7 in 10 Wedding Guests Want to Know COVID-19 Safety Plans Before They RSVP

7 in 10 Wedding Guests Want to Know COVID-19 Safety Plans Before They RSVP

25% skipping ceremonies entirely because of pandemic
A socially distanced wedding

Couples planning their weddings may not only have to adjust their celebrations to the coronavirus pandemic, but they may have to address their potential guests’ fears.

More than 70% of consumers who planned to attend a wedding through the end of 2020 said they wanted information about the health and safety precautions that wedding organizers would be taking before they RSVP, according to a new study by wedding website The Knot.

While 1 in 4 guests said they have chosen to avoid weddings completely due to pandemic fears, others want to celebrate with loved ones in person — but in a cautious way.

Guests want reassurances

Since the pandemic began, couples planning to wed have had to change the way they approached the festivities. Even some pre-wedding festivities like bachelor and bachelorette parties have been rescheduled or reimagined to incorporate social distancing.

When it comes to the wedding itself, nearly two-thirds of guests (63%) want to know whether masks will be required. Also:

  • 60% want to know the estimated guest count
  • 58% want to know the wedding’s location
  • 56% want to know whether social distancing will be enforced

More than a third want to know where other guests will be traveling from, possibly to determine whether guests will be arriving from areas of the country that are experiencing significant COVID-19 outbreaks.

A majority of respondents (75%) would feel safest at an outdoor wedding with fewer than 25 people in attendance. Half of respondents said they would be OK with about 75 attendees at an outdoor wedding. Other guest preferences include:

  • Plated dinners (64%)
  • Assigned seating (50%)

Masks increase guests’ comfort level

Two-thirds of guests (66%) said they believed masks should be required, though 8 in 10 said they would be OK with masks being removed for brief periods during the celebration. For example, 49% said they felt comfortable with masks being removed for eating and drinking.

However, some opinions varied by age, as those 40 and older were less comfortable with the idea of masks being removed than those ages 18 to 34.

Wedding guests also believe certain measures should be enforced by the wedding organizers:

  • 69% believe staff should be required to wear masks
  • 67% believe hand sanitizer should be provided by the venue
  • 64% believe seats should be spaced out to account for social distancing

The survey did find some disagreement over who should be most responsible for ensuring that health and safety protocols were followed.

Nearly half of guests (47%) believed the venue’s staff should be responsible for enforcing the protocols, while 44% believed the couple or the couple’s family should be responsible. However, among couples getting married, 37% said guests should self-monitor and follow the health and safety rules on their own, while 31% said the venue’s staff should be in charge of enforcing health protocols as part of wedding costs.

Methodology: The Knot commissioned a survey of 771 adults between the ages of 18 and 54 who had planned to attend at least one wedding from April through December 2020. The survey was conducted in August and September 2020.

Tamara E. Holmes

Tamara E. Holmes is a Washington, DC-based writer who covers personal finance, entrepreneurship and careers.