Here's How to Talk to Your Wedding Guests About the COVID Vaccine
As weddings are still being celebrated amid vaccine rollout, communicating the topic to loved ones could be anything-but-intuitive to couples. For one, we still don't know if a vaccinated person can transmit COVID-19, so it's imperative couples and vendors remain vigilant about the pandemic. In fact, in 2020 alone, the vast majority of couples (90%) amended their weddings with health and safety measures.
Communicating vaccine and testing requirements to your guests could range from your save-the-dates and invitations to your wedding websites. In a social poll of 10,000 respondents on The Knot, one in every five couples said they planned to require all guests to be vaccinated before their nuptials—a number that will continue to fluctuate as vaccine distribution increases across each state. Since the situation is ever-changing, here's the basic testing and vaccine etiquette to communicate to your guests at various planning points along the way.
Wedding Invitation Etiquette
The wedding invitation suite includes key information about your wedding weekend (hotel room blocks, wedding websites, registry info, and of course, the RSVP card). It's also now an opportunity to survey your guests for vaccine tracking and testing information. The Knot introduces the concept of the health and safety insert card, an additional response card that will allow you to make note of who may or may not be vaccinated by the time of your event. The health and safety insert card will survey your guests' comfort levels with seating, and whether they'll have received the vaccine by your wedding date.
It should also include testing information if your event is in a state that requires a negative COVID test. According to The Knot social poll conducted in early 2021, one-third of all couples said they'll require their guests to be tested leading up to their wedding day. This number will continue to rise based on each state's prerequisites. See a template for the health and safety insert card below.
Health and Safety Information
Will you be or do you plan to be fully vaccinated for COVID-19 two weeks before [scheduled wedding date]?
Our state requires all guests to test negative for COVID-19 before attending the event. Will you receive testing the week of the wedding?
If "no," please explain why:
On a scale of 1 to 5 (least to most comfortable), how will you feel about attending a wedding with [number of] guests in [scheduled wedding month]?
1 2 3 4 5
Wedding Website Etiquette
Further elaborating on the health and safety card, your wedding website is an additional communication resource to share vaccine and/or testing information for guests ahead of your nuptials. Your wedding website FAQ page should include all relevant information related to your wedding weekend, including hotel room blocks, travel details and the itinerary.
During the pandemic, each couple is encouraged to have devoted health and safety section on their wedding website with pertinent information and guidance for your loved ones. For example: out of the 10,000-plus couples surveyed, the 19% of respondents who said they'll require guests to be vaccinated should share timeline expectations prior to their wedding day. Keep in mind, one doesn't reach full immunity until a "few weeks" after receiving the second dosage, according to the CDC (Centers for Disease Control and Prevention).
Another topic to include on the FAQ page is testing requirements. If your wedding is held in a state like New York, where a negative test is required to attend the event, you should share information about local health centers where guests are able to access a test. A quarter of all couples who replied to The Knot social poll said they were planning to provide COVID tests for guests, which should also be communicated accordingly. If your state requires all guests be tested before attending your wedding, it's advised to share resources for your guests to streamline the process.
Another point at which couples are encouraged to share relevant health and safety information is several weeks before the wedding day via an email. This email, which will link back to the wedding website, could be a brief letter explaining why the vaccine or COVID testing measures are important to you on your wedding day.
As you finalize seating arrangements, you're also encouraged to survey guests' comfort levels. Remember, the CDC says the more contact across individuals, along with longer lengths of time of exposure, the increased risk of contracting COVID. Providing PPE, hosting events outdoors, grouping guests according to comfort levels, and including socially-distanced layouts will mitigate the risk. If you haven't surveyed guests' comfort levels on the health and safety insert card, take a poll digitally before finalizing your seating arrangements.
Finally, Dr. Anthony Fauci has said masks could remain necessary into 2022 to curb the pandemic's spread until we reach herd immunity. Given that weddings will continue to be held, especially with some states reopening group gatherings, couples are still expected to have masks and proper PPE at their events. The average cost of PPE, according to The Knot 2020 Real Weddings Study, was $280 per event. Wedding pros have been incredibly creative about seating arrangements, layouts and décor additions, altogether encouraging safe group gatherings.