Covid Weddings: We Have To Do Better
Disclaimer: The BWB team thinks Covid-19 is real. We think the mismanagement of the US response to the pandemic is criminally negligent. We believe in science.
Been a tough run, folks; For our world, country, and the entertainment industry as a whole. International festivals are postponed indefinitely. NY’s Broadway remains shutdown until 2021. And local live performance venues have been decimated. We could go on and on about the communities affected by Covid-19 and the many lives that were forever altered. Sadly, it is far from over.
As for the wedding industry, we’re in a weird place. While most of 2020 rescheduled to 2021, we’ve seen vendors and couples try to find a way to forge forward. The results and outcomes vary. It’s like the Wild West out there…
Some venues and couples genuinely respect regulations and honestly care about the safety of their community. Others have thrown caution to the wind. We’re disappointed to have heard more stories of reckless behavior than responsible. Let’s break it down:
Traditionally, it’s the venues’ responsibility to create a safe and sufficient environment for all. But when state restrictions are confusing, continually changing, and unenforceable, corners will be cut. Let’s face it, many businesses are looking for ways to simply survive!
The geographical reality doesn’t make things easier, either. New England is a region comprising six states: Maine, Vermont, New Hampshire, Massachusetts, Rhode Island, and Connecticut. Each has different metrics and different guidelines. We’ve seen couples try to move their wedding from one state to another, seeking more favorable conditions. Ironic though. Epidemiologists predict that states who boast lax regulations soon become states that necessitate more strict regulations. We already see evidence of this.
State guidelines can also be vague and are, therefore, open to interpretation. Take Rhode Island, for example, which stated that in-door gatherings in performance venues could not allow the presence of “dance-floors.” But by banning dance-floors and not dancing, it allowed for varying interpretations of the rule. We eventually received confirmation from the Rhode Island Department of Business Affairs. They said that, in fact, this meant “dancing” was not allowed. But many venues didn’t get the message.
Then you have clients, some of whom are covid-deniers, covid-detractors, or simply want what they want. The opportunity exists for them to take advantage of businesses in need. Add it all up, and what do you get? The potential for a super spreader event. Why is this bad? Because it will prolong the regulations, shutdowns, and potentially result in loss of life.
Imagine what it would be like to go to a wedding, deemed an “outdoor” event, and find the following:
- 100+ wedding guests in attendance, none of whom are wearing masks
- Guests congregating closely and dancing together while drinking (defying state restrictions)
- Venue staff who is unable or unwilling to enforce state regulations
- The reception location, or “tent,” which was deemed an “outdoor facility” by the board of health, is actually an enclosed structure, with no open sides, creating a poorly ventilated indoor gathering.
Yeah. It’s happening. The above isn’t hyperbole. Situations like this (and worse) are occurring. The Maine wedding in August linked to an outbreak and 7 deaths is a sober reminder of the risks.
What’s the answer? We have to do better; all of us. From the top-down, from state and federal government to the brides and grooms, We have to do better. We must continue making sacrifices and behaving responsibly, even when it’s painful to do so.
Point blank: Can you have a wedding and stay safe? Perhaps. We’ve seen several outdoor tented events that felt responsible. The key ingredients were as follows:
- It has to start with the Bride and Groom. If the couple doesn’t wear masks, their guests don’t wear masks. It’s that simple.
- The venue has to be serious about enforcing state regulations to the best of their ability. This will permeate down through the other vendors who set foot in the door.
In a viral pandemic, a community can only fight back when everyone works together. If we don’t, we’ll lose more than just our industry.
Thanks as always for stopping by. Hang in there and stay well.
-The BWB Team