Q: Should you go to an out-of-state wedding now that coronavirus vaccines are available and some states are reopening?
A: We all want to get back to normal. But there's a lot of gray area when it comes to large gatherings like weddings. The bottom line is that some states are doing much better combating COVID than others, with fewer new cases and larger percentages of the population vaccinated. Check on the rates in the place you are going.
If I were invited to a wedding, I'd have a few questions. And if I were planning a wedding, I'd want to provide my guests with some answers.
If the wedding is indoors, then I would want to know that there was a mask mandate, regardless of the size. Receptions, in particular, last for hours, and being indoors — whether it's a few dozen or a few hundred — raises important questions about the likelihood of contagion. Most of the COVID-19 screening apps I've seen have a clear line of demarcation. In short, an indoor wedding with more than 50 guests is not a great idea.
If you are the one planning a wedding, you probably don't want to insist that your guests provide proof of vaccination. That's a buzzkill. But you can strongly suggest that guests should be vaccinated, especially for an indoor event where social distancing is challenging, if not impossible.
However, with the temperatures climbing, there is no good reason not to plan the wedding and reception outside. If you're worried about rain, look into renting an open-air tent.
Jay Baglia, associate professor of health communication at DePaul University's College of Communication
A: Attending an out-of-state wedding comes down to your comfort level with how the event is being organized, as well as your comfort level with your means of transportation to the location.
First, the couple getting married should be completely transparent with their COVID-19 requirements for attending. Is full vaccination required? Partial vaccination? Is a negative COVID-19 test OK in lieu of a vaccination? They also should let you know the mask policy and if someone will be taking temperatures. As long as guests know what to expect, it falls on the guests to decide if they can meet these requirements and not feel offended by any intrusions.
If you decide to go, you have to look at your travel plans. Are you close enough to drive? If so, are you fine with stopping in new cities to fill up the tank? Do you have to stay overnight somewhere on the way?
It all comes down to personal preference and how much you are willing to tolerate to be with the couple on their special day.
Jules Martinez Hirst, etiquette expert and co-author of "The Power of Civility: Top Experts Reveal the Secrets of Social Capital"