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Just Said Yes September 2020

Parents Refuse to Wear Masks at Wedding

Jessica, on July 10, 2020 at 11:05 AM Posted in Etiquette and Advice 0 28
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My FH and I are getting married in two months, and we live in a state where covid-19 is rapidly increasing. Because we have an outdoor venue and our guest count is <25% capacity and events of such nature are allowed, our wedding has not been canceled/postponed. However, we have decided to ask our guests to wear masks for the ceremony and reception (whenever they aren't eating/drinking), in addition to many other safety precautions recommended by the CDC.

The parents of my FH believe that masks are a political statement rather than a safety precaution, and literally hung up on my FH when he told them on the phone that we had made this decision. We're not comfortable having the wedding without masks (my dad is high risk, among others), but it sounds like his parents might flat out refuse to abide by our request.

Advice?

28 Comments

  • Kimberly
    Expert March 2021
    Kimberly ·
    • Flag
    Then I’d have to say they would no longer be welcome at wedding. It’s one thing to refuse to wear a mask because of your own ridiculous ideas at a store or something, but to flat out refuse the request of your son for his wedding is not ok. Clearly they care only about themselves and the fact that they could potentially be a danger to your father is of no importance to them. For that reason they would no longer be welcome in person. Live stream it to them that they can watch from their own home mask free.
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  • Melle
    Rockstar June 2019
    Melle ·
    • Flag
    I agree with pp. doesn’t make much sense to have everyone else do it but them.
    Face shield option? But that still isn’t as effective without mask
    • Reply
  • Jessica
    VIP September 2020
    Jessica ·
    • Flag
    They can suck it up for one day for their son, and if they can’t that says something. I wouldn’t want to potentially put your fathers health at risk. I would leave any further communication with them to your FH since they’re his parents, don’t put yourself in the middle.
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  • Chelsea G
    Devoted March 2021
    Chelsea G ·
    • Flag

    If it's part of the law the venue/coordinator can make them wear masks and force them to leave if not. That's their choice to make if they can't get over wearing a mask for a few hours to see their son get married. Agree with PP this is FH's battle since they'e his parents. Not only does it put your dad at risk but both you and FH as well as all other guests.

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  • T
    Devoted May 2010
    Theresa ·
    • Flag

    Are they paying for any part of your wedding? If they are, that will make things more difficult. If they aren't, I agree with Kimberly. They need to wear a mask or stay home.

    I would check with the venue. It's entirely possible that they will have rules in place regarding masks. If it's mandated in the state, then they could be shut down if anyone doesn't comply. In that case, future in-laws won't have a choice.

    Hopefully, they will set their politics aside for a few hours and agree to wear them. Good luck!

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  • J
    Just Said Yes September 2020
    Jessica ·
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    View Quoted Comment

    They're not contributing financially to the wedding, other than hosting the rehearsal dinner.

    Unfortunately, wearing masks is a "guideline" state- and county-wide, and the venue has said that they don't require masks from guests.

    I appreciate the advice to let FH continue communication and not get in the middle.

    • Reply
  • H
    Super June 2019
    Hanna ·
    • Flag

    I agree with most of the PPs. You should NOT back down on this. Masks are not a political statement--masks save lives. If your FH's parents' "political" views are more important than attending his son's wedding, then that is really unfortunate...I'm so sorry but I would not back down on this. Your decision to have your guests wear masks is responsible and ethical. They are the ones being unreasonable

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  • Erin
    Dedicated May 2021
    Erin ·
    • Flag

    I know this may sound dumb, but what's the problem if everyone else is wearing masks and the grooms parent's don't? 2 people who live together breathing the same air, everyone else is wearing masks, so no problem then, right? everyone else is protected!! (I live in PA and numbers are down, PA places have posted on doors that masks are required to enter....once in one restaurant we took the masks off at our table.. the waitress came over with mask over her nose and mouth, when we came back through, it was down around her chin,...it did not bother me at all, honestly. and grocery stores while they have posted masks required they are not allowed to refuse anyone coming for food if they don't have a mask on) so let the groom's parents not wear them, everyone else will, anyone gets sick, it's on the groom's parents . not u or the groom

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  • J
    Just Said Yes September 2020
    Jessica ·
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    Erin, Yeah I've considered this. It's a bit different in CA, where business can 100% refuse services including groceries if you don't have on a mask.

    I don't want his parent's to not be there (even though I agree with everyone saying it's a horrible look on them to put their political views above the wishes of their son on his wedding day). And it's also occurred to me that if everyone except them wears masks they'll just look bad and the risk would be minimal. But I'm also afraid that his large extended family would see that the parents aren't wearing masks and take it as permission to also not wear masks...

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  • Erin
    Dedicated May 2021
    Erin ·
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    Ahh, yeh good points...wow CA really IS different ... I feel for ya! good luck!

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  • M
    Super January 2019
    Maggie ·
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    Because masks primarily protect *others* from the mask wearers. Not the other way around (think of those pictures of how far breath goes in cold weather). The OP's FH's parents are being needlessly stubborn and demonstrating they care more about themselves than the health of others. OP and her FS have every right to make this demand and enforce it (backed by science and laws).

    The recalcitrant future in-laws have the right to refuse but that refusal will come with consequences (i.e., missing their son's wedding). That's a really odd hill for them to die on, but whatever.

    • Reply
  • Hannah
    Rockstar July 2019
    Hannah ·
    • Flag

    I would put my foot down and say "no mask, no entry." They wouldn't be allowed to walk into the event naked, right? The masks protect other people from the respiratory droplets the wearer produces. Not wearing 1 says "I don't care if I've got something and will spread it to you." And honestly, if they can't suck it up for their son, for 1 day, that says something about them. I'm in NJ, and we got hit hard. One of the main reasons our numbers dropped and we've made progress is because of mandatory masks/cloth face coverings indoors. Now that more people are gathering close outside on boardwalks and such, numbers started to rise, so now we are required to wear them outside when social distancing is not possible. The states with more strict face covering guidelines/laws have seen better numbers. The data is there.

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  • Samantha
    Devoted October 2020
    Samantha ·
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    This most likely would result in more people not wearing masks and would therefore increase the risk.
    • Reply
  • J
    Just Said Yes September 2020
    Jessica ·
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    Hannah I appreciate hearing about the situation in NJ! CA is so big that we look at it more county-by-county, and we have also seen that the counties that put strict rules in place sooner are doing way better than counties that have been more lax. The data is certainly there.

    • Reply
  • Hannah
    Rockstar July 2019
    Hannah ·
    • Flag
    So I don't know if anyone used to watch Bill Nye the Science Guy growing up (I did!), but he posted a great video online showing how effective even cloth face coverings are.
    • Reply
  • Dj Tanner
    June 2021
    Dj Tanner ·
    • Flag
    OK so I get you’re worried and you have a right to be. But I’m going to be that person here with the opposing viewpoint… if you feel comfortable enough to continue with your wedding then at that point is a mask really going to matter? I feel like the best chance of catching Covid especially at outdoor weddings would be during dinner hours. Your guests can’t eat with masks on and they will be ingesting food handled and passed by multiple people/strangers. If that doesn’t concern you then why does someone walking around outside safely keeping their distance from others without a mask concerning? As some suggested, I think to possibly not want your parents to attend over them not wearing a mask would not be a very good idea. You’d definitely regret it for the rest of your life. I think if health officials have deemed it OK to go out to eat at restaurants with total strangers and tables constantly turning with new rounds of people, then I think it’s OK for your parents to go to your wedding without a mask as long as they keep a healthy distance from people. Also, what if one of your guests show up with their mask however you see them doing things that may be considered unsanitary or unhygienic to others. Eating with their hands, wiping their nose during dinner etc. Will you be OK with that or will you feel the need to mention anything to them? I hope this doesn’t come off as harsh at all because that’s really not what I’m trying to do I’m just trying to help you assess the situation because I think you would really truly regret it if you came to a decision of not inviting your parents because of a mask.
    • Reply
  • J
    Just Said Yes September 2020
    Jessica ·
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    DJ I appreciate the alternative perspective. You're totally right that there is definitely still risk either way. Of course people will have to take off their masks to sit and eat, and although we are spacing out the tables, limiting number of households at each table, and lowering the average number of people per table, the risk is there. Similarly with other public spaces; we can have the food served to minimize touching, have bathrooms cleaned very frequently, have people were masks when they aren't seated/eating, and all that but there is still risk. In CA, guidelines are that outdoor restaurants can open with 25% capacity, and people have to wear masks when they aren't seated. That's the guideline we're trying to follow.

    I think it's easy for someone outside the situation to advise us to stand our ground and parents can just not come. That's really not what we want to do, because we value our family and we know that our wedding is important to them too. A more likely scenario would be to postpone the big wedding until it would be safe to have it without distancing/masks.

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  • Dj Tanner
    June 2021
    Dj Tanner ·
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    As much as it sucks, postponing may be the best decision for you but it’s definitely something that you really truly have to think hard about as I’m sure you know. Because imagine starting off with your new parents on the wrong foot?! And again like I said you also run the risk of having other people showing up at your wedding that share your FPs same opinions on the issue. And to be honest, I’ve seen more people that talk about the importance of social distancing and following CDC guidelines, and yet they don’t even know how to wear their own masks properly. It’s always below their noses. So again I hope this helps and best of luck because I know none of it is not an easy decision to make
    • Reply
  • T
    Devoted April 2021
    Tiger Bride Online ·
    • Flag

    This is a tough situation. As a guest, I probably would not attend a wedding where I had to wear a mask. I just wouldn't enjoy a social event like that, so it wouldn't be worth it for me to go - if I did, I'd either leave after dinner or stay at my table the whole time. But I haven't been in a position where I'm super close to the bride/groom like that.

    I don't really want people wearing masks at my wedding (which we just postponed to the spring), but I am not forbidding anyone. Thinking about it from the opposite point of view - what if my in-laws insisted on wearing a mask to prove a point - I'd probably ask them to take it off for photos but otherwise let them do what they want. Can you ask his parents if they're willing to wear one at certain times you deem highest risk?

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  • Kari
    VIP May 2020
    Kari Online ·
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    Agreed 100%.

    The scientific consensus is that masks work. The only "politics" involves is whether one believes science or not.

    If any guest is unwilling to comply with science based precautions to keep others safe, then they should not be welcome at your wedding. Your FH's parents can decide whether taking a political stand is more important than being there for their son on his special day.

    And THANK YOU for not being a part of the problem!

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