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Groom and Bride Wearing Medical MasksInformation overload is a real thing. With so much news and misinformation circulating about COVID-19, you may feel confused and overwhelmed. This is perfectly natural during these times. But when you’re planning a wedding in 2021, knowing the facts is essential. Checking out trustworthy sources can help you make sense of what’s going on. Learning how to separate facts from misinformation is important as you select venues, vendors, and safety protocols for your special day.

How Misinformation Spreads

Separating fact from fiction can be a little challenging, especially during the COVID-19 age. The World Health Organization calls this an “infodemic” – in other words, too much info makes it harder to determine reliable sources. Now, take that sheer volume of information and add human anxiety. The environment is ripe for misinformation to circulate. But how does it happen?

As University of Washington professor Kate Starbird explains, people try to make sense of things during a crisis. To allay our anxieties, we may “fill in the gaps” when we’re missing information. Starbird refers to this as “collective sensemaking.” While it offers psychological advantages, it could also produce rumors and misleading information. Lack of trust in official sources can amplify our anxiety. This makes us more likely to speculate when information is absent. We're also more vulnerable to believing falsehoods and spreading misinformation.

Doing Your Homework

Some misinformation is easy to spot – it contradicts what we know as fact. But other falsehoods may sound like truth at first glance. To help sort these out, De Chastelain Library Guides offers some COVID-19 critical thinking resources, including tips for spotting fake news:

  • Check out the source and determine if it’s credible.
  • Read past the headlines. The true story may lie in the copy – or elsewhere.
  • Review other sources to see if their reports are similar.
  • Make sure that the source isn’t a satire news site.
  • Consider your own biases.
  • Check the source’s claims against expert information.

Independent Fact-Checking Sources

As you evaluate claims about COVID-19, it may help to consult independent fact-checking websites. Snopes is one great example – it hosts an extensive library of COVID-19 fact-check articles. Google has its Fact Check Explorer, on which you can search for anything from 5G technology to COVID-19. Other useful sources include the Poynter Institute’s database on COVID-19, which is continually updated. There are many more out there, but these sites can be good starting points for your research.

Debunking COVID-19 Myths

As you’re trying to get the facts for yourself, you may encounter friends and family spreading misinformation. Most aren’t doing this deliberately. They’re scared, anxious, and vulnerable to false claims. That’s why an empathetic approach is useful. CNN adds that citing credible sources may also help, but choose these carefully. A skeptical relative may more readily accept information from local sources – your county’s health department or a local news station, for instance.

Wedding Planning Websites

Engaged couples aren’t the only ones heading to sites like The Knot. Wedding guests and industry professionals also visit them for information, advice, and suggestions. Many have developed COVID-19 planning guides: Wedding Wire’s guide is a great example, packed with lots of info. Site searches can turn up useful resources. For instance, Brides offers many articles with COVID-related planning advice. This advice is based on industry best practices and tips from real-life couples, plus information from reputable sources. From these, you can learn a great deal about hosting a safe and memorable wedding.

Wedding planning can be fun, but it may sometimes feel overwhelming. Toss in a global pandemic and it’s easier to feel confused or lost. But staying informed is key. Finding reliable information from reputable sources can help you make wise decisions to keep you and your guests safe.

Category: Wedding Planning

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