COVID-19 and Weddings FAQ
For our Hudson Valley region (Phase 4), below are frequently asked questions with current resources as of 7/16/20. Please refer directly to the official NYS websites for additional resources and up-to-date changes that may take place.
How many guests are allowed? In Phase 4 regions, the guest count cannot exceed the 50-person maximum guidelines or 50% capacity if 50% is less than 50 persons. A wedding would be considered as one mass gathering event, which means 50 persons total, not 50 inside and 50 outside. The same guidelines apply whether your event is inside or outside. Guest count applies to all guests onside. Venue staff and hired professionals do not count toward 50. If your ceremony is to take place within a religious building, guest count cannot exceed 33% of capacity or 50 guests, whichever is lower. You cannot exceed the social gathering counts for your region. Guest List and Vendor List with contact information will need to be provided so it is available for a local contact tracer.
How will these guidelines be enforced? Licensed vendors will all have a license at stake. If they are found to have been working at an event or providing services that violate the guidelines, they face a $10,000 fine per occurrence. One way the guidelines can be enforced is through the State Liquor Authority, who can show up at any point during the wedding to monitor the event and make sure guidelines are being followed. Venues must post signage regarding COVID social distancing guidelines, along with distancing markers. There is personal liability as well, if the event is being held on private property. If social distancing protocols or COVID guidelines are not followed, the property owner can also be fined.
Are masks required? During the ceremony, you do not have to wear a mask if you are socially distanced from your bridal party and officiant. Ceremony will need to resemble religious guidelines which are spaced out groupings of chairs, 5-6 chairs per row then skip a row. Guests will need to arrive with masks, can sit and take off masks, as soon as the ceremony is over all guests wear a mask again. During the ceremony, guests do not have to wear a mask if they are seated and the seating is 6 ft. apart. While transitioning from the ceremony to cocktail hour, guests must wear their masks, and can remove them while sitting. If they get up from their seat, they must put their mask back on. Masks or cloth face-covering must be worn by anyone over the age of two. If you are able to maintain a social distance of at least 6 feet, a mask is not required.
How does this apply to my Hair & Makeup? A mask must be worn during any hair and makeup styling. Some makeup artists will do your eyes and brows. Makeup artist can not do full makeup. All ladies will need to do their own foundation and lips, place mask on again and makeup artist can do the eyes. Reach out to your makeup artists for other options. Makeup artists face a $10,000 fine for providing services if you remove your mask during their services.
Can I have live music, such as a band or DJ? Yes, as long as performers are at least 12 feet from guests. Dancing by guests is prohibited.
What about dancing? Per the NYS Liquor Authority, there cannot be dancing or dance floors. You may have a First Dance and Parent Dances, but all guests would have to remain seated and the dances cannot take place within 12 feet of a guest table. Guests should be standing only for necessary reasons such as visiting the restroom, entering, and exiting. This also applies to any other games and activities.
What will guests' tables be like? There can only be a maximum of 10 people per table. Each table must be 6ft in all directions from the other tables. It is recommended that seating is done by household. Wine service at the table will not be permitted, servers will need to get a new glass of wine for guests upon request.
Can we have cocktail hour? Yes, but it will not look or feel like a normal cocktail hour. There will be no mingling or standing, and are to be seated only, even if it’s at high-top tables. If the guests seated move to another location, the table and chairs must be disinfected before another person can be seated there. There will not be any food or beverage stations, all food & drink must be passed or served buffet style. Passed appetizers will need to be in individual containers when served. All food is to be given to the guest by a server, guests are not allowed to pick up thee food & drink on their own.
What about the bar? Guests will not be able to walk up to the bar to order their beverages. They will need to have a server or bartender take their order and bring it to them. All restaurants and bars statewide must only serve alcohol to people who are ordering and eating food and that all service at bar tops must only be for seated patrons who are socially distanced by six feet or separated by physical barriers.
How about a Buffet for cocktail hour or dinner? Yes, is allowed but guests cannot serve themselves, servers must serve your guests, as guests are not allowed to touch serving utensils. Also, there must be a 6ft. social distancing between those in line at the buffet. Once a guest approaches the table, the server will retrieve a plate, take the guest’s order, then place the plate on the table in front of them for the guest to pick up. The plate is not to be directly handed to the guest to reduce contact. All silverware will be wrapped in plastic or a napkin so air cannot touch the utensils.
Photobooths? Photobooths are allowed and guests will have to be masked within the photobooth. No props allowed.
Can we visit our guests at their tables? No, there is no mingling or moving/visiting other tables. You and your guests should be standing only for necessary reasons such as use of restrooms, entering, and exiting.
What about a guestbook, place cards, or favors? No guestbooks or place cards are allowed because anything which multiple guests will touch is prohibited. Instead, an escort board or seating chart can be used. Favors such as mason jars and glasses given as favors is no longer allowed. If you wish to give them as favors, they will be given at the end of the night and are not to be used as “your glass for the night.” Koozies or anything that is to be reused during the night is prohibited and can be give out at the end of the night as a parting gift.
Hired Professionals’ Rules? Vendors will need to submit their health assessment form and there will be a timed arrival and set up for the vendors that will be staggered to ensure social distancing. All hired professionals will be masked for the entirety of your wedding. All servers will wear a mask and gloves for the entirety of your wedding. Work with your photographer to configure only smaller, immediate family groupings for portraits. Makeup artists will not be able to provide any makeup services in which you need to remove your masks.
Shuttles & Transportation? All shuttles must operate at 50% capacity.
Guests and Self-Quarantine: If you guests are traveling from the below states, they will need to self-quarantine for 14 days upon arrival to New York.
Based upon Governor Cuomo’s Executive Order 205, issued June 25, 2020, the following states and territories meet the criteria for required quarantine:
- North Carolina
- North Dakota
- Puerto Rico
- South Carolina
- South Dakota
- Virgin Islands
This is based upon a seven day rolling average, of positive tests in excess of 10%, or number of positive cases exceeding 10 per 100,000 residents.
Guest who travel by air will need to complete a DOH form prior to departing the airport. If they do not complete the form, they can be fined $2,000.
"State DOH has also issued an emergency health order mandating that all out-of-state travelers from designated states complete the DOH traveler form upon entering New York. Travelers who leave the airport without completing the form will be subject to a $2,000 fine and may be brought to a hearing and ordered to complete mandatory quarantine."
All the information has been compiled as accurately as possible. Please refer to the following resources:
Guidance for Food Services
Willful Violation of Health Laws:
Dancing, Lawn Games, Seating, Entertainment & Gathering Size:
Religious Ceremony within building:
Makeup & Hair Services:
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