I first want to say I am not a doctor or an infectious disease expert and all your final decisions should be based on those who are experienced and educated on the topic. I wanted to write a few tips for your wedding day to help you and your loved ones reduce the risk of contracting the virus. At the end of this, I have posted a letter that you can copy and paste to send to your wedding guests to help reduce the spread of this virus.
Pay Attention To Local Laws and Regulations
There is a lot of talk of States or Local governments restricting the size of gathers to 250 or even fewer in some cases. This could rapidly change and could be something that changes week to week or even day-to-day. Your venue should be notified of these rules and should then reach out to you, but keep an eye out for any updates on rules for large gatherings.
I know, I know, I know. Weddings are full of love and hugs are so natural to do all day. To help greatly reduce the risk, try to reduce hugs with as many of your guests as you can. Especially you as the Bride and Groom, people will be wanting to hug you all day and you may feel rude turning down a hug, but if it is your wish to protect yourself, it is ok to kindly ask for no hugs. Tip: Have your pastor or emcee announce the no hugs policy so then they can be seen as "the bad guy" and not the couple. Us vendors can take that pressure off your back if that helps.
No Receiving Line
A receiving line at the end of the wedding is a very common tradition. They do seem to have become less common, but more than half my weddings seem to still do a receiving line. Consider not doing a receiving line after your wedding ceremony. You can always go right back in after the initial exit of the ceremony or at the very beginning of the reception and thank your guest for coming and let them know how much they mean to you.
No Sharing Drinks
I'm looking at all of you, party bussers! I don't know how many times I've seen a bottle of Champaign get passed around the entire wedding party on a party bus, but it's more than once. It'd be highly recommended to use glasses or an individual bottle drink. Don't share drinks!
Wash Your Hand....ALOT
This is primarily talking to the Bride and Groom. You both are the star of the show. Everyone wants to talk to you and be around you. Even without hugs, people will want to shake your hands at the minimum. Try hard to not rub your eyes or face throughout the day. Before every time you eat or drink, wash your hands. Have your maid of honor carry a bottle of hand sanitizer for you and use it frequently. It sounds basic, but it can really help you as the couple.
Letter to Guests
Dear loved ones,
We're so excited to have you attend our wedding! In the wake of the current viral outbreak, we wanted to send this letter to help ourselves and our loved ones from spreading and contracting the disease. Please, if you are showing any signs of illness or have been in direct contact with someone in the last 14 days who has, please stay home. We want everyone who can to attend, but we don't want to raise the risk to others. We totally understand if you are not going to be able to attend and know you will be there in spirit.
To help reduce our risk, we will be trying to avoid hugs as much as possible. We love you all so much and we know hugs are a common showing of that love during weddings, but we are going to try to reducing hugs on our wedding day to help prevent ourselves and our guests from catching the virus. If you are a person that is at higher risk of contracting or have risk for more serious symptoms and you don't feel comfortable attending, we understand. Please listen to your own doctor's advice and don't feel you have to come if you are not comfortable. If anything else changes between now and our wedding day we will update you. Continue to listen to experts and local officials as the situation rapidly changes.
We love you all so much,
Bride and Groom
JLS Photo LLC Jason Strohbehn is a wedding photographer based in Lincoln, NE.