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Socially Distanced Guests at a WeddingCOVID-19 is forcing the world to adapt. Keeping people safe is vital, so we’ve had to adjust our lifestyles and social customs. Weddings are no different, but much social etiquette and many customs haven’t changed much from before the pandemic. Thankfully, some guidance and diplomacy can help you navigate sticky situations as both host and guest.

Declining a Wedding Invitation

Maybe you don’t feel safe attending your friends’ wedding. Perhaps the hosts aren’t requiring masks or they’re telling guests not to wear them. Or maybe you’re in one of the vulnerable populations. Senior citizens, those with chronic illnesses, and pregnant people must be careful. All you need to do is give a polite response. Just RSVP a definite “no” before the deadline, as Zola recommends. Including an explanation is optional – you must exercise your best judgment.

After you’ve expressed your regrets, be sure to send the happy couple a gift from their registry. If you’d rather give them money, Wedding Wire’s Allyson Johnson suggests gifting no less than $50. Contribute to their cash registry, or if they don’t have one, send it via PayPal, CashApp, Venmo, or another money transfer app.

Giving and Receiving Wedding Gifts

With postponed events, finances, and concerns about flattening the curve, COVID-19 has also impacted how we do wedding gifts. Wedding Wire’s Kim Forrest assures couples that they can still create registries. Remember to keep them updated and offer options for cash-strapped friends and family. Guests don’t need to forgo giving presents, but Forrest offers some more useful advice:

  • For postponed weddings, send your gift near the original date.
  • Don’t ask for your gift back if the wedding is canceled.
  • Send gifts if you’re attending a virtual wedding.

What if you were invited to the original wedding, but the couple downsized and threw a minimony instead? You should still send a gift, Forrest advises. The couple would love to have you there, but they’re looking out for your health and safety.

Dealing With Guests Who Won’t Mask Up

What if you’re hosting a (socially distanced) wedding? Let’s assume your event has 10 guests or fewer, or if your local jurisdiction allows it, a microwedding with a somewhat larger guest count. You’ve asked everybody to mask up, but a couple of guests start pushing back. They may be misinformed or they’re objecting on political grounds. So, what do you do?

Public health expert Claire Hooker suggests keeping conversations respectful with non-masking guests. Some of the pushback comes from fear, anger, or anxiety. It’s easy to feel as if one’s losing control in this environment. That’s why compassion and empathy are key: Adopt a non-judgmental tone and don’t demonize the other person.

Your choice of wording is entirely up to you. Meanwhile, make sure you have a supply of disposable masks and hand sanitizer. Your venue should also offer plenty of restroom access for handwashing, adds Wedding Wire’s Samantha Iacia. Should you need to ask a guest to leave, The Bride Link suggests having a trusted person handle it, such as your wedding planner, honor attendant, or security personnel. You could also ask this person to come with you and confront the errant guest together. Stay calm, keep a respectful tone, and be firm on your stance.  

Planning a Safe and Memorable Wedding

COVID-19 dealt us a major blow. Life goes on, albeit changed in many ways. Whether you’re hosting or attending a wedding, it’s important to think about everyone’s safety. Social customs and etiquette are flexible enough to accommodate our new realities. But no matter what you do, remember to observe physical distancing. Wear a mask, wash your hands frequently, and stay home if you feel ill. These practices can help keep you and your loved ones healthy.

Category: Wedding Planning

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