Couples willing to require COVID vaccination, tests for wedding guests
As venues in New Jersey brace for what will likely be one of the busiest wedding years on record, there's growing confidence that couples will truly be able to enjoy their big day in 2021 — even if they have to institute some bold requirements in order to make it happen.
Toni Nagle, owner of Spring Lake Manor, says the rollout of coronavirus vaccines, along with movement in the way of capacity limits, is paving the way toward a more typical New Jersey wedding down the line, likely in summer or fall. And more couples, she said, are anticipating a much more enjoyable wedding day compared to how it would have looked if they had tied the knot in 2020.
"They're now optimistic that they'll have grandma and grandpa attending, assuming that they can get vaccinated in the meantime," Nagle said.
According to a COVID-19 survey released by The Knot in early February, 47% of couples who planned to wed in 2020 are planning to celebrate in 2021 or later.
Nearly 20% of respondents said they plan to require that their guests be vaccinated in order to attend their wedding. According to the survey, more than a third of couples would require guests to get tested for the novel coronavirus, as testing becomes more accessible.
Nagle said "it's a little early in the vaccination game" for the venue's couples to mention a potential requirement among guests, but the venue also has not seen any couples ask guests to provide proof of a negative test.
"If a couple comes to us and says that they're really concerned about a COVID outbreak at their wedding, and they want to force everyone to test, our advice would be to potentially postpone the event or dramatically reduce the size of it," Nagle said.
There's enough stress involved with planning a wedding "on a good day, without a pandemic," Nagle said — couples don't need to worry about whether "Aunt Sally forgot to get her COVID test."
"Also, you may be lured into a false sense of security," she said. "Just because somebody tests negative 48 hours prior to an event, doesn't mean they haven't been exposed since they had the test."
Dance floors at all venues are "closed" in New Jersey due to the high risk of virus transmission. New Jersey's COVID-19 rules state that indoor wedding ceremonies must be limited to 150 people or 35% of a room's capacity — whichever number is lower. The cap is 10 people at indoor receptions that are held separately from the wedding ceremony. Face coverings are required.