Featured image: All Grown Up Weddings.
It’s time for us to tackle the topic of weddings and vaccinations head on. Especially as it’s an issue that is at the epicentre of the wedding industry right now (for both couples, vendors and venues alike).
It’s a sensitive subject but one that we don’t believe needs to be taboo, which is why it’s important to open up an honest and respectful dialogue around what we believe is the best way forward for couples in light of current circumstances.
While we’re not in a position to provide sound legal advice, we do have some ideas on how couples can communicate the subject of vaccinations with their venue, vendors and wedding guests in a way that will hopefully keep those relationships intact.
Before we dive in, a little bit of housekeeping:
- People will have different opinions and make different decisions around vaccinating and while we’re a fully vaxxed team, we’re not here to judge those decisions.
- Given that each state is different, we’re mostly covering how to talk to your guests and your vendors about this subject, vs. things that are focused on legals, plus these are changing frequently so please always visit the relevant government websites for the latest updates regarding vaccinations and weddings.
- We have been inundated with questions around this topic and have done our level best to address most of the them here. If there is anything we haven’t touched on, please feel free to DM us.
- If you’d like some support or a safe place to (politely) continue the convo, join our couples-only FB page Wedchat by Wedshed. This is an online community of people who are all going through the same shiz and has proved to be a really helpful platform for couples trying to navigate their way through Covid times.
Q. Do you have any suggestions on how to word your request to have vaccinated guests only at your wedding?
A. With vaccine etiquette, you are trying to be considerate and mindful of your guests’ health, safety, and level of comfort, especially elderly family members such as grandparents or loved ones with any kind of health compromises – as with any discussion, approach this dialogue with respect and kindness. However, for many it’s an important question to ask.
There’s a couple of ways to do it and it depends on the timing of this request, and also whether your request is a personal preference or if it’s a government mandate.
For example, if you’re yet to send our your invitations/save the date, this is a perfect time to communicate your wishes. You could add a message on there that reads something along the lines of:
“The wellbeing of all of you, our much loved guests and wedding team – is of the utmost importance to us, as is complying with the current mandates around vaccinations and events.
We respectfully ask that guests in attendance be fully vaccinated. We’ll understand completely if this sadly means we miss out on sharing this occasion with you, and will have your presence there in spirit. We look forward to celebrating all of our futures together at another point.”
Or, you could communicate it in a fun way however you’re collecting your RSVPs – whether that’s through a card with your stationery or through a digital RSVP if you’re doing it that way. I.e: a checklist/series of tickboxes
Things that are required for your attendance:
- [ ] Biggest hugs
- [ ] Best rug-cutting shapes
- [ ] Healthy appetite
- [ ] Party passport (AKA, you’re vaxxed)
Or if you’ve already sent out your wedding invitations and have a wedding website, you could update the website with a message around vaccinations and attendance at your wedding and send a message out to your guests to refer to your website for your preference around this.
If you don’t have a wedding website and you’ve already sent our your invitations, you could use Paperless Post to gather people’s vaccination status’ with an RSVP status. Or just have conversations with your guests, depending on how many guests you’re having and how comfortable you feel.
The thing that’s really important here is however you communicate it, do so respectfully. These are people you have relationships with, no matter how you feel about vaccinations. Keep their feelings in mind.
Q. Does the venue or couple have to get proof of vaccinations?
A. Again, this varies state-to-state. In NSW, guests who are vaccinated are able to attend a wedding provided they:
- Carry vaccination evidence and produce it for inspection to a police officer or authorised officer if requested. Currently, vaccinated Australians can access a COVID-19 digital certificate through MyGov or the Express Plus Medicare app
- Check in with the Service.NSW app or provide their contact details to the occupier
- Follow the face mask rules
As of December 1 however, restrictions will ease for all of NSW, regardless of vaccination status.
VIC and WA will pursue their own versions of vaccine passports while the ACT has announced that it will not be introducing vaccine passports. Other states such as SA and QLD have not yet made any concrete decision around vaccine passports.
We’re expecting to know more around how proof of vaccination will be rolled out as immunisation rates continue to increase Aus-wide. For the most updated policies, check your state-government website.
An important note:
Your vaccination certificate displays an Individual Health Identifier (IHI) number which is a unique number subject to stringent data regulations. Please don’t email or share a screenshot of your vaccination certificate without first covering this number.
Q. How do we politely tell guests who are not vaccinated they can’t come?
A. Sensitive situation – and depending on the time that you’re getting married and where your state is at at that stage, you may not need to make this call as it may be a mandate and already made for you. For example, in NSW right now, only vaccinated guests will be allowed to attend weddings at the 70 and 80% overall state vaccination mark (or it’s a maximum of 5 guests if any person in attendance will be unvaccinated).
Otherwise, you can explain your reason if you wish – it may be that you have elderly or immunocompromised guests, or that it’s your joint preference – it’s that simple.
Q. How do we ask the vendors we have already booked if they are vaccinated?
A. An open, honest conversation. Just open up the lines of communication. Offer your own vaccination status, as if they’re vaccinated themselves, they will be wanting to know this too if there are government mandates in place.
Q. Do I assume my vendors are vaxxed? Or should I email them?
A. Email them to discuss if you’re uncertain. Some venues and vendors may have made their vaccination status public on their SM. If you’d like to know, it’s absolutely fine to email, call, text, DM them – whatever you prefer – to ask the question. You can trust that they are expecting this conversation and we know from speaking to many in the industry this is already something that’s happening.
Q. Should vendors be offering to reschedule (no penalty) until the vax mandate is lifted?
A. We can’t really comment on individual business decisions only to say that we don’t think it’s as cut and dry as a vendor should or shouldn’t do anything. It’ll depend on so many factors – and the tricky thing is that contracts don’t cover this kind of stuff. But would we expect vendors to offer to reschedule their services for couples that would like to reschedule due to vax-mandate limitations? It’ll be vendor-dependent but we wouldn’t expect it.
Q. What’s a nice way to tell people we need to cull our (fully vaxxed) guest list?
A. We’d communicate this message with something like this:
“With all the change that’s happened in the world, we’ve decided to reassess what our wedding will look like, and with this in mind, we’ve chosen to get married with a more intimate celebration.
While this unfortunately means we won’t have the opportunity to share the day with you, we want to extend our most heartfelt thanks for your support as we continue to navigate a wedding in a pandemic – every kind thought has meant a lot.
We hope to share a celebratory drink to all of our futures with you soon. With love, [Both of You]”
Are children under 12 and those who are unable to get the vaccine for medical reasons allowed to attend?
A. We’re still waiting for clarification on this one. As we move closer toward the vaccination targets, we’re hoping more details will come to light.
How do I decline an invitation to an unvaxxed wedding?
A. Again, honesty is always the best policy – it’s how you deliver the message that matters. We would just explain in the gentlest terms that while you are honoured to be invited to their wedding, you’ve made a decision not to attend any events where there are unvaccinated people in attendance (and if you want to include your own reasons for that, go ahead).
Should I be sending my invites out early to give people enough time to get fully vaccinated (given it takes up to 12 weeks)?
A. This isn’t a bad idea if you plan on having your wedding in the near future. Otherwise you could consider holding off and waiting to see what further announcements the government makes around weddings and vaccinations as it might not be such a big issue down the track.