COVID Related Wedding Questions
How many guests can I have at my wedding?
The guest count is dependent on the mass gathering amount for your region. Per NYS Liquor Authority, weddings are considered mass gatherings. In Phase 4 Regions, the guest count cannot exceed the 50 persons maximum guidelines or 50% capacity if 50% is less than 50 persons.
Phase 3 regions, cannot exceed 25 guests.
Phase 2 regions, cannot exceed 10 guests.
A wedding would be considered as one mass gathering event. This means it is a 50 person total guest count, it does not mean 50 guests can be inside and 50 guests can be outside in Phase 4 regions.
At this time, staff and hired professionals do not count towards your guest count.
If your ceremony is to take place within a religious building, your guest count cannot exceed 33% of capacity or 50 guests whichever is lower, in Phase 4 regions.
Phase 2 and 3 regions, no more than 25% capacity or no more than 25 people whichever is less.
Can I still have my hair and makeup done?
Yes! You can still get your hair and makeup done.
Can we have dancing at our wedding?
Per NYS Liquor Authority, there cannot be dancing or dance floors.
You may have a First Dance and Parent Dances, but all guests would have to remain seated and the dances cannot take place within 12 feet of a guest table. Guests should be standing only for necessary reasons such as use of restrooms, entering, and exiting. (This is done by acting as if special dances are a performance or live entertainment, both of those require 12 ft distance to take place)
Can we still have a band or DJ?
Yes, you can still have live entertainment. Performers should be at least 12 feet from guest.
How many guest can sit at a table?
You can only have a maximum of 10 people per table. Each table must be 6ft from the other tables. It is recommended, the seating is by household.
Does it matter if my wedding is inside or outside?
No, the same guidelines apply whether your event is inside or outside. Please remember the guest count, accounts for all your guests onsite, it does not matter whether guests are inside, and others are outside. It is the total count of guests on the property.
You cannot exceed the social gathering counts for your region.
How will these guidelines be enforced?
If you are using a licensed vendor, they all have a license at stake. If they are found to have been working at an event or providing services that go against the guidelines, they face a $10,000 fine per occurrence.
Catering Companies- Must submit a request for a liquor license when they provide offsite liquor or bar services, this is one way the guidelines will be enforced. The SLA (State Liquor Authority) can show up at any point during your wedding to monitor the event and make sure guidelines are being followed.
Social Media- Your wedding will be heavily photographer, whether by your friends/family or a hired professional. These images can be tracked and any of those who participated in an event that does not follow the guidelines can be fined.
Personal Liability - If you are holding an event on your private property which does not follow social distancing protocols or COVID guidelines, you can also be fined.
Do we have to wear a mask?
During your ceremony, you do not have to wear a mask if you will be socially distanced from your bridal party and officiant. If you are not wearing a mask, your bridal party must be 6 ft away from you.
During ceremony, guests do not have to wear a mask if they are seated and the seating is socially distanced.
While transitioning from ceremony to cocktail hour, your guest must wear their masks. Once your guest finds their seat for the evening, they may remove their mask while sitting. If they get up from their seat, they must put their mask back on.
"Effective at 8 p.m. on Friday, April 17, 2020 any individual who is over age two and able to medically tolerate a face-covering shall be required to cover their nose and mouth with a mask or cloth face-covering when in a public place and unable to maintain, or when not maintaining, social distance."
If you are able to maintain a social distancing, a mask is not required.
Can we still have a buffet?
Yes, you can have a buffet!
Guests cannot serve themselves; this mean you must have servers who will serve your guests. Guests are NOT allowed to touch serving utensils. There must be 6 ft social distancing between those in line at the buffet, there also must be a table between the servers and the guest waiting in line, servers must stand in front of the buffet table.
Once a guest approaches the table, the server will retrieve a plate from the location behind them, take the order of the guest, place the items on the table and will place the plate on the table in front of them for the guest to pick up. The plate is not to be directly handed to the guest to reduce contact.
Can we have a cocktail hour?
Yes, but it will not look or feel like a normal cocktail hour. There is to be no mingle or standing. Guests should be standing only for necessary reasons such as use of restrooms, entering, and exiting. If you have high-top tables, they must have seating at them, as there is no standing. If the guests seated at the high-top move to another location, the high-top and chairs must be disinfected before another person can have a seat.
There are not to be any stationary food or beverage stations, all food/drink must be passed or served buffet style. All food is to be given to the guest by a server, guests are not allowed to pick up the food/drink on their own.
As of 7/16/2020, guests will not be able to walk up to the bar and order their beverages.
Can we have lawn games?
Unfortunately, No. Lawn games are not currently allowed.
Can we have a photobooth?
Yes, but it will not be a normal photobooth. Guest must be masked within the photobooth and there are no props allowed.
Can we use glassware and have favors?
Glassware cannot be reused. It is recommended to use plasticware, as it can be thrown away or recycled. Mason jars and glasses given as favors or "Your glass for the night" can no longer exist. If you wish to do these as favors, they will need to be given at the end of the night or guests will need to be told to not use them for their drinks.
Koozies or anything that to be reused during the night is prohibited. Since koozies are meant to go from one can to another, they cannot be used during the wedding. Please give these items out at the end of the night as a parting gift.
Can we visit our guests at their tables?
No, there is no mingling or moving/visiting other tables. You and your guests should be standing only for necessary reasons such as use of restrooms, entering, and exiting.
Can we have a guestbook and place cards?
No, you cannot have a guestbook or place cards. Anything which multiple guests will touch is prohibited. You can have an escort board or seating chart.
What will our hired professionals do differently?
All your hired professionals will be masked for the entirety of your wedding.
Catering - All servers will wear a mask and gloves for the entirety of your wedding. All silverware will be wrapped either in plastic or a napkin so air cannot touch the utensils.
Photographers- There is a chance the grouping of your photos will be smaller and limited to immediate family only. This is a great opportunity to speak with them about how they will be addressing this and the guidelines they will be following.
Makeup Artists- Will not be able to provide any makeup services in which you need to remove your masks. Reach out to them and find out other options.
What precautions do we need to take?
There will need to be signage regarding COVID regulations and social distancing guidelines. Also, 6 ft social distancing markers will need to be placed on the ground at buffets and bathrooms. This is typically be handled by your venue or catering company. Be sure to speak with them regarding this.
When were these answers updated and where did you get this information?
All of the answers are up to date and as accurate as possible as of 7/29/2020.
Will my guests need to self-quarantine?
If you guests are traveling from the below states, they will need to self-quarantine for 14 days upon arrival to New York.
Can we have a bar?
Yes, but it will not look or feel like a normal bar. Per NYS regulation, guests will not be able to walk up to the bar to get their drinks. They will need to have a server or bartender take their order and bring their order to them.
"The Governor also announced that all restaurants and bars statewide will be subject to new requirements that they must only serve alcohol to people who are ordering and eating food and that all service at bar tops must only be for seated patrons who are socially distanced by six feet or separated by physical barriers." (7/16/2020)
Do we need to do contact tracing for our guests?
While contact tracing is not mandatory at this point, it is something we would highly recommend doing. It will make it easier should someone become sick or test positive.
Here is a suggestion of something you could include in your invitation or on your wedding website, just to cover yourself and be pro-active:
We hope our wedding day will go as originally planned, if we must change things, we have decided that love wins, and we will not be postponing our wedding. Shall our plans change, we may find ourselves in situation where we must limit the number of guests in attendance and hope if this is the case, you will understand. If we need to reduce the number of guests, attendees will likely be limited to our immediate family and wedding party. If this is the case, it may be short notice and for this reason we request you RSVP with an email address and cell phone number to accommodate immediate notification of a change in our plans. We understand regulations, may influence your attendance at our wedding or your travel plans. Regardless of attendance, you are important to us and have touched our lives in a special way. As New York progresses through the phases of pandemic recovery, we are hopeful that our plans will remain unchanged and you will be able to join us on ________________. Wishing you remain safe and healthy!
*I would also include lines on your RSVP cards or website for both email and cell phone numbers of the guest so a master list can be compiled. This will be utilized for both guest count reduction (if needed) as well as a record for the D.O.H. should contact tracing be needed.