AMERICAN WEDDINGS BLOG
Published: Monday, Apr. 26th, 2021
In news that makes us want to jump for joy and dance in the streets, more than 50% of US adults have received at least one COVID-19 vaccine shot! This is exciting news, and it comes just in time for all the summer wedding ceremonies, receptions, pot lucks, and parties we’ve been looking forward to for months.
Still, we’re not out of the woods yet, with variants gaining speed and case numbers still hovering far too high. Wedding officiants and couples alike have questions about what’s allowed now, what precautions are still needed, and what wedding trends will look like over the next few months. As more adults (and children) are vaccinated, many things will return to normal, but others might never go back to the way they were.
Ceremonies, receptions, bachlor and bachlorette parties, and other celebrations
will hopefully become easier to plan over the coming months.
Some couples may prefer to work with wedding officiants and other vendors who are partially or fully vaccinated. They may even ask to see your vaccination card, or a printed or digital copy of your vaccination record, showing that you’ve received one or both shots of the vaccine.
In these cases, it’s important to answer honestly!
If you’ve been partially or fully vaccinated, let the couple know this, as well as the date of your last shot. If you’ve chosen not to receive the vaccine, or haven’t been able to receive it yet, let the couple know this upfront. This goes for anyone on your team that might be present at their wedding, helping with the event. You’ll save everyone time by being direct, and you and the couple can discuss their ceremony options in regard to safety and levels of personal comfort. If you’re able to, you might choose to recommend another officiant who is fully vaccinated.
Because vaccine distribution is happening differently in each state, it’s likely that not every wedding guest will be fully vaccinated. It’s ok to talk to your couple about this directly, to discuss your safety options.
Some couples are offering colored-coded wristbands to guests to communicate their comfort levels with social distancing. Others are choosing indoor ceremonies with outdoor receptions, to reduce the risk of infection.
Whatever your couple has planned, be sure to discuss each party’s expectations and concerns in an upfront and respectful way, and ensure everyone is on the same page when it comes to safety.
The CDC recently updated the travel safety guidelines for fully vaccinated Americans. This means that couples who were waiting to travel will be back in the air in no time!
If you’ll be traveling to officiate (or attend) a wedding, be sure to check the CDC’s recommendations for your trip, as well as the specific guidelines in the state you’ll be traveling to. If you’re fully vaccinated (2 weeks from your first Johnson & Johnson shot, or 2 weeks from your second Pfizer or Moderna shot), you probably won’t need to take a COVID test before or after flying (or need to quarantine) unless required by a specific state or specific wedding venue.
For international travel, check with the guidelines in your destination country. Some governments are only allowing travel from specific regions, and others require proof of vaccination to enter.
So far, no airlines are requiring vaccines for domestic or international flights (but some governments might). That might change in the future, so check with your airline directly prior to booking your flight.
You might have heard about something called a ‘vaccine passport.’ And no matter what source you get your information from, there’s a good chance it will come with a strong opinion, either for or against them -- vaccine passports are a hotly debated issue right now.
Vaccine ‘passports’ are proof of vaccination, which some businesses, states, and countries are considering requiring as a condition for entry. The general goal of this ‘passport’ is to further limit the spread of coronavirus, and to offer an additional degree of safety and peace of mind to those who have already been vaccinated as they return to normal day-to-day activities.
Currently, there is no standard documentation used for this purpose, and there are no government laws in the US requiring vaccination. Some travel sectors and businesses are already implementing their own rules, however (read about cruise lines below!).
If you’re hoping to get married on a cruise, or plan to officiate ceremonies on the high seas, a vaccine will likely be required.
So far, American Cruise Lines, American Steamboat Co., and UnCruise Adventures have announced that they will require all passengers to be vaccinated once cruising resumes, but larger cruise lines haven’t released statements one way or another yet. The CDC’s No Sail Order isn’t expected to end until November 1, 2021, so eager couples can expect to know more by that time.
Just as they did during the early months of the pandemic, some officiants are choosing to include COVID or vaccine riders in their contracts.
These additions to your standard contract let couples know what they can expect to happen if either one of you needs to cancel or reschedule the ceremony due to a COVID-related cause. You might also choose to include information on COVID testing leading up to the wedding, or about vaccine requirements (for example, you might choose to only work indoor weddings with couples who are vaccinated).
These additions to your contract let couples know whether or not you’re able to issue a partial or full refund (and under what conditions), if you’re willing to reschedule their event (and how many times), and any other important expectations or financial considerations.
Couples should pay close attention to their contracts too, and research what happens if they have to cancel, and what wedding insurance will and won't cover during Covid.
It’s thrilling to know that more people are getting vaccinated every day, and we know it comes as a huge relief to struggling wedding professionals and couples everywhere. Love keeps winning!