With Covid-19 still present and vaccinations in full force, the term “vaccine etiquette” has become rather commonplace among those planning a wedding or any other special event.
What does vaccine etiquette refer to? Basically, it’s what you should or shouldn’t ask, and how to act around those who have or have not been vaccinated. Although vaccinations are now available to most of the general public, one cannot assume that everyone has had it or even wants to get it at all. This may cause a number of issues when planning a large gathering, especially if you have local regulations that must be abided by. Here’s all you need to know about how to address vaccination topics in regard to your special day.
Can you require all your wedding guests to get vaccinated? Yes, if it’s required by local regulations, and yes, if you feel that it will make you or your guests safer. Nobody can stop you from requiring your guests to be vaccinated, however, be prepared for some backlash from those who either can’t or choose not to get vaccinated. Instead, it may be better to offer an alternative, such as a PCR test 48-hours prior to the event. If you really want everyone on your guest list to attend, it’s better to offer both options.
Don’t Forget About the Vendors
If you are requiring everyone at your event to be vaccinated, then you need to address this topic with your wedding vendors ahead of your booking. Once you sign the contract, there is no legal requirement for them to get the vaccine and if you cancel because of it, you’ll have to deal with the required fees. But, again, as an alternative you can potentially request a PCR test, ideally also before you sign the vendor contract.
As unglamorous as it is, if you’re requiring that all guests have the vaccine, you need to make that quite clear on your wedding invitation. You may want to include an additional “health card” or add on a few lines to your RSVP card which will allow guests to state whether they’re vaccinated or if they are opting to take a PCR test instead. There are numerous reasons why someone may not have had a vaccine, and asking specific questions may come off as prying, so tread lightly if someone declines your invitation. It is not your right to know of someone’s vaccination status just because you want them to partake in your special day.
If you choose to have masks at your wedding, either require them for all guests or make them optional for everyone. It’s not a good idea to require non-vaccinated guests to wear masks while allowing those who have had it to do as they please. This situation can cause a clear divide between your guests and invite judgement, which will likely not create the celebratory environment you want at your wedding.
As with masks, it’s not a good idea to create a segregated environment with seating at your wedding between vaccinated guests and unvaccinated guests. Also, it makes very little sense since most likely everyone will be interacting with the other group at some point or another. Instead, many experts suggest that you seat people alongside those they’re familiar with or comfortable sitting next to, such as family members, and leave the open interaction for the rest of the reception. It may also be a good idea to have open seating, so that people can decide for themselves who they interact with, while having smaller tables so that social distancing is possible.
Conversations Over COVID
Lastly, many wedding experts believe it’s wise to keep all coronavirus-related conversations off the menu during any event, much like with religion and politics. The topic is still far too heated and best avoided during special events. Some even advise that it’s a good idea to include a phrase such as, “Please avoid all COVID-19 and vaccination-related topics during the event,” on your invitation or wedding website.