After many delays, it is finally time to start putting together your wedding day seating arrangements. One problem is the unvaccinated guest to your wedding. This is arguably the most controversial topic in weddings and some couples will need to address it directly if they are planning on marrying in 2021.
You’ve invited them because they are a friend or family member. There are two options: you could have guests who believe that vaccinations are vital to saving lives, or you could invite people who are hesitant about getting vaccinated. This is especially true if your guests are immunocompromised, or younger than 12. How can you avoid an unplanned wedding disaster?
Talk to your loved ones
In any conflict, the first thing to ask is “Why?” “Many couples must consider the health of their older relatives and immunocompromised loved ones. Dr. Bhuyan says that there are many reasons someone might be reluctant to receive the vaccine. Listening is the first thing I recommend. Is there anything your friends or family are concerned about regarding vaccines? Are there myths or misinformation they believe?
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Vanessa Ohayon, event planner at Vanessa Events & Hospitality, says that “Whatever you do you are speaking with people you love about celebrating your love day.” “Move forward gracefully from a place full of love.” You can work together towards a solution by opening up dialogue without having to assert your beliefs.
Please share Why Vaccine Information is Important for Your Wedding
Although it might seem like an intrusive question, it is still acceptable to ask guests for their vaccination status, even if they are not required to do so on your wedding day. Dr. Bhuyan explains that the level of protection couples need to take in wedding planning depends on their guests’ vaccination status. If all of your guests have been vaccinated, you need only take minimal precautions. Even if you don’t require vaccinations for your wedding, it is important to provide PPE and other precautions.
Even if you do not plan on requiring vaccinations, you should mitigate the risk and consider your comfort level and seating arrangement. Dr. Bhuyan states that COVID precautions should be taken if there is a mix of unvaccinated and vaccinated guests. To minimize transmission risk, this may require that the wedding be held outdoors. Physical distancing of guests and tables should be included. People who are not vaccinated should continue to wear masks if they are with large groups. Another consideration is the size of your guestlist.
Be a leader with facts, even if they come from a third party
Consider referring your loved one to a specialist if they are unsure or concerned about the vaccine. This might be suggesting that they speak to their primary care provider. Dr. Bhuyan suggests another approach: sharing objective, evidence-based information. “The vaccines have unnecessarily become political, but just being able to connect with someone is the best way to overcome misinformation.”
Describe How Your Vaccine Hesitancy Can Make You Feel
It’s time for you to talk to your guests if they refuse to get vaccinated prior to your wedding. Dr. Bhuyan says, “Respond to facts but also share your position and feelings.” “[Or, you could also share] what it means that your family will be able attend your wedding safely.” You might also want to share how important it would be for this guest to attend your wedding.
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If applicable, have backup plans ready
Extra precautions should be taken if you decide that it is okay to allow unvaccinated family members to attend your wedding. Ohayon says that you may be able to meet your guests halfway through extra PCR testing and social distancing layouts. Some couples provide rapid testing before their wedding receptions. Some couples require proof of a negative COVID testing before guests can enter the nuptials.
However, if you don’t want all your guests to get vaccinated, there are other options. One is to offer a hybrid event, which includes streaming the wedding online and giving experiential boxes to people who are watching from far away. Ohayon says, “Create an interactive online experience for guests so they can attend from their homes.”
As a couple, make a united decision
Your wedding day is yours, so your rules will apply. Dr. Bhuyan notes that it is the right choice for couples to ask that their guests be vaccinated.
Ohayon adds, “It’s impossible for everyone to please.” Ohayon says that couples must be true to their values and themselves. It’s perfectly acceptable to refuse guests. You could also be putting another person at risk. It is easier to celebrate joy and celebration in a safe space.