I am so excited to be getting married next June, and being a person who loves to plan thoroughly and early, my plans are well underway. Being in the process of finalizing guest list, writing invitations, and editing my wedding website over and over again, a big piece of wording I have really focused on is how to ask (or in my case tell in the clearest and most polite way possible) my guests to be vaccinated.
I have many reasons for this rule, but baseline, it really is going to make the day itself joyful and less stressful overall. I'm lucky and either know or have good reason to believe my guests are vaccinated already. But I still struggled with the best way to say it, when to say it, where to say it, etc.
So I want to share what I've done and some thoughts from conversations with friends in the hopes that it may normalize the vaccination question and help other folx who are planning a vaccinated wedding!
Where to tell guests about wedding COVID vaccination rules
I decided that the best way for me to tell guests we're requiring vaccines for attendance was at the top of my RSVP page on my wedding website. It's not immediately in anyone's face the second they receive their invitation, but it's the first thing they see when they go to RSVP. It's also among some other important info on how to RSVP so as not to make it the “biggest deal”.
Overall, I tried to go positive, assume the best of people, and emphasize that they're actively making our day even better.
Here's the wording I used about vaccines:
At the time of our wedding, we will be living in a post-pandemic world, and the bride and groom are committed to keeping it that way. You are one of many loved ones joining us. Thank you for making our big, beautiful party safe, carefree, and revelatory for everyone by being fully vaccinated and keeping up with any boosters that may or may not be recommended over this next year.
If you are traveling internationally and/or to an area with a known variant against which your vaccine is not proven 80% effective, please only attend if you will have been in a safe area again for at least 2 weeks prior to coming to Seattle. As of now, vaccines are approved for 12 and older, and we expect that they will be approved for our few named younger guests as well before summer of 2022.
If you are not vaccinated, please RSVP “I am not coming” (we'll miss you) or reach out to us directly before you RSVP. Having everyone safely vaccinated is very important to us. Stay safe, and we are so excited to party!!!
How to word your RSVPs making it really clear that you're requiring COVID vaccinations for guests
For my peace of mind and for clarity, I also made the language on our RSVP form reflect the need for vaccines. The first question of attendance has only two answers:
- Vaccinated and attending
- Not attending
I feel fairly confident that requiring guests to be fully vaccinated will not be an issue for my guest list. However, I know this is not the case for everyone….
How to talk to guests who decline to get the COVID vaccine
I have friends getting married this winter who want to ask guests to be vaccinated, but one spouse-to-be has a big chunk of family who “Can't be bothered” to get vaccinated. This completely sucks and is causing the couple a lot of stress, because it makes them afraid to even talk about the issue with their closest friends and family.
But they're working on an email to address it.
We came up with a few ideas for how to talk with wedding guests who are resistant to getting vaccinated :
- Emphasize that getting vaccinated means no one needs to look silly in a mask — use some humor with that!
- Frame getting vaccinated as something that, even if they don't want to do it for themselves, they are doing for other guests who can't get vaccinated due to allergies or age. Be sure to bring up the well-being of children if they're attending! This can be really helpful.
- Be vulnerable and honest (which I know is not always easy, depending on your family dynamic) and let them know why it's important to you on your special day that they do this for you. Emphasize how much it will make your wedding day joyful and less stressful.
- Be respectful but matter-of-fact by giving them an out if they need it, one that acknowledges that if they choose not to vaccinate, they choose not to attend. Make it clear that while you will miss them dearly, this is the best solution.
Make it easy for guests to decline without judgment!
Make declining a your wedding invitation judgement-free, and nothing more than declining to attend the wedding. This way, no one feels like they need to out themselves and specify that they aren't attending because of the vaccination requirement. Again, check the wording from my RSVPs:
- Vaccinated & attending
- Not attending
If there are people who won't vaccinate but who need to be there or you'd like to encourage but don't want to require, just communicate to other guests who this might impact – there are plenty of guests (like me!) who would just like to be aware of general vaccination rates for the large event they are attending.
Addressing vaccination with your wedding guests is not an easy conversation, but I hope this post helps some people attempting that journey! Most important is deciding what's going to make you feel the safest, most joyful, most responsible, and most inclusive on your wedding day. Give grace to your guests that, overall, they want what's best for you, and you can ask for it.
Looking for more wedding invitation wording ideas for when you're requiring wedding guests to be vaccinated?
If you're requiring your guests to be vaccinated, how are you talking to folks about it?
Leave a comment so we can compare notes.