Posted on September 16, 2020 at 11:35 AM

Okay my new full time job is staying up to date on the current NY COVID regulations regarding weddings so here is where we are at per the NYS Liquor Authority, Empire State Development and the NYS Department of Health.  These are not suggestions...they are rules and we are mandated to follow them all.

1.)  Maximum number of guests is 50.  This is indoor, outdoor, venue, private residence, astral plain...doesn't matter.

2.) Ceremony: Inside a church/mosque/synagogue maximum of 50% capacity.  The Roman Catholic Diocese is still maintaining a 33% capacity limit.  Outdoor or at a non-religious venue 50% occupancy or 50 people, whichever is met first.  Chairs should be grouped by family/household unit if possible, with 6 ft. between rows.  We have been utilizing a 12' wide aisle so that bridal party members can walk without masks.  Bridal party should walk up and back down the aisle independantly and spaced 6' apart.  Your officiant, if not an immediate family member should be masked and spaced 6' from you as a couple.  No shared items.  Guests must wear masks when walking into the ceremony, but may remove them once seated.  The specifics on masks when seated may vary in religious buildings.  If a microphone is needed, a standing mic is recommended with a mic cover.

3.)  Cocktail hour:   Social distancing must be maintained when moving from ceremony to cocktail hour and masks must be worn in transit.  Once they arrive, guests must be seated.  Guests may stand to use restroom facilities and go to the bar, but must wear a mask when doing so.  Guests at the bar must be spaced 6 ft. apart and the line may not have more than 5 guests waiting at any time.  Stationary food is not recommened, but if you will offer this, the catering staff must serve the food directly and the food may not be in front of the guest.  

4.)  Escort Board/Placecards/Guest Book etc:  Again remember the rule here is no shared contact.  So this means that an Escort board should be utilized and not place cards that multiple guests could touch.  Guest books are not allowed.  Photo booths are permissable if they are "open air", no props are used (unless they are single use), guests must be seated in the booth if not wearing a mask and only guests from the same party may take photos in the booth together.  The booth should be properly sanitized after each use and any attendant should be masked.

5.)  Reception:  Guest tables may not be greater than 10 guests and tables should be family/household units only if possible.  Masks again must be worn anytime not seated and standing is limited to essential transit.  Tables must be 6' apart.  Rolled silverware and single use salt/pepper/condiments is recommended.  For formal introductions, we recommend honored guests being recognized at their seats.  Each venue has different ways we can accomplish this though, so talk to us first.  A standing microphone with cover is recommended for toasts/speeches/blessing.

6.) Beverage Stations/Buffets:  Only allowed if they are staff manned and the guests have no direct contact with any of the items.  One table should be allowed to the buffet at any time and for beverage stations, no more than 5 guests at a time.  6' social distance must be clearly marked and maintained between guests.  Sanitatizer should be provided.

7.)  Dance Floors:  Unfortunately, they are an absolute NO right now.  We can, however still do 1st Dance, Parent Dances and Last Dance.  The catch is that guests must stay seated and any guest table must be at least 12' from where these dances take place.  You do not have to wear a mask for these dances.

8.)  Garter/Bouquet/Anniversary Dance/Dollar Dance etc:  Not allowed at this time

9.)  Cake Cutting:  Cake cannot be displayed ahead of time, unless it is in a location where the guests cannot come within 6' of it.  Other than that, see the rules for Dance Floors (#7) for other regulations.

10.)  Favors:  Either at each place setting or the preffered method would be staff distributing upon guest exit while gloved and masked.

11.)  All vendors and service staff must remain masked at all times.

12.)  Photos:  Check with your photographer, but most require any guests/bridal party members who are involved in group photos to be provided with full disclosure of the risks of doing so and most likely they will be asked to sign a waiver.

13.)  Transportation:  If it is a private charter, you may not have to operate at 50% capacity but this is different with each provider, so check first!  All guests should be masked at ALL TIMES when on chartered transportation i.e. shuttle, bus, limo etc.

14.)  Dessert Stations:  Same rules as #6 and individually packaged desserts are recommended.  

15.)  Send Offs:  This really has everything to do with the type of venue you have and if there is any possible way to space your guests out enough to be within the regulations.

Categories: Reception Tips

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