Editor's Note: Please consult your local laws and regulations currently in place in your community
Happy couples planning to tie the knot in 2021 confronted a challenge they likely never saw coming. While many couples fear inclement weather on their wedding days, 2020’s prospective brides and grooms had to contend with something far more fearful than rain clouds.
The outbreak of the novel coronavirus that began in the winter of 2019-20 and was ultimately declared a pandemic by the World Health Organization put many couples' wedding plans in peril. In an effort to stop the spread of the virus and protect those most vulnerable to it, governments across the globe placed restrictions on social gatherings, including weddings. Those restrictions prompted some couples to postpone their nuptials until 2021 (and now moving into 2022!), while others tied the knot at considerably smaller ceremonies than they initially planned for.
Couples planning to tie the knot in the months ahead can still do so, but the WHO recommends they take certain precautions as they organize their ceremonies and receptions.
· Confirm local regulations. Restrictions related to COVID-19 differ greatly by region. Areas that were not hit hard by the virus may not have as many restrictions in place as those that were devastated by the outbreak. In addition, cities or regions whose responses to the virus have been successful may have relaxed restrictions more than areas that are still struggling. The WHO notes the importance of checking local guidelines prior to planning an event, and that's especially important for couples who hope to get married in towns or cities where they do not currently reside.
· Keep guests up to date about precautions. Include detailed information about the safety measures that will be implemented during the wedding on your wedding website. Insert a card detailing this information into your invitation envelopes as well so all guests know what to expect when they accept the invitation. In addition, remind guests of the safety precautions throughout the ceremony.
· Provide sanitary supplies. Make sure hand sanitizer, soap, water, and masks are readily available for all guests. Social distance markers also can be placed on the ground throughout the venue to make it easy for guests to stay six feet apart from one another.
· Choose an outdoor venue. The Centers for Disease Control and Prevention notes that the COVID-19 virus spreads very easily through person-to-person contact and that the risk of spreading the virus is greater when spending time indoors. Couples can mitigate some of that risk by tying the knot outdoors and then hosting an outdoor reception where tables are kept at least six feet apart.
Weddings will be different until the world puts COVID-19 in its rear-view mirror. In the meantime, it's up to happy couples to keep their guests safe come the big day.
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