social distance wedding
La Tuna LocationsJerome Park Photography

If you’ve been invited to a wedding during the COVID pandemic, you might be feeling torn. Of course, you want to celebrate and support the couple, but your health and safety should always come first. It’s essential to ensure that the couple is following state and local guidelines when throwing their event before deciding whether or not you’ll attend. And beyond buying a gift and choosing an outfit, there are several steps and safety measures you’ll need to take as a COVID wedding guest as well. 

Here’s everything you need to know about being a good wedding guest during the COVID pandemic. 

Ask questions before RSVPing. 

First things first—if you think attending a wedding will compromise your safety, you are in a high-risk category, or that the couple isn’t following state or local gathering regulations, you should decline the invitation. Check the couple’s wedding website to see if they’ve included a section about precautions they’ll be taking on the big day. If not, don’t be shy about reaching out to the couple directly to ask questions. How many guests will be attending? Will you be adhering to social distancing? Will the event be held indoors or outdoors? How will food be served? If you feel comfortable with the couple’s plans, you can RSVP yes. Alternatively, if you don’t wish to follow the safety guidelines, you can decline. 

Think about your travel plans. 

These days, traveling has its own inherent risks. Think about the extent to which you can travel to attend a wedding. Will you have to fly or can you drive? Would you have to stay overnight and if so, where? Can you even travel to the wedding’s location based on state regulations (some states are requiring visitors from certain hotspots to quarantine upon arrival and/or provide proof of a negative COVID test)? If these risks and restrictions make traveling to a wedding’s location difficult or impossible, it’s okay to RSVP no—and hope the couple live streams the wedding so you watch the proceedings. 

Send a gift in advance. 

While most guests send wedding gifts before or after the wedding, some still do bring gifts or cards to the actual event. During the COVID pandemic, bringing a gift to the wedding is discouraged for safety reasons. Too many people will end up touching the gift, which increases the chances of passing germs and exposure. Even if you’re giving the couple a check, mail it to them, rather than handing it over on the big day. 

Talk to loved ones about their comfort levels. 

If other loved ones will be attending the wedding, talk to them in advance about everyone’s comfort levels for contact during the event. Some people may be comfortable giving hugs and dancing, while others would prefer to keep distance. You want to make sure you’re on the same page with your family members and friends to avoid awkward moments, like Uncle Bob trying to give you a bear hug when you are adhering to social distancing. The couple should also provide distancing rules that should be enforced and followed. 

If you’re experiencing symptoms, stay home. 

This is a big one—if you are experiencing any symptoms of COVID-19, do not (we repeat, DO NOT) attend the wedding. It’s better to be a last-minute no-show than potentially expose the couple and their guests to illness. And if you know that another guest is experiencing symptoms and still intends on attending the wedding, you should let the couple know so they can take appropriate action. 

Wear a mask. 

Masks are the most essential accessory this wedding season. While many couples are providing masks for their guests, you should still bring your own face covering. It’s an important safety measure, and bringing your own ensures you’ll have a mask that is comfortable, fits you properly—and matches your outfit. Looking to buy a face covering for the occasion? Shop our favorite wedding masks.

Follow instructions. 

A COVID wedding will likely be quite different than any wedding you’ve attended in the past. You’ll have to wear a mask, stay distanced from other guests, practice good hand hygiene (hello, sanitizing stations!), and more—check the couple’s wedding website to learn more about how the day will go. Food may be served in a different manner and there may or may not be dancing. Do your best to roll with the punches, follow instructions from the couple, venue, and wedding professionals, and avoid any grumbling about the unique experience. Remember, the couple surely wishes their wedding could have taken place under different circumstances, and any griping from guests will just make them feel worse. So follow the rules with a smile, and focus your energy on celebrating, not complaining.