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Understanding Washington's COVID-19 Guidelines (and what they mean for your wedding)

Last Updated: June 30, 2021


NOTE: If you’re planning a wedding in Oregon, you’ll want to read our Oregon-specific breakdown.

 

SUMMARY OF MOST RECENT UPDATES:


Washington is OPEN!**


  • Businesses are no long required to operate under capacity or grouping limits or enforce wearing a mask.

    • However, it's important to note that businesses still have the right to independently enforce these rules if they feel it keeps their community safe.

  • Masks are still required in certain settings, like healthcare facilities, child care facilities, & public transportation hubs. So don't forget your masks if you're traveling for your wedding!

  • YPB is still here to address any concerns you have. If you want a COVID-safe wedding, we will do all we can to make sure that happens. You are our priority!

 

Table of Contents


 

With Washington open starting June 30th, most of these restrictions and guides are no long applicable. However, we will keep this information for any couple who wishes to have a COVID-safe wedding.


Stay safe and Stay Healthy as always!


COVID-19 guidelines are constantly changing, but when it comes to how those affect your wedding, you can count on us to break those down for you.


In this blog, we simplify how Washington State’s COVID-19 guidelines impact your wedding and we’ll add updates when wedding COVID-19 requirements change. Be sure to check back to this page from time to time!


Our Advice for Wedding Planning with COVID-19 :

  • Be clear with your guests about the expectations at your wedding. It is YOUR day and they should understand what you expect of everybody. Whether that be outlining mask expectations, vaccine requirements, and/or venue rules, we recommend to let everyone know these before hand to avoid trouble on the day-of.

  • Work with a planner!! The value of having a professional hand to hold under under these times is invaluable. With changing guidelines, it can be overwhelming to keep track of everything and the "fun" of planning can be lost. Planners are your sanity checkers, logistic experts, and additionally, there to enforce your expectations on the day-of so you don't have to stress.

  • Have a good Plan B. With new surges happening across the country, no region's Phase is guaranteed. Having a loose Plan B for a lower phase can make last minute planning a little less stressful.


WEDDINGS AND PHASES


All of Washington is in Phase 3 as of May 7 with plans to open all of Washington starting June 30th. We all know by now to keep on our toes with ever-changing restrictions, but we'll celebrate for a bit with these updates!



Overview & Gov Docs

We have read and reread all the documents Governor Inslee has published that depicted all the restrictions for your wedding. All we write below is summarized from the following documents:


Here is a quick overview of the differences, but we'll go on to explain more about the restrictions in each phase and category.



It's a common misconception that state requirements only apply to venues. But Governor Inslee’s restrictions apply to weddings no matter the location: “privately owned property, business establishments, non-profit establishments, establishments owned by religious or faith-based organizations and publicly owned property.”


Now for the nitty-gritty: what exactly you can and can’t you do on your wedding day based on the Phase.


VACCINATIONS AND WEDDINGS


The May 13 updates to the wedding guidelines are the best ones yet, and we are seeing the benefit of vaccinations becoming more common!


Here's what you need to know:

  1. A fully vaccinated wedding does not need to follow distancing, masking, or group limit restrictions.

  2. A fully vaccinated wedding also does not have to have protective measures for food and beverage service. Caterers may have their own private rules and have the right to do so.

  3. In order to be exempt from these restrictions, all guests must show proof of vaccination (i.e. a vaccination card) or proof of a negative COVID-19 test, obtained within 72 hours of the wedding, for those unable to obtain a vaccination for any reason.

  4. All guests must bring physical proof and show upon entry (i.e. a vaccination card, a picture of the card, an email, a printout, etc.)

    1. Children 2-15 must have a negative COVID-19 test, children under 2 do not

  5. You will need to check with your venue - they have the ultimate say in no masks vs masks and will be the ones to check guests upon entry (side note, YPB team members cannot be responsible for this role).

  6. Communicate with your guests - lay out all the expectations so no mishaps happen at arrival!

  7. Vendors must wear face coverings


The government guidelines define "fully vaccinated wedding", which basically means either everyone can show a negative test result or proof of vaccination.


If you don't think it's feasible to have all your guests come with proof of vaccination or a negative test result, we recommend to consider vaccination sections. You can ask your guests to share (if they are comfortable) whether they are vaccinated or not. This can create an extra layer of safety for some!


Not sure what to do? We get it, this can be stressful for many reasons. We'd love for you to schedule a consultation with us and talk about what we can do for you.




WEDDINGS IN PHASE 1



Guest Count:

For an indoor venue, your guest count can be no more than 30 people or 25% capacity of the venue, whichever is less, and that count does NOT include vendors. With an outdoor wedding, you can have a maximum of 30 people.


Guests should also be warned to keep to their bubbles and avoid mingling without masks between groups (this will help ensure your wedding day is stress-free and COVID-free).


Reception:

Unfortunately during Phase 1, celebrations or receptions before/after an indoor wedding are prohibited. If you want to have a wedding reception in a Phase 1 region, you will need to have an outdoor wedding.


For outdoor venues, receptions are a go. There are, of course, restrictions that apply, such as ensuring guests wear face coverings and social distance. In the Wedding COVID-19 Restrictions document from Governor Inslee, there is a list of general practices for vendors and wedding hosts to follow.


Seating:

For outdoor weddings with a reception, make sure to arrange your tables based on state guidelines. Table sizes are limited to 6 people from a maximum of 2 households and all tables must be spaced 6 feet from any other table.


This will be the same for receptions in Phase 2 also.

The area where people are sitting and eating must also follow the state’s Open-air Seating Guidance. There are many options for setting up your outdoor reception area, such as having tents or canopies but to sum it up: less walls = less restrictions.


Food & Drink:

You can serve food and drinks in a Phase 1 outdoor wedding, but there are various eating and drinking requirements.


Important to note that to note during all phases, masks are required if you are not eating or drinking. That being said, we advice that you are clear with your guests on what they should expect, that way everyone knows what you and your partner want for your wedding (after all, it is your day).


Your caterer or venue should be aware of all guidance for serving food, but have a conversation with your vendors so you’re on the same page.


As of March, buffets and self service food stations are allowed (with restrictions of course!). You must have some kind of sneeze guard barrier, have the serving utensils sanitized, and/or provide single use utensils, or have a staff member serving the food.


Music:

Back in the beginning of 2021, there were restrictions on live performers (solo singers, bands, etc), but now the general rule of thumb is performers are allowed as long as they are significantly distanced from the audience. The performers must wear masks, or be behind plexiglass or some other barrier.


Dancing

It’s crazy to think that dancing was prohibited earlier this year, like Footloose became a reality. Now, dancing is allowed through all phases as long as guests wear masks on the dance floor, guests are not carrying food or drinks, and people try to distance or stick with the group limits (the same as the table groups).


There are also numbers for how many people can be on the dance floor. The general rule of thumb is 25% of your guest count, and as we know, your guest count is limited by a capacity percentage.


Example: Phase 2 Outdoor allows for 25% of the capacity. If your venue allows for 400 at full capacity, you can have a guest count of 100 (25% of 400) and 25 on the dance floor (25% of 100)


First Dances/Parent Dances


Since Phase 1 Indoor weddings don't allow for receptions, dancing isn't an option, but you can still do a first dance or a parent dance! For these traditional dances, the dancers do not need to wear a mask as long as they are the only ones on the dance floor. You'll get the best photos of these moments!




WEDDINGS IN PHASE 2





Guest Count:

The guest count for indoor weddings increases significantly in Phase 2. It allows for 200 people or 25% of the venue capacity for indoor weddings not including vendors. Remember to pay attention to the venues max capacity! Outdoor weddings allow for 200 max.


The group limits also increase to a maximum of 15 people, but still from a max of 2 households.


Reception:

Hurray, you can have an indoor reception! You will need to follow your venue’s guidelines and have your guests wear face coverings and social distance.


Seating:

Seating is the same as Phase 1 outdoor weddings. Table sizes are limited to 6 people from a maximum of 2 households and all tables must be spaced 6 feet from any other table.

If your wedding is indoors, it's good to consider what the air flow will be like. The state recommends to open any windows and utilize fans if possible.


Food and Drink:

Food service must follow eating and drinking requirements for Phase 2. They are more or less the same as Phase 1.


Music and Dancing

Phase 2 guidelines for music and dancing are the Phase 1. Wear a mask and distance as usual.



WEDDINGS IN PHASE 3


Governor Inslee released guidance for weddings in Phase 3 on March, 23, and we are happy to say that the guest count allows for practically "a normal" wedding size. If you are somebody who likes a party with all their friends and family, Phase 3 allows for that.


Guest Count:

Your grandparents, your extended family, your mom's friends, your friends kids.... Phase 3 allows for significantly more humans to witness your special day. You can have 50% of an indoor venue's capacity, with a maximum of 400. Outdoors, the max is 400.


Reception:

You will need to follow your venue’s guidelines and have your guests wear face coverings and social distance.


Seating:

The group limits increased to a maximum of 15 people and no longer have a household restriction, so as long as your guests feel comfortable, making seating arrangements will be less of a hassle.


Food and Drink:

Food service must follow eating and drinking requirements. The only difference is that alcohol service can last until midnight.



 

YPB IS HERE TO HELP


We are staying on top of these changes and as always, it’s our job to make planning your wedding less stressful. If the COVID guidelines are impacting your wedding and you’re having trouble navigating them, reach out to us!


We executed 30+ weddings under these guidelines in 2020; we have experience figuring out the best solution and we will walk you through all of your options. You can reach us at: info@yourperfectbridesmaid.com.


For now, keep the faith. The vaccine is rolling out (though far too slow) and we are still very hopeful for a wonderful 2021 wedding season.


Be well!!

Your Perfect Bridesmaid


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1 Comment


Unknown member
Jun 18, 2021

Hi there, I've been following the guidelines closely and there is no clarification on mask wearing for fully vaccinated events. I'm curious where you got this info from. I am having my wedding in a few weeks and praying for that clarification to get published soon! Let me know!

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