As I’m sure will be surprising to absolutely nobody reading this, we’re already receiving a LOT of questions about COVID-19 vaccine mandates: how will they affect weddings? Can unvaccinated people attend a wedding at all? What about people with exemptions? Whose responsibility will it be to ensure couples/guests/vendors are vaccinated? How will we check vaccination status? Is it discriminatory to not allow an unvaccinated person to attend a wedding? Are we allowed / do we have the right to ask about clients’ (and their guests’) vaccination status?
The short answer, as at 22 September 2021, is that we don’t know yet.
In fact I would wager that nobody, not even the Federal or State/Territory governments, actually knows all the answers yet.
In Victoria, all we’ve heard is that when the population reaches 70% double vaccinated (hopefully around 26 October 2021), we’ll be able to hold outdoor weddings with a cap of 50 fully vaccinated people at 1 person per 4 square metres, OR* with 10 people of unknown vaccination status. When we reach 80% double vaccinated (hopefully around 5 November 2021), we’ll be able to hold indoor weddings for 150 fully vaccinated people at 1 person per 4 square metres, outdoor weddings for 500 fully vaccinated weddings at 1 person per 2 square metres, OR* any wedding with 10 people of unknown vaccination status.
*That OR is still a bit up in the air – some media outlets are reporting that it’s, e.g. 50 fully vaccinated plus 10 unvaccinated at the same wedding, while others are reading it the way I am, which is that if anyone is unvaccinated the wedding can only have 10 attendees.
That’s it. That’s literally all the information we have at this stage in Victoria. Here’s some of what we don’t know:
- Whose responsibility it will be to check vaccination status? At a venue it would seem to be the venue’s job, but what about a wedding in a park or on a beach? If it’s the celebrant’s role, what about when they leave? Does the photographer then take on this responsibility?
- How it will be checked?
- How it will be enforced?
- Do all vendors need to be vaccinated or only guests?
- Who will be fined if an unvaccinated person attends?
- How will genuine medical/religious exemptions be managed?
- Will dancing be allowed?
- Will buffets/canape trays be allowed?
- Will standing consumption or food and/or beverage be allowed?
- Will masks be required?
- What does “outdoors” actually mean – marquee with two sides down as previously, or all sides up? (Probably all sides will need to be up)
- Can weddings be held at private properties? (Probably not)
- Do the quoted numbers include vendors?
- Can unvaccinated people provide a recent negative test result instead?
- What about people who have only had one vaccination dose?
There are also complex legal issues to be considered about contracts and discrimination and privileged information.
We do not know the answers. And to make it worse, the rules and requirements are likely to be different in every state.
I know it’s tough, I know we’re being bombarded by couples wanting all the answers, but we just don’t know. We need to be patient; we need to wait for more information.
Feel free to send us questions, but we can’t answer them right now. I promise we don’t have any more information than you do.