**Updated March 30, 2021**
Hi y'all, and happy 2021! This has already been a wild year, but I wanted y'all to know that the Ultimate Guide to COVID Weddings in Seattle is LIVE! I wrote this guide with the hope that it would make your life a little easier in 2021. If you are still planning your COVID wedding in Seattle, you have tons of options for making your day an unforgettable triumph. It is a big read, so I'm featuring a bite-sized section over here on the blog each week. This week, I would like to tell you all about COVID wedding guidance, where to find it, how to find it, and what to do if you have questions. Let's go!
First, you should know that the COVID wedding guidance for Washington state (and Seattle) changes regularly. If you just want to know when the rules are changing, you can always follow us on Instagram. We regularly post these changes for our clients, because locating the guidance can be difficult unless you are following the situation closely. As tired as we all are of quarantine life, it’s helpful to remember that these restrictions are intended to save lives. Our healthcare workers are burnt out, our health facilities are strained, and cases are continuing to rise. Keeping the big picture in mind might help you feel better about navigating all of this!
If you want to stay on top of this yourself, you should go directly to the source, which is the Governor’s office. You can typically find all of the new rules and COVID wedding guidance where the press releases are listed. Of course, they often do not mention “weddings” explicitly, so look for anything discussing restrictions or proclamations. The most recent Washington wedding guidance was released on March 23, 2021 when we entered Phase 3. This time, it was hidden in a list of reopening guidance for businesses and workers. We'd love for there to be a dedicated webpage for our industry, but that's okay - the PDF linked here is super clear.
The COVID guidance for weddings and funerals is all self-contained in this handy PDF. You'll notice that it includes all of the guidance for Phases 1, 2, and 3 in one place. For Phase 3 (which we are currently in), the guidance is separated out for indoor and outdoor weddings.
For indoor weddings, here are the new details you need to know:
- Indoor ceremonies and receptions are now allowed. (YAY!)
- The maximum capacity for indoor weddings is 400 people or 50% capacity, whichever is less. This does not include your vendors.
- A maximum of 10 people can sit together at tables.
For outdoor weddings, here are the new details you need to know:
- Outdoor ceremonies and receptions are now allowed. (YAY!)
- The maximum capacity for outdoor weddings is 400 people, as long as 6 feet of physical distancing can be maintained between groups. This does not include your vendors.
- A maximum of 15 people can sit together at tables.
FOR ALL PHASE 3 WEDDINGS
- Music and live entertainment are now allowed. (YAY!)
- Six feet of physical distancing must be maintained between groups.
- Everyone attending must be wearing a mask.
- If food or drink are served, additional rules apply. Guests must be masked when not eating or drinking. Other rules, like how to serve food, table spacing, etc. would be handled by your wedding planner, venue, and caterer.
- Dancing is allowed, but limited. Indoors, this means that 10 people from the same group can be on the dance floor at the same time, so long as they are masked and maintaining 6 feet of distance.
- The couple's first dances and parent dances are also allowed, but only one pair can dance at a time, and the dancers must be wearing masks unless they are from the same household. They also have to maintain 6 feet of distance from other folks while dancing.
Other requirements that your venue and planner will manage include things like physical distancing, having plenty of hand sanitizer available, wearing masks indoors, etc. (You know, the new normal.) Your planner will know how to incorporate all of this into your wedding day!
We wedding pros have been reading between the lines like this for over a year! So, if you ever have doubts, ask your wedding planner, or one of your vendor team. We are all trying our best to navigate these new rules, and have sought clarification from the governor’s office more than once. If we don’t know the answer, we will find out for you!
We want to highlight here that for the most part, wedding ceremonies have so far been unaffected by COVID-19 in Seattle. You can still get married to the love of your life! It’s just the receptions that have been restricted, due to large gatherings of people. In 2020, we have seen receptions banned outright, restrictions on catering setups, and scrambling to re-do seating charts and sanitization stations. Weddings this year have needed to evolve to include masked attendees, 6-foot spacing, plated dinners instead of buffets, extra hand sanitizer all around the venue, signage, and more. But if you are planning a small COVID wedding in Seattle, rest easy - you will still be able to marry the love of your life! You may have to trim your guest count or tweak your reception, but you can still tie the knot and celebrate wedded bliss.
So how do you get there? Next week, we will talk about the different types of COVID weddings in Seattle so you can weigh the best options for you and your loved ones! If you are ready to read more right now, you can head on over to the full COVID wedding guide for Seattle. You can also download a free PDF copy below.
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If you have other questions about COVID wedding guidance, or other ways we can help, let us know in the comments below! And we would love for you to share this free resource with others - we hope it helps!