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In a normal wedding setting, there’s a lot of socializing, embracing, and partying. But, times have changed, and with Covid-19 cases still surging in some regions, it seems feckless to go ahead with your wedding plan. However, life has to move on, and couples who’ve had their wedding plans upended by the crisis are still getting married on their intended date, but in a completely different way. The pandemic has brought a new set of wedding etiquette dilemmas, and people are torn between who to invite without hurting their feelings.

Weddings in 2020

At the start of the year, when coronavirus hit hard, life came to a sudden halt, literally. Social gatherings were banned, and lockdowns were enforced. More than 10 months later, the virus is still ravaging the population. The good news is that we now know how it spreads, and social distancing, wearing masks, and sanitizing has become the order of the day. That said, it’s better to be safe than sorry. If you’re still planning to go ahead with your wedding plan, here are a few wedding etiquette rules that you should follow to keep everyone safe.

Keep Your Guest List Short

The biggest dilemma is probably how to uninvite close friends whom you had already informed of your wedding plans. However, etiquette experts say that should be the least of your worries right now. In pre-Covid days, people would feel offended if they were left out. But, under the current circumstances, they’ll feel relieved not to attend the wedding in person. Disinviting guests is the new normal, and the smartest approach is to be honest. Right now, it would make perfect sense to say, “We would be very happy if you’d join our wedding via Zoom. Due to the COVID situation, only immediate family can participate directly. We hope you understand.”

Keep Your Guests Updated

Usually, invitations are sent out four to six months in advance. The same case applies now. And it’s more convenient to do that via phone calls or emails. Having your guests’ contacts allows you to update them with everything that’s going on. For example, if you cancel your wedding, it will be easier to pass on the news. Remember, everybody has been affected by the pandemic, and by keeping them updated, they will feel part of the event, even if they might not be able to attend directly.

Invitations Have Changed

As much as you’d like all your friends and family to attend in person, circumstances won’t allow it. Different states have different rules and regulations regarding social gatherings. Inquire about wedding regulations in your state to avoid being on the wrong side of the law. In North Dakota, for example, a 500-person indoor wedding is legal, while in Los Angeles County, California, gatherings are restricted to only family members of the same household. When sending out invitations, let them know how they will attend the wedding: in person or virtually via Skype, Zoom, or Face Time. You can include R.S.V.P. cards with three options to choose from: I will attend in person, by Zoom, or unable to attend.

Provide as Much Information About the Event as Possible

The ultimate goal of etiquette is to make guests feel comfortable at your event. So, you want to share as much information as possible about what they should expect. Be specific. Tell guests whether there will be sanitizing stations, if masks will be provided or if they should bring their own, and let them know that they will be required to wear the masks throughout the wedding. Likewise, inform guests that they will be practicing social distancing and what’s expected of them. This way, they will come into your event prepared rather than be unexpectedly confronted by the guidelines at the event. Additionally, you should include the number of guests who will be attending so that everyone has an idea of what to expect. Will the wedding be indoors or outdoors?

The gold standard for a safe ceremony is outdoors, with face masks on, sanitizing, and respect for social distancing. Given that studies show coronavirus spreads more in indoor settings due to low humidity, outdoor events seem a bit safer. If the event has to be held indoors, make the venue has good ventilation. Also, inform guests if there will be temperature checks or rapid testing for active asymptomatic infections. This way, the guests will feel safer knowing that everyone in the event has been tested and found to be negative, which means they are in a safe environment.

All images by Shutterstock

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