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How to talk about COVID-19 wedding ceremony safety without making it weird, for wedding officiants and couples

Published Friday, Nov. 20th, 2020

Illustration by Jessica Levey

Scanning headlines or chatting with friends makes it obvious pretty quickly that everyone has a different take on what adequate social distancing and pandemic safety measures look like in practice. It’s a spectrum, with lots of regional and personal variation, from ‘less concerned’ on one end to ‘very concerned’ on the other, and talking with people on opposite ends of the spectrum can be awkward… to say the least. 


Wedding officiants that want to avoid stumbling into awkward conversations can check in with a couple early to ask about their risk and safety preferences — and what that will look like for them during ceremony planning and the wedding ceremony itself. 



Because everyone interprets risk differently, open communication ensures that the couple and the officiant will be a good match and have the best possible wedding experience.  



Here are a few basic questions to help get the conversation started during early emails or phone exchanges, so that everyone feels heard and understood — and never judged! To ease into it, try “I want to make sure I respect your perspective and comfort on this…”



  • Do you feel comfortable meeting in-person to plan the ceremony, or would you prefer to use another method such as Zoom, Skype, FaceTime, or phone calls?


  • Would you like me to wear a mask during any in-person planning meetings? Do you plan to wear a mask during in-person meetings?


  • Would you like me to wear a mask during the wedding ceremony? Are you or your guests planning to wear masks?


  • Is there anything else I can do or any questions I can answer to help you feel more comfortable?


For more tips on how to improve communication between officiants and couples, read Couples: How to Work Best With Your Wedding Officiant. To learn how to practice physical distancing while getting to know a couple and plan their wedding ceremony, read Safe Ceremony Planning — How Wedding Officiants Can Get to Know a Couple While Social Distancing


Read our Fall 2020 AMM COVID-19 Wedding Officiant Survey Report to learn more about how the role of wedding officiant and ceremony planning continues to change as we move into next year. 



Jessica Levey
Jessica Levey

Lead Staff Writer & Illustrator

Jessica loves exploring the history and magic of ritual, the connections between people and places, and sharing true stories about love and commitment. She's an advocate for marriage equality, LGBTQ+ rights, and individuality, and is an ordained Minister with AMM. When she’s not writing or illustrating for AMM, she enjoys city hikes, fantasy novels, comics, and traveling.

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