Wediquette Wednesday: Can we require proof of vaccination or a negative COVID-19 test for our wedding?
Each Wednesday, we tackle wedding etiquette. At times, it’s a reader question or one from a colleague, friend or family member and other times we’ll cover a popular issue. (Note: Questions may be edited for clarity and brevity.)
Question: My fiancé and I are getting married next month and preparing to send out invitations. With the surge in COVID-19 Delta variant cases and the hospitals being overwhelmed, we are considering adding a note in each invitation about bringing proof of vaccination or a negative COVID-19 test. We know that vaccinations and negative tests aren’t bullet proof, but serve as an extra layer of protection and that the vaccine at least helps prevent people from getting so ill that they have to be hospitalized. The wedding will be very small with only 20 close family and friends being invited. We think all of us have been vaccinated, except one family member who has a health condition that prevents it. This is also part of the reason we want to make sure everyone is vaccinated; This family member is immune-compromised. We don’t want to exclude anyone, but safety is a priority. We are having the event at an outdoor venue and taking every possible safety precaution, including masking when not actively eating or drinking. Can we require proof of vaccination or a negative COVID-19 test for our wedding?
Answer: The short answer is yes. You can of course plan your wedding any way you’d like and invite or not invite the people of your choosing, but that doesn’t account for the hurt feelings of anyone who may be left out. The best you can do is to be sensitive to others feelings, while at the same time sticking to your boundaries. I recommend putting safety information in the invitation, to help people make the decision that is right for them and their loved ones. Include the projected number of attendees, that you are following the CDC guidelines on masking and other safety provisions, that the venue is outdoors and that you are requesting proof of vaccination or a negative COVID-19 test for all guests, due to the health and safety of immune-compromised family and friends. (Feel free to include a link to the CDC guidelines for reference.) Also include a verbiage to the effect of, “While we want to include everyone, it’s of the utmost importance that all attendees are as safe as possible for this celebration. If you are not fully vaccinated or will not be by the date of the event, we request that you R.S.V.P. with regrets. If you have questions, please contact [insert name of bride and groom or coordinator] to discuss.” If you hear from anyone, be kind and non-judgmental in your communication, but again, stay firm with your decision. Also, consider live streaming the ceremony for anyone who is unable to attend or feels uncomfortable attending.
Do you have a solution to share or a wedding etiquette question? Respond in the comments or email Melanie@MyNewOrleans.com.