa September 15, 2021, 9:53 am
We’re going to a small, outdoor wedding on Friday for my boyfriend’s cousin. I haven’t been to a wedding since 2019, but the details provided make me feel okay about this one.
If I were engaged, I’d opt into a civil ceremony, but that would’ve been up my alley pre-COVID. I’m not someone who ever dreamed of her wedding day.
My boyfriend getting breakthrough COVID despite us being fairly cautious makes me feel like getting it eventually is inevitable and has shifted my mindset a bit.
Bittergaymark September 15, 2021, 10:25 am
Portia September 15, 2021, 10:36 am
I just RSVPed no to a wedding because it’s indoors, I know at least a few guests aren’t vaccinated (a few I know for sure, but I’m sure there are more), and they’re only “requesting” mask wearing. I don’t know how big it is, but it’s not a small wedding either.
This is also the second indoor wedding in this family this year. The last one was post-vaccine, pre-Delta, so I went but felt a little uncomfortable about it. Why can’t this family just celebrate outdoors??
Ele4phant September 15, 2021, 11:20 am
Yes, for sure.
Honestly while I acknowledge breakthrough cases can and do happen, it still seems the vaccines are *incredibly* effective at reducing your risk of severe illness and death and shorten the window you are infectious to others. I know the providence town outbreak initially whipped up a lot of fear that the vaccines weren’t bulletproof, but honestly they are a great example of how they *do* work. There was absolutely *no* restrictions that whole weekend, but many people didn’t get infected at all, very few needed to be hospitalized, no one died. If we scaled up our vaccination rates nationally to be comparable, we absolutely could be functioning normally. Based on the data we have today, I am comfortable being around other vaccinated people without too many other precautions – the risk is not gone but it is drastically lower.
So I’d be comfortable going to a wedding that required vaccinations, and I’d be comfortable throwing one and making that a requirement.
For some reason we’ve decided vaccination can be a choice in this country – which okay fine but I 100% support measures to make this choice more of a hassle for people. You don’t want to be vaccinated? Fine. But you don’t get your cake and eat it to, you don’t get access to public spaces, workplaces, restaurants, airplanes, and fun events.
That’s the trade off of your choice. Deal with it.
Cleopatra_30 September 15, 2021, 12:38 pm
Not getting married any time soon. But I have potentially three weddings next year, my cousin and two HS friends. I am in BC and these will all be in Ontario and I am really hoping that by next summer and fall things will have mellowed out. I think my attendance for those three will be dependent on how the pandemic pans out next year, I haven’t received invites yet, but being close friends and family I anticipate being invited by default. I would be more inclined if they are smaller gatherings, of 100 or less. But my cousin is Greek Orthodox and I worry they plan to do a massive gathering and how that will be regulated. Time will tell.
Fyodor September 15, 2021, 12:43 pm
I’d require vaccination and if we were going to be indoors, additionally require a negative test.
Fyodor September 15, 2021, 12:49 pm
I’m honestly torn about this. On one hand it seems irresponsible and dangerous to have a largeish wedding, but this could go on for a while and I don’t know how long people can put off their lives altogether. I do wish we had the kinds of cheap (1-2 euro) rapid tests that they sell in Europe. It would allow for extra layers of safety while letting people live their lives..
Moneypenny September 15, 2021, 12:48 pm
I’m going to a family member’s wedding in exactly one month in Milwaukee. I’m flying for the first time in 2 years(!) and am bringing some kn95 masks with me. The wedding is indoor/outdoor, and the venue has limited guest numbers and my cousin and the family are all pro-vax, so that’s somewhat reassuring. I’m vaccinated and am planning to get tested when I return. And I have no problem with leaving early if I feel uncomfortable. We’ll see how it goes! And if anyone has good recommendations for things to do in Milwaukee I’m all ears. I plan to do a lot of walking around and hopefully there will be some fall colors to enjoy.
Guy Friday September 15, 2021, 2:26 pm
Yes! I’m in the area. Tell me whereabouts you’ll be (what area of the city / suburbs?), what you enjoy doing/eating/whatever and I can give you some good recommendations 🙂
Moneypenny September 15, 2021, 5:58 pm
Hi! I’ll be staying downtown, right by the river not far from the Fonz statue, apparently! Currently I have a ticket to the Pabst Mansion and I would like to go to the art museum too, but that’s all I have planned. I hear the Riverwalk and the Public Market and Third Ward are worth exploring? I’m happy walking anywhere, and I’m into art/architecture/music and good food and drinks, pretty much anything that is unique to the city. I’ll have 3.5 days to explore!
Also, what is the weather usually like in mid-Oct? It’s usually still warm where I live, I just want to be prepared if I need to pack for cooler weather. Thanks GF! 🙂
ktfran September 15, 2021, 6:52 pm
Money penny, it can truly depend, re: weather. My sister got married moved-October near WI, but we were still in IL. The weather was beautiful her weekend. But two years ago, we had a lot of snow on Halloween. It was cold enough prior to that to make it stick for a couple of days.
Unfortunately, Oct is unpredictable. I’d check leading up to it and plan on bringing a cardigan or sweater or jacket or something.
Moneypenny September 15, 2021, 7:14 pm
Thanks Ktfran! I’m definitely going to check the weather closer to then. I’m such a “planner” I’ve been thinking about my wardrobe for like, a couple of months now! 🙂
Copa September 16, 2021, 9:48 am
Hi! I’m in Chicago and have been to Milwaukee once. I really liked their lakeshore path, riverwalk, and Third Ward. The art museum (right on the lake) seemed nice, but we didn’t have time to go.
Also as a Chicagoan who despises heat/humidity, October can be hit or miss but I generally find the weather pretty pleasant in the fall. We have plenty of nice (read: cool and sunny) days. But yeah, sometimes there can be rain or sometimes an unseasonably cold snap with snow. Hoping you get great weather, though!
ktfran September 16, 2021, 9:59 am
The husband went to school in Milwaukee. I can ask him some fun places too. We go strictly for Marquette games so I don’t really have any suggestions apart from college basketball.
I think you could safely plan on 50s (nights)/60s (days). That’s a pretty good guess for fall, with the caveat being it could be a lot different than that. A pleasant surprise would it still being low 70s!
Moneypenny September 16, 2021, 12:30 pm
Thanks Copa and Kt! That makes sense. I’ll plan for both nicer and possibly cooler weather. That reminds me of my one trip to Chicago – it was super nice and sunny for a few days, then overnight dropped 30 degrees and was raining. That was in October too! 😛
ktfran September 16, 2021, 12:42 pm
Ha! My favorite is when it drops like that during the day. Ages ago when I actually went into the office, it was always a fun time to go into work in a dress and maybe my jean jacket and leave and freeze my ass off because the temp dropped drastically. That has happened in a while though.
Guy Friday September 16, 2021, 7:41 pm
Sorry for the delay; Jewish holiday and all 🙂
People have said a lot of the answers I would have mentioned, but 100% yes on the Riverwalk, especially since you’ll be staying right on it basically if you’re by the Bronze Fonz! If you don’t mind going out a little ways the Oak Leaf and Hank Aaron Trails are near enough that you can get to access points on foot, and they’re as gorgeous as the lakefront.
Other places to check out:
Lakefront Brewery (I know locals prefer the smaller ones, but for someone who hasn’t been there before it’s pretty fun to go to at least once!)
Great Lakes Distillery (if you like spirits instead of just beer!)
Harley-Davidson Museum (definitely really cool to see the old motorcycle prototypes)
DEFINITELY echo the boat cruise
Sprecher Brewery (up 43 North in Glendale; the tour’s awesome, and it’s all you can drink soda along with the beer samples!)
Villa Terrace Decorative Arts Museum and the Charles Allis Art Museum (both small, easy to get through, but still gorgeous)
St Joan of Arc Chapel (Marquette campus) / Basilica of Saint Josaphat (both absolutely GORGEOUS churches)
Deer District (it’s mostly restaurants and bars up by the Fiserv Forum where the Bucks and Marquette play, but it’s got a really cool vibe and you can sit outside for dinner safely distanced while still feeling like you’re part of a fun crowd)
Moneypenny September 17, 2021, 11:20 am
Thank you GF!! I’m making notes of all of these to check out! 😀
ktfran September 15, 2021, 7:40 pm
I am too! Layers are def your friend this time of year.
MaterialsGirl September 16, 2021, 2:44 pm
Do a boat/brew cruise! So much fun. I’m trying to find which companies I’ve used in the past, but you would cruise to three different breweries along the river.
Pabst mansion is great, but definitely check out the best place brewery too! https://www.bestplacemilwaukee.com/
Like others have said, if you run (or bike) the lakefront trails are a nice way to see a bit more. It’s hillier than Chicago though.
You have to close Wolskis https://www.wolskis.com/
try a supper club!
‘Good coffee at collectivo or stone creak coffee
good tacos at BelAir Cantina. Not sure if you have a car, but there are some good FLW sites including the SC Johnson
Moneypenny September 16, 2021, 6:41 pm
Oooh, thanks MaterialsGirl! I love the idea of the boat/brew cruise. The waterfront looks pretty nice, it would be fun to take a cruise and see the city from the water. I’m making note of all of these to check out!
Kate September 15, 2021, 12:52 pm
I think I would just get married without “a wedding,” or just only invite close friends and family that I know to be vaccinated. Everyone in our families who can go anywhere, is vaccinated, as well as close friends. And I’d do it outside. Our actual wedding was all outdoors.
ktfran September 15, 2021, 1:33 pm
LisforLeslie September 15, 2021, 12:57 pm
I’d require vaccinations and set up testing. Most of the people in my circle have been vaccinated. Which is awesome. But it’s easy to lie about being vaccinated – you never fucking know. And it doesn’t have to be the people invited who are lying, just the people that they are in contact with; a co-worker, an in-law, a neighbor, who reassures someone that they got the jab but are lying through their deceitful teeth.
Fyodor September 15, 2021, 1:24 pm
I do wonder if there’s a market for turnkey testing services at weddings/bar mitvah’s etc.
LisforLeslie September 15, 2021, 2:42 pm
Hell yeah there is. I’m already reading this in wedding announcements. It gives people the opportunity to show off their wealth masked as a kindness. That kind of superiority position blows a pair of rented peacocks or signature cocktail garnished with a bit of gold leaf right out of the water.
And if that’s what it takes – I’m totally and completely for it.
Ele4phant September 15, 2021, 1:49 pm
On the last poll option – I do think some things are silly and just theater.
Obsessive cleaning of surfaces? We’ve known for over a year that this virus really doesn’t spread via fomite transmission so a big to do about how a venue is being scrubbed down does nothing to inspire a sense of confidence for me.
Social distancing – I mean maybe maintaining distance is probably ever so slightly helpful – particularly for short interactions. but if you’re indoors for awhile – those particles will waft through the air.
Even masks I think are advisable in a mixed setting and probably everywhere given some people just can’t be trusted to be honest – but if I’m *certain* I’m around only vaccinated people personally I don’t think a mask is necessary.
For me the only two things that matter are first and foremost vaccinations requirements for all those that are eligible, and secondly regular and rapid testing. Oh and I suppose long term improved air ventilation in public indoor spaces.
The rest is just kind of a waste of time and money for the marginal benefits they bring, if any.
Guy Friday September 15, 2021, 2:35 pm
I would require vaccinations. I’m not sure if I’d demand proof, but I’d make it clear this is what I expected, and if you didn’t want to come because of that (or because it’s a wedding during COVID) I’d totally understand and wouldn’t judge. But if someone pushed back on it, my response would be this:
My grandmother needs to be at my wedding, and she’s 92. My 6 and 4 year old nephews need to be there, and they’re too young to be vaccinated. I’m dealing with medical issues right now that compromise my immune system. If you’re saying you DESERVE to come to my wedding but I don’t DESERVE to ensure that the people I invite — including myself — are safe, then you’re obviously not the kind of friend or human being I want at my wedding.
It’s as simple as that. Unlike many people, I don’t really care what your stance is on vaccination at this point, though I’m pro-vax. I CARE if you think you can go without it but tell me I have to assume risk around you because you can’t be bothered to give a damn about my feelings and concerns at my own wedding.
LisforLeslie September 15, 2021, 2:45 pm
And that’s where the on site testing comes in. Because even if everyone is vaccinated, you still don’t know if you’re infected. And I don’t want your Grammy-Gram sick and I really don’t want me to be the person who made her sick. Even as a non-observant Jew I’m carrying enough guilt. I don’t need that too.
JamJar September 15, 2021, 4:03 pm
Literally doing this. Our invitations say that you must be vaccinated. Debating asking for testing as well. We have the first two hours outside and are letting people know they can skip the indoor dinner.
I hate this. My mom got sick (cancer) and I’m too afraid to delay even though her surgery went ok. She’ll be at the outdoor part.
Dear Wendy September 15, 2021, 6:35 pm
I hope it’s a lovely and special day for you!
allathian September 17, 2021, 4:25 am
I hope you have a lovely wedding, and I’m sorry about your mom.
Hazel September 15, 2021, 5:24 pm
Right now? I’d elope to the wilderness. dealing with the flack of who would and wouldn’t vaccinate and so forth sounds like a nightmare (given how many idiots I apparently know and am related to). My heart goes out to anyone trying to create their special day.
Sonia September 16, 2021, 4:38 am
I missed my niece’s wedding in January which also happened to be in Florida and although it was outside I didn’t feel comfortable flying. At the time I was also supposed to fly to LA for work but I declined (my boss was fine with that) I’ve since had to travel for work (in May NY to LA/July NY to UK) which has made me anxious but it really has helped my faith in mask wearing as I haven’t tested positive (for work we’re tested 3x a week, which honestly makes me feel so much safer , oddly enough).
I’m officiating a wedding in May 2022 and know that about 40% of the attendees are anti vaxx /conservative / Trumpesque. So I’m really hoping that by then things are better, otherwise I’m officiating with a face shield and going home. I won’t have to travel for it but I know they don’t have the resources to buy and set up testing (they didn’t have to postpone the wedding, but gave themselves 2 years to save up for it, so it’s their original wedding date). I still wear a mask even outdoors wandering London if there are too many people around, and eating outside. Dreading when it gets too cold to do that 🙁
Dear Wendy September 16, 2021, 6:25 am
Masks and frequent testing (especially in work and school environments) really are key in reducing spread, especially when not everyone is or can be vaccinated. Glad you’ve been able to stay safe!
allathian September 17, 2021, 4:34 am
I wouldn’t have a wedding during a pandemic, but I understand why some people don’t want to postpone it.
I wouldn’t attend a wedding unless they required our Covid passport to show that you’ve either had both your Covid shots, been tested within the last 72 hours, or recovered from a diagnosed Covid illness withing the last 6 months. The passport is based on an app, with a QR code that can be verified so it’s extremely difficult to fake.