Many couples have contacted me asking what the COVID-19 pandemic wedding protocols are as they plan their weddings for later this year. Furthermore, I have spoken to numerous wedding vendors in the New York and New Jersey area who are wondering what the restrictions are as well.
First of all, 2020 took us all by surprise, couples planning their weddings and wedding vendors included. We all had to adjust to a new normal. That might mean rethinking how a wedding would be celebrated or whether it might be downsized.
Now that we are in 2021, things are starting to take a somewhat clearer shape.
You can find specific New York and New Jersey pandemic wedding restrictions further down in this post, but here are a few best practices to follow when planning your wedding:
Communicate Your Protocols to Your Guests
Whatever you decide to do, be sure to communicate it to your guests BEFORE the wedding date. Include it invitations, if possible, and definitely include it on your wedding website.
Be sure that your wedding day signage supports your established protocols and consider putting an insert in your ceremony program. Make it clear that there are no exceptions to these rules as they are for the safety of everyone involved.
Keep Your Wedding Small
Smaller and more intimate isn’t a bad thing when it comes to weddings. Also, it will mean you can be more flexible if restrictions change when you get closer to your wedding date. Remember, the COVID-19 pandemic is still very fluid and situations can change rapidly.
Make Sure Everyone Gets Tested or Vaccinated
This is a requirement in New York State (within 72 hours prior to the event) and just a good protocol to follow for everyone.
Mandatory Mask Wearing
Make sure everyone is wearing a mask unless they are seated or suitably socially distanced. Be sure to provide masks in case someone forgets theirs at home.
Reduce further COVID-19 risks by reducing travel. It makes sense. You run into less people. Also, if everyone is getting tested before the wedding, you want to limit their exposures after taking the test. That gives you an accurate reading of whether or not they are a carrier.
Take it Outdoors
You eliminate a lot of risks by holding the event outdoors, obviously with the appropriate social distancing in place.
Live Stream Your Event
Make your event available to those who either couldn’t travel or make it to your wedding due to other precautionary measures. Let your family and friends take part in the event no matter where they are.
New York State COVID-19 Pandemic Wedding Protocols / Restrictions / Regulations
These are the current New York State restrictions for weddings:
- Venues are restricted to 50% capacity, with no more than 150 people per event.
- All patrons must be tested within 72 hours prior to the event (or provide proof of completing the vaccination protocol at least 14 days prior to the wedding)
- Sign-in with contact information required to assist with potential contact tracing.
- Venues must register gatherings, in advance, with the local health department if more than 50 people will be in attendance.
- Masks will be required at all times except when seated and eating or drinking.
- Ceremonial and socially-distanced dancing allowed under strict guidelines.
New Jersey COVID-19 Pandemic Wedding Protocols / Restrictions / Regulations
- Masks are required for all indoor areas (except when eating or drinking) and outdoors where social distancing is difficult to maintain
- Outdoor wedding ceremonies do not have an attendance limit.
- Outdoor wedding receptions are limited to 150 people (not including venue staff) and requires social distancing.
- Indoor wedding ceremonies that involve a religious service, must be limited to 50 percent of a room’s capacity.
- Indoor wedding ceremonies that do not involve a religious service must be limited to 35 percent of a room’s capacity, but no more than 150 individuals.
- Wedding receptions held indoors are limited to 35 percent of room’s capacity, but no more 150 people, not including staff of the venue.
Current information for New Jersey wedding restrictions/regulations can be found here.
Hope on the Horizon
I hope that normal times will return soon enough and we can get back to celebrating these amazing moments like we used to. In the meantime, there’s nothing wrong with smaller celebrations, especially when they keep those we love safe.
Feel free to get in touch with me if you have any questions: