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Roll Out The Barrel: Washington State Loosens Wedding Reception Rules!

Published Thursday, Oct. 8th, 2020

Jay Inslee, Photo by Gage Skidmore

While we don’t normally get this granular here on the blog, an email from Washington State Governor Jay Inslee informing us that restrictions on wedding celebrations had been loosened is cause for celebration. And a blog post. We're a Seattle-based organization, and so while we are following weddings on a national level, we're also particularly eager to get out into our own neighborhood and start throwing rice and tearing up the dancefloor again. It’s also a chance to highlight some of our more detailed guidance that we’ve published about how to safely celebrate weddings during a pandemic. 


But first, the good news: In an email sent out to businesses this morning, Inslee announces that effective October 5th, “Wedding Receptions and Funerals - capacity extended to 50 people in Phase 3, alcohol service and receptions can now go until 11 p.m.” 


The Less good news is that there are plenty of restrictions still in place. For example, rehearsal dinners are prohibited. So while it’s a step towards normalization, we’ve still got a long way to go.


Here’s a Summary of October 5 changes:


• Wedding receptions in Phase 3 counties can now have up to 50 people.


• Alcohol service, delivery, and consumption requirements changed to mirror the current restaurant restrictions.


The following requirements apply to all wedding ceremonies, wedding receptions and funerals (religious or nonreligious) wherever they are held indoors or outdoors, including but not limited to, those held at all privately owned property, business establishments, nonprofit establishments, establishments owned by religious or faith based organizations and publicly owned property (such as parks, beaches, or venues).


Weddings do not include engagement parties, bridal/groom/couples’ showers, bachelorette/bachelor parties, or rehearsal dinners. 


One-hour wedding ceremony rehearsals are permitted in advance of the wedding day to practice the ceremony as well as to practice and review the COVID-19 safety plans of the venue and other vendors. Rehearsals shall be limited to the couple and their wedding party, the couple’s parents, the officiant, and any necessary vendors. Face coverings are required at all times during the rehearsal. 

Rehearsal dinners are prohibited.


For the full text of the updated rules, click here.


Anyway, now that we’re scaling up our weddings again (slowly and carefully) here are some great articles that we’ve published over the last year that touch on the matter.



Butt-bumps and gift baskets, 6 ways friends and family can keep their distance while showering a newly-wed couple with love


Illustrations by Jessica Levey



7 Tips for a Stress-Free & Socially Distanced Wedding Ceremony




Safe Ceremony Planning — How Wedding Officiants Can Still Get to Know a Couple, While Social Distancing




From Seasonal Masks to Extra Mics, 5 Things Officiants Can Do Right Now to Prepare for Fall & Winter Wedding Ceremonies


Illustrations by Jessica Levey



Lewis King
Lewis King

Staff Writer

Lewis loves exploring the space between power, discourse, and material reality where institutions like marriage are defined. He also wears other hats at AMM, like taking out the recycling and restocking the sparkling water.

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