Understanding Washington's COVID-19 Guidelines (and what they mean for your wedding)
Updated: Jul 2
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
Side by Side Phase Comparisons for Weddings
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:
Weddings, Funerals, and Events COVID-19 Requirements (Updated May 13)
Open Air and Outdoor Seating Requirements (for outdoor seating)
COVID-19 Guidance for Food Workers & Food Establishments (for self-serve food)
Healthy Washington Roadmap to Recovery (description of COVID-19 metrics and up-to-date Phases)
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:
A fully vaccinated wedding does not need to follow distancing, masking, or group limit restrictions.
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.
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.
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.)
Children 2-15 must have a negative COVID-19 test, children under 2 do not
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).
Communicate with your guests - lay out all the expectations so no mishaps happen at arrival!
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
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).
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.
For outdoor weddings with a reception, make sure to arrange your tables based on state guidelines. Table sizes are l