With the entire world reeling from the Covid 19 pandemic that started a year ago, many people from all over the world were unable to be with their loved ones due to social distancing needs. Fortunately, with corona virus vaccinations starting up in various countries all over the world, there is a ray of hope that within the year everything will go back to how it was before.
Can wedding guests be required to be vaccinated against COVID-19? Yes you can. However, you need to be aware that not all of the guests will want or be able to get vaccinated before the wedding.
It is going to be difficult to have everything go as you may have planned. It is important to note that there might be obstacles in your way. With a better understanding of all the options you have as well as of the vaccine and its limitations, you might be able to overcome most of the obstacles that come your way.
Can wedding guests be required to be vaccinated?
If they can get vaccinated, then yes you should encourage them to do so. One of the most difficult things about weddings is the sheer amount of planning and effort it takes to get it done properly. With the pandemic, many people have had to postpone their wedding plans by a year and even now, vaccinations are only starting up in many places. Postponing the wedding a third time might be extremely difficult for a lot of people and therefore one has to make the most of the options available and compromise.
There are many different aspects to consider here.
- All guests might not be prepared to take it – The Covid-19 vaccine, while being harmless to the overwhelming majority of people, can still have adverse consequences on a few. So everyone might not be prepared to take the vaccine right now, even if all the clinical trials were successful and completed. While many mock those who might not want to take the vaccine right away, you should try to understand their position better. Some people might wait for a few months more until more people have been vaccinated before doing it themselves. If any of your guests are hesitant about it, you can either ask them to join the wedding digitally through a video call or take every precaution.
- Not everyone can take it – Some states may start the vaccination rounds later than others and so some of your guests may not be able to take it in time for the wedding. By the current estimates, most of the country will get vaccinated only by the middle of the year due to the shortage of doses. The vaccinations became ready for the public only some time ago after all. So if some of your loved ones are in states where they might not be able to take the vaccine in time, you will have to adapt by planning with all precautions for their visit. Each state will have a plan for vaccinations and so do visit their websites to get more information.
- Vaccination takes time to work – The vaccine isn’t a magic potion that will instantly work. You require two doses weeks apart from one another. After the second dose, it will take two weeks or more for its effects to kick in. So when you ask your guests to take vaccinations, do so at least two months before the wedding date. This will give them enough time to not only take the vaccine but also raise their immunity against the virus.
- Social distancing will still be required – If you are planning to have your wedding in 2021, then even if most of your guests are vaccinated, it is still important to maintain social distancing. So do make sure that the number of people you invite won’t be too high according to space in the venue. Even if some vaccines have a 95 percent effectiveness, we still need to be careful until the majority of the world develops herd immunity and that will take at least a year. So make sure that the seating is spread out and that the entire area is properly sanitized.
- Digital weddings – You can plan your wedding in such a way that those who got vaccinated can come to the venue whereas those who couldn’t, can experience it through a video call. This will allow all your loved ones to be at your wedding in one way or the other. It’s not an ideal solution but given the situation, it is a safe one. This won’t be simple either as some of your guests might feel offended that they aren’t allowed to come to your wedding but most of them will surely understand. If possible, you can plan a small event later on for all the guests who couldn’t make it earlier.
Some things to consider when planning your wedding
Here are a few tips on making sure that you have a safe environment on your wedding day.
- As vaccines are only getting rolled out now to the public, plan your wedding for a late 2021 date if you want to have most of your guests vaccinated. By then, there should be enough time for anyone in the country to get their vaccines.
- Even if all or majority of your guests have taken vaccinations, you still need to maintain social distancing as much as you can. It takes only one person with the virus to infect multiple people.
- Wearing a mask while the ceremony is going on or while you are walking down the aisle might not be what you want. As long as social distancing is maintained between both of you and your guests, you don’t have to wear one.
- Make sure that all groups of seats are spaced out properly. You can plan the seats in such a way that only a family or group will take up one table. This way, they can also take off their masks and comfortably enjoy the wedding.
- Every dish, spoon and utensils have to be properly sanitized preferably with boiling water to make sure your guests can use it without getting infected.
- Talk to your vendor and make sure that all of their employees will act responsibly and safely. It’s not only for your sake but for theirs as well.
- With the pandemic, a wedding might feel more stressful but make sure you don’t lash out at those who are around you. It’s a difficult time for them as well.
- If you want to share any specific rules regarding vaccination with your guests, please do so months in advance so that they can plan accordingly. Do remember that after you get your first dose, it still takes time for the vaccine to kick in. So never plan your wedding on the day or week after your vaccination date. Put at least a month in between.
Few things you need to know about the vaccine rollout so far
Although this might be a little early to get all the information we need, here are a few things you need to know about the vaccine rollout so far.
- About 1.9 million doses of vaccines are being administered each day. So far more than 50 million people have received their first dose whereas more than 25 million people have finished their second dosage. Here is a handy link to see how many people have been vaccinated in each state.
- In the future, traveling to other places may require documentation of vaccination. So if you are planning for a wedding in a different country, do keep this in mind before you set anything in stone.
- The Covid vaccines are all safe and therefore must not be ignored due to any fear. No vaccine will ever be released to the public if it doesn’t meet all the health and safety requirements. Side effects will be there of course but they are there only because your body will be fighting the infection. If you have any apprehension, do go through this useful link.
Can a vendor require a COVID vaccine from you?
Yes, they can but the same exceptions maintained above will need to be put in place. There will be some who will be adamant that you take the Covid vaccine to avail their service but generally you won’t find much resistance. With lockdowns and slow business for pretty much a full year, most of the vendors will be more than happy to get your business. However, if you can get vaccinated, you must do so to keep everyone around you safe and healthy. If the state you live in won’t start mass vaccinations before your wedding, you can either postpone the wedding till late 2021 or you can find a vendor who will be ok offering their services.
Can a vendor require a COVID vaccine from his workers?
Yes, they can as long as they also have policies set in place for exceptions and are important for the business. Some people won’t be able to take the vaccine due to disabilities, availability of vaccination in their area. Some don’t take vaccinations due to religious beliefs too and while it may not seem like a logical choice, you cannot force someone to get vaccinated. Medical beliefs in the vaccine, however, are exempt from this though so there is no need to exempt someone because they simply don’t believe in medicine or science. Wedding vendors in particular need to be very careful with their employees and almost all of them have to be in contact with other people while doing their jobs.
Does getting the COVID vaccine mean you won’t get Covid?
This is a very common misconception about the Covid vaccine. Many people think that getting vaccinated means they will never get the virus. However, this is not true. Vaccination can only raise the immunity of your body to fight off infections. It cannot prevent the virus from entering your body. Even if you got two doses of the vaccine, you will still get infected. The severity of the symptoms will be very less and the majority of people will be able to fight the virus and win. So while vaccinations cannot guarantee you won’t get sick, it is the best option available to ensure that the entire world won’t enter into one more lockdown.
Do you need to pay for your guests to get vaccinated?
No, you don’t. It is almost silly to assume that you have to be financially responsible for all your guests to attend your wedding. It is important to note that the while vaccine itself is free, there will be administration charges attached to it.
Can a COVID vaccine infect me with the virus?
No, it won’t. None of the vaccines come with the virus and therefore cannot infect you with it in any way whatsoever. You may however experience a few symptoms such as pain and swelling where you received the dose. You may also develop fever, chills, headache, or tiredness but it will be mostly due to your body fighting an infection you may have inside. You do not need to be worried about these side effects as they should go away in a few days. If they do not, please consult your doctor to get the treatment.
Header photo by © Ivan Diaz / Unsplash