Weddings and COVID-19: What to Know

Should you attend a wedding during the coronavirus pandemic? Consider these health and safety guidelines before deciding.

Sep. 3, 2020 4   min read

Illustration of bride and groom asking if you should attend a wedding during the pandmic

New York State’s current guidance for weddings allows for no more than 50 people at a wedding reception. But a judge recently ruled that a Western New York couple could marry at a venue with 50% capacity—the same rules for indoor restaurants. New York State officials are challenging the judge’s ruling, while simultaneously, New York State is being sued by more than 1,000 wedding venues arguing for the right to be treated the same as restaurants. It is unclear when the guidelines will be updated if at all, leaving guests wondering: “should I go to a wedding during the coronavirus pandemic?”

What to Know

New York State requires that all public gatherings allow for people to be at least six feet apart and all attendees wear a mask whenever physical distancing isn’t possible.

There are more things to consider, like the regulations in place at the venue and your family’s personal risk level. Understanding the consequences of your decision can help determine whether you should attend the event or choose to stay home.

Do you have to travel for the wedding?

Consider the amount of travel required to get to the event. Traveling far distances often means coming in contact with many people, especially when utilizing public transportation. If you decide to travel, driving by car is the safest option.

If traveling across state borders, be aware of the COVID-19 infection rate in the state you’re traveling to and your home state. If you live in an area with high rates of COVID-19, it is best to avoid the wedding so you don’t put others at risk.

Remember, you may have to quarantine for 14 days if you are traveling to a state that is on the New York State travel restriction list.

Does the venue have health and safety restrictions?

Consider asking what safety measures the hosts will be taking to protect their guests. In general, smaller, outdoor weddings are safer than large, indoor weddings.

 Other precautions that indicate a safer event include:

  • required social distancing
  • mask-wearing rules
  • no buffet or family-style food options
  • no dancing on a shared dance floor

Alcohol consumption

It’s a good idea to limit alcohol consumption at events during COVID-19. When people consume too much alcohol, they can let their guard down and abandon safety measures like social distancing, mask-wearing, and hand-hygiene. Be honest with yourself about what you will do at an event with many people. Consider whether you’ll be comfortable following health and safety guidelines for the duration of the event.

Evaluate your risk tolerance

If you are at high risk of serious illness from COVID-19, or you live with someone who is, it is best to avoid weddings during the pandemic. An underlying condition puts you at greater risk and means taking more precautions to remain safe and healthy.

If you are unsure about your risk, talk with your primary care doctor before deciding to go to a wedding or any other large gathering.

How to help stay safe at a wedding

If you decide to attend a wedding or a large gathering, be sure to take all possible safety precautions to protect yourself and those around you.

  • wear a mask at all times
  • stay six feet apart
  • wash hands regularly and carry hand sanitizer
  • clean your hands every time you touch a surface
  • avoid using the bathroom when others are in there
  • sit with your immediate household or inner circle
  • steer clear of popular spaces
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