Understanding Oregon's COVID-19 Guidelines and What They Mean for your Wedding
Updated: 6 days ago
LAST UPDATED: May 5, 2021
Updates To The Blog:
Oregon is seeing a fourth wave of COVID-19 and many counties are moving up in risk.
With some venue and guest list adjustments, we can help you keep your wedding date and adjust for the risk level change. Our biggest tip right now is make sure your guests understand the expectations for your wedding based on the restrictions in the county.
Counties set to move down from Extreme Risk! (Effective May 7)
All counties that were put into Extreme Risk on April 28 are moving down to High Risk on May 7
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How to Plan a Wedding with COVID-19 Restrictions
You're not alone if you're confused on how to plan a wedding under the Oregon COVID-19 guidelines and restrictions. This blog will help you navigate it all.
Because guidelines change often and county risk levels update every 2 weeks, we are doing our best to keep this post updated.
Sadly, Oregon has chosen to not create wedding specific guidelines, which can make planning a wedding in a pandemic much more difficult than it needs to be.
Rest assured, Your Perfect Bridesmaid has been planning weddings throughout the year, so we have become experts when it comes to navigating these guidelines. Additionally, as a founder and Vice President of the Live Events Industry of Oregon (LEIO), a coalition of 4500+ event professionals in Oregon, I have regular meetings and interaction with local and state officials about these guidelines.
Combining all of that information, we've created this blog to summarize what you can and can't do to help you tie the knot with significantly less stress.
Weddings and Changing County Risk Level:
As we are probably all familiar by now, Oregon assigns a "risk level" to each county based on the county's COVID-19 metric trends over a two week period. First, you'll want to determine what wedding will be in, as that county's risk level will determine what you can and can't do.
What is the hardest right now with wedding planning is that counties could change risk level just a week before you wedding date.
The best wedding plan you can have right now is a solid Plan B for the worst-case scenario. We definitely, definitely, definitely recommend having a planner to save you some stress. At Your Perfect Bridesmaid, we are staying on top of any and all updates to COVID-19 restrictions. We can help you:
Build and check your plan to make sure you, your friends and family can celebrate safely (and legally),
Communicate with vendors and make sure you are on the same page with COVID-19 restrictions,
And help you make last minute plans as necessary.
In this next section, we'll help you break down what your wedding will look like under each risk level.
COVID-19 Restrictions for Oregon Weddings
Planning anything in a pandemic is hard. Planning a wedding in a pandemic with no specific wedding guidelines is a whole nother story. We've made it simple, and broken down restrictions as it relates to your wedding.
Because there are no wedding specific guidelines, we had to pull our information from a few different area's of Oregon's re-opening plan. We gathered all this information from the list of documents below:
Sector Risk Level Guidance Chart (activity-specific restrictions for each risk level, updated and effective April 28)
Outdoor Event Guidance (for guest count limits)
Indoor Event Guidance (for guest count limits)
Faith Institution Event Guidance (for guest count limits specifically in faith institutions)
Eating and Drinking Guidance (for serving food and alcohol at your reception)
Self-Service Guidance (for buffet-style food)
Please keep in mind that all the information below is pulled from publicly available government documents.
Here are some of our couple's Frequently Asked Questions, click on the question to go directly to the answer!
How do I make my seating chart with COVID-19 at my wedding?
WEDDING GUEST COUNT:
How many people can I have at my wedding?
The biggest thing to note is that the max number of people you can have at your Oregon wedding includes both your guests AND the vendor staff (i.e. catering staff, officiant, vendor staff, etc.). We recommend to talk with your venue to understand how many staff need to be present.
Additionally, there are different limits depending on if your wedding is at an outdoor or indoor venue. If you are going to have a combination of indoor and outdoor events, then your guest count has to follow the indoor limits, as guests will move in and out of the building.
GUEST COUNT IN CHURCHES AND FAITH INSTITUTIONS
What if I want to have a wedding in a church?
Faith Institutions allow for a little more wiggle room when it comes to guest coun. Oregon has specific guidance for events in faith institutions which allow for more guest than other indoor venues.
As far as we’re concerned, these guidelines only apply to the ceremony where people don’t have to take off their masks to eat. However, we’ll tread lightly here because there is no language that actually says “wedding ceremonies” or “wedding receptions” in these guidelines.
Also, notice that services have a limit of 1 hour in a county that is at extreme risk.
How do I plan my seating chart with COVID-19 restrictions?
There are not specific guidelines for seating at weddings, but we recommend to keep tables to the limits for Eating and Drinking Establishments.
Our Tips for Seating
Asks your guests who are concerned about gathering to provide a list of people they are comfortable sitting around without masks
Space reception tables and audience rows for the ceremony 6 feet apart
You absolutely will be able to share a meal with your guests, but this is one area where we have specific guidelines to follow.
Your caterer is likely very familiar with the Eating and Drinking Guidance, but have a conversation with your chosen caterer to make sure you all are on the same page. We really value the subject matter expertise of our catering partners and we have regular conversations with them to understand how they are doing things, and discuss ways we can support them.
Self Service & Buffets
If you are planning to have self-service food (aka buffet or salad bar), it can’t exactly be self-service. Based on the Self-Service Guidance, you’re required to ensure that:
Only designated employees are allowed to serve food
Guests adhere to social distancing and don’t crowd the food area
Guests use new plates and cups for refills
Guests are seated and/or distanced when consuming food
The food area is thoroughly protected (i.e. plexiglass, back-of-house tent, etc)
Some caterers are not offering these served buffets, in which case your other options for meal service are plated or family style. We have pointers for each of these options, so let's plan to talk through specifics.
Also, we cannot say this enough: reach out to your caterer and talk to them about how they are doing things! Each company has created their own game plan for moving forward and their expertise in this area is crucial!
General Food & Drink Guidelines
Here are some other pointers (but not necessarily legal requirements) for how to keep people safe if your serving food at your reception:
Make sure the venue is large enough so every table has 6 ft. of space in every direction
Provide hand sanitizer at tables
Send out a email, website update, or card ahead of your wedding date that clearly lists all the expectations for guests at your wedding.
We can't stress this enough! Your guests should understand how you envision your day, so outline what they need to know (i.e. wearing masks when not eating, distancing, etc.)
EVERYTHING ELSE WEDDING RELATED
For anything else not included in these categories, like dancing, assume it is possible provided guests:
Can maintain 6 feet of distance
Follow those gathering/social guidelines.
Private Residence Weddings and COVID-19.
I know these requirements are less than ideal, and we have had some clients ask if they still need to follow them if they move their wedding to a private residence. We want to address that question with this bit of advice: make sure you know that guidelines must be followed even if you are getting married at home. If you are thinking about having a wedding at a private residence though, we wrote up a “Do and Don’t” list in another blog that will help with planning.
YPB Is Here to Help and Adjust
YPB is committed to keeping everyone safe and limiting the spread of this virus, because like you, we want things to get back to normal. Unfortunately, we can’t do that until everyone does their part-- so we are doing ours and planning weddings that adhere to all these guidelines.
We know this is a lot to keep track of, but the good news is, if you are one of our clients, we are keeping track of this information for you. Since risk levels adjust every two weeks, we won't know the status of your venue until two weeks before your wedding. And while the sound of that is scary, please don't let it be.
We will work with you to create a custom game plan. Some of you may choose to postpone. Some will choose to change venues. Some will choose to adjust the guest count. Regardless of what you choose, we will help you make it happen.
So if at all possible, keep the faith and stay strong. We really are very hopeful for improvement now that vaccines are rolling out, which should put some counties at less of a risk.
And please remember, we are here and we have your back!
Stay tuned for more updates. We will keep this page as current as possible. And as always, email us at firstname.lastname@example.org if you have questions.