Getting married in the face of COVID-19 creates challenges, to say the least. With the limited number of people allowed in a group setting at one time and the risk of spreading the virus being so high, it’s no wonder couples throughout California are worried about their nuptials.

First and foremost, at Eco Bear, we want you to know that we hear you and understand. This should be the most joyous time in your life, and the virus seems to be taking away from it. Please just consider this a blip in the radar rather than something completely ruining your plans. Your engagement should be one of the highlights of your adulthood as should your wedding. We’re here for you as you adjust your plans to ensure the safety of everyone involved. 

Ideally, you should reschedule your wedding, but we know that’s not feasible for everyone. If the show must go on, as they say, there are certain precautions you, your wedding venue, wedding planner, and all involved should follow.

Understand COVID-19

First, it’s vital that everyone truly understands COVID-19, its risk, and what it may look like as there is so much misinformation out there today. We’re here to set you straight.

  • COVID-19 is incredibly contagious. It can pass from person-to-person via touching, coughing, or even talking if bodily fluids spread through the air. It’s the droplets that cause the transmission and if you stand within 6-feet of an infected person, it’s easy to see how it spreads.
  • COVID-19 also spreads from surface to person. For example, if you have a guest registry book and pen and an infected person touches it, anyone that touches the pen after that may also have the germ. COVID-19 germs stay on different surfaces for different amounts of time and without proper disinfection between uses, the risk of spreading the virus is high.
  • The symptoms may vary from mild to severe and some people don’t show symptoms at all. The most common symptoms of the virus are a fever of 100.4 or higher, cough, sore muscles, loss of taste or smell, chills, and a sore throat. But, as we said, some people don’t present any symptoms, but still have the virus.
  • Social distancing is imperative. This means keeping a safe 6-foot distance between everyone, except the couple. This includes officiants, wedding venue staff, wedding planners, and guests. If a 6-foot distance can’t be maintained and close contact will last for more than 10 minutes, everyone should wear proper face coverings.

Choosing Who Can Be in Attendance

Unfortunately, during this time, you must be very picky about who is in attendance at your wedding. While you want everyone that you know and love there, it’s crucial to keep up the social distancing requirements and to limit the amount of contact with those that may have been exposed. 

In general use the following guidelines:

  • Anyone that shows symptoms, including one part of the couple, should not be in attendance. If one part of the couple has symptoms, the wedding should be postponed. 
  • If your witness has symptoms or had exposure to the illness within the last 14 days, you should find another witness or postpone the wedding.
  • If the officiant has symptoms or had exposure to the illness within the last 14 days, you should find a substitute or postpone the wedding.

Anyone that had symptoms must isolate themselves for 10 days from the start of symptoms and for at least 3 days after all symptoms stopped. This allows for the least amount of risk of spreading the virus. If someone involved in the wedding had close exposure to an infected person, they should isolate themselves for 14 days. If no symptoms show up at that time, they are free to attend the wedding if they fulfilled the 14-day requirement.

Precautions for Weddings

If you decide to have your wedding, proper precautions must take place. This includes:

  • Access to handwashing stations and/or hand sanitizer throughout the church, venue, or courthouse. All sanitizing stations should be touch-free and allow for frequent handwashing, especially after touching common objects or coming into contact with another person.
  • Require proper self-monitoring before attending the event. Set up proper methods for self-monitoring along with reminders. Personally contact each guest in attendance (right now this may not be more than 10 people) and ask that they monitor themselves. Do they have any of the symptoms mentioned above? Even a mild symptom is enough to tell a guest to remain at home and isolate themselves for 14 days.
  • Ask any invited guests that had symptoms within 3 days of the event to remain at home. All guests should be symptom-free for at least 3 days before leaving their home as they can still carry the virus. 
  • Ask any guests that have had contact with an infected person to remain home for at least 14 days, even if this coincides with your wedding. It takes between 2 – 14 days to show symptoms and an infected person becomes contagious 48 hours before they show symptoms. If guests have been exposed, it’s for the health of everyone that they stay home for 14 days. 
  • Set up screening at the entrance of the wedding. While it’s not the fantasy wedding you pictured in your mind, remember this is for everyone’s safety including your own. Consider setting up a station so that guests can have their temperature taken and respiratory health evaluated. Anyone that presents with a fever of 100.4 or higher or has respiratory issues should not be allowed to be in attendance.
  • Have no-touch greetings and rituals throughout the wedding. Even though it seems less personal, keeping a 6-foot distance between the couple and anyone else at the wedding, including officiants, witnesses, and venue staff is crucial. 
  • Talk to the venue about proper disinfecting and sanitizing throughout the event. This includes all high-touch areas, frequently visited areas, and bathrooms. Recommending sanitizing or disinfecting every 30 minutes is ideal, or at least as frequently as possible. 
  • Avoid sharing any utensils, cups, pens, or any other objects. The wedding should be ‘touch-free’ to avoid spreading any germs that guests or staff may not even know they have.
  • Eliminate any sharing of food, including buffets or family-style dinners. Any food that is served, which may not be possible quite yet, should be individually plated so that no one has to pass dishes or cups to prevent the spread of the illness.

Livestreaming the Wedding

We understand how disappointing it can be to limit your guests, but it’s for the health and safety of all, including yourself. If you continue with your wedding, consider having the ceremony and/or reception live streamed. Today it’s easier than ever to have your loved ones join in from a distance. Make it fun, have everyone dress up at home and enjoy the celebrations with you or just have them join in the live stream and share in the celebration.

Most importantly, ensure that there are proper disinfection services taking place before and during your celebrations. The use of professional-grade disinfection products is the only way to ensure that the virus is completely eradicated from the premises. This is vital before your wedding, but also during the time that you’ll be in the buildings to ensure that the spread of the germs doesn’t occur, even with proper social distancing practices in place.