How Will the DELTA Variant Affect My Wedding?
Updated: Sep 1
Just when we all started breathing a sigh of relief after a year of living in fear and isolation, it now feels as if we are in a backslide from our recovery from this COVID-19 pandemic. It’s been more than six months now since mass vaccinations have been underway, yet only 50 percent of the U.S. population is fully vaccinated, per the U.S. Coronavirus Vaccine Tracker. With rippling unease around Delta, couples are again expressing their concerns and considering postponements regarding their upcoming weddings and how to proactively prepare for various outcomes.
And now there’s an even more contagious strain, known as the Delta variant, that’s causing 83% of all cases of the virus in the United States. Previously, a person who contracted the original COVID-19 strain would infect 2.5 other people; however, with the Delta variant, you are likely to transmit COVID-19 to up to four other people making it twice as contagious. For weddings, this poses several issues. Having restrictions finally eased up and having people finally starting to get comfortable with the idea of being in close proximity to others without masks, we now have the added fear of the Delta variant. That said, we highly recommend that you keep an eye on the rate of new COVID-19 infections in your area as you plan your wedding.
Check for Updates From Your County
The same way we followed the group gathering guidelines and mask mandates throughout 2020, each county provides specific instructions for how to address the situation where your wedding is being held. Regularly consult the county website where your event is being held for more details and, of course, keep in touch with your wedding planner as they will continually will be on top of the ever-changing ordinances.
Unfortunately we aren't of the woods and even if everyone at your wedding is vaccinated incorporate reminders for people to use precautions. Providing everyone with fun decorative masks and hand sanitizer stations as well as personalized bottles on the tables are always a smart idea.
Consider Tracking Vaccinations Among Guests
Many of our couples planning weddings this year and beyond have taken the added step of tracking vaccinations among their guests. We always recommend TN Event Health for this service. Their medical team comprised of RNs, LPNs, licensed EMTs and an on site AED may help you not only stop the spread, but also might potentially help save lives.
Consider Asking Guests About Vaccination Status
You and your fiancee will be forced with making an important decision prior to your wedding. Will you require your guests to be fully vaccinated in order to attend? If you are requiring vaccinations and know that some of your guests are hesitant to get vaccinated, we recommend that you reach out to them directly and have an honest, but compassionate, conversation. It will be hard for some guests to feel at ease to relax and enjoy if they know other guests have not been vaccinated, so a level of vaccine diplomacy is essential to ensure that everyone feels comfortable and safe. If you're not requiring full vaccination amongst your guests we suggest that you requesting everyone who isn't vaccinated get a COVID test prior to attending your wedding as this is becoming a pandemic of the unvaccinated. 97% of new hospitalizations are unvaccinated patients. Deaths are even worse with about 99.5% of all COVID-related deaths occurring in those who are unvaccinated.
Provide COVID Tests If Needed
Even if you're fully vaccinated, the United States requires proof of a negative COVID test to return to the states from an international destination. In a similar fashion, some couples are requiring all of their guests and vendors test negative for COVID before entering the venue. With home rapid tests that are now quite reliable and speedy with results (only about 15 minutes wait time), you can still safely host your wedding without concern of the Delta variant being an uninvited guest.
Communicate With Your Guests
Due to the ever changing guidelines and concerns about COVID, we recommend that every couple add a FAQ page to their wedding website. It will allow for you to have an easy answer as well as a go-to resource for those guests who may be texting you with dozens of questions. Provide answers to guests biggest concerns, especially ones regarding the Delta variant. This is also a good place to let guests know what you steps you are taking to keep them safe as well as any potential "wedding day rules" you might have regarding COVID safety precautions.
Be Flexible and Ready to Pivot
More than half of the weddings from 2020 were postponed all the way through to 2022. Couples have dreamt of this day then mourned its passing, then began to dream again. However, incremental changes might be required such as a slight difference in your ceremony setting or a bigger dance floor to allow for more adequate social distancing and wedding masks most likely will resurface. Whatever your event calls for, do yourself a favor by being flexible and open to any pivots that may be necessary. Delta doesn't mean your wedding can't happen; this super contagious variant simply requires understanding and some expert problem solving.
Discuss a Backup Plan With Your Planner and Venue
If the Delta variant is an alarming threat in your area it's very important to keep in touch with your wedding planner and your venue. These pros will offer measures that helped couples and the wedding industry safely throw events in 2020 by mitigating risk. Several examples that we employed were moving indoor ceremonies outdoors for increased natural airflow and adjusting seating layouts at the reception to socially distanced arrangements where each table was seating only with those they were quarantining with. We also recommend TN Event Health's services of COVID testing and vaccination tracking at all events to ensure the safety of all in attendance.The party will go on regardless, especially when you're adequately prepared.
Talk to Your Vendors and Local Health Department
As the virus rapidly mutates, local health departments will alter their rules and recommendations to lower the risk infection. This will affect occupancy, social distancing, the need for masks and more. Be sure your wedding party is up to date with any compliance concerns and be sure to talk to your vendors regarding their safety protocols especially for those involved with catering and bartending.
Livestream the Event for People Who May Not be Able to Attend
Whether or not a guest is vaccinated, it’s important to remember that everyone’s comfort level is different when it comes to public gatherings during a pandemic. Even if you’re not sure how many guests are officially coming or not coming to your wedding, it’s still a good idea to offer a virtual option so that elderly guests or those not comfortable attending an event with a large group can still be a part of your day without feeling like they are at risk in any way.