Updated! Wedding Ceremony and Reception COVID-19 Requirements in Washington State

Wedding ceremony and reception guidance for Washington State during COVID-19.

Wedding Reception Guidelines Covid_Amelia Soper Photography.jpg

UPDATED 11.16.20

In order to slow the spread of rapidly increasing COVID cases in our state and ensure that hospital and medical systems are not overwhelmed, Governor Inslee updated Washington State’s COVID 19 Statewide Restrictions . Here’s what that means for weddings now through December 14th:

  • Wedding ceremonies & funerals can continue for groups of up to 30

  • Indoor receptions are prohibited (at this time, the documents released by the Governor’s office only expressly prohibits indoor receptions.)

  • Masks must be worn at all times

Our partners and advocates at WSWEA are continuing to advocate for the wedding industry and update our community as they learn more. Their goals are focused on moving the needle enough to build confidence for our 2021 wedding and event seasons. We remain hopeful that we will find avenues working with the Governor’s office to allow our industry to reopen as we enter a new year. We will also continue to keep you updated as information is shared.

Find the complete outline of restrictions at https://www.governor.wa.gov/…/COVID%2019%20November%20State…


Governor Inslee officially reopened Wedding Ceremonies and Wedding Receptions in Washington State effective September 16, 2020, and outlined the Phase 2 and Phase 3 COVID-19 Requirements.

The update allows wedding receptions to resume, as long as they meet specific requirements outlined below. Read the full guidance document here and associated memo here.

COVID19 Phase 2 and Phase 3 Wedding Guidance for Washington State:

  • Wedding services are defined as the wedding ceremony and reception that are co-located or adjacent to the ceremony. Weddings do not include engagement parties, bridal/groom/couples’ showers, bachelorette/bachelor parties, or rehearsal dinners*.

    • *Wedding ceremony rehearsals are permitted in advance of the wedding day to practice the ceremony and review the COVID-19 safety plans of the venue and vendors, are performed within a 1-hour window of time, are limited to the couple and their wedding party, the couple’s parents, the officiant, and any necessary vendors. Face coverings are required at all times during the rehearsal. Rehearsal dinners are prohibited.

  • Receptions and ceremonies must be capped at 30 people, or 25% of venue occupancy, whichever is less for indoor or outdoor venues. This allowed headcount does not include your vendors.

  • The wedding reception is allowed for up to 3 hours.

  • Alcohol service, delivery, and consumption, including beer, wine, and spirits, must end at 10:00 p.m. No bar area seating is permitted.

  • The host of the wedding service is strongly encouraged to keep a log of attendees and to retain that log for at least two weeks. {Pro tip! Hire a service such as Butler Seattle’s COVID Compliance Ambassador to help maintain all compliance requirements and vendor & guest protocols.}

  • Ceremony seating must adhere to physical distancing requirements and have six feet of space between the seats, pews, and benches or have physical barriers between them. Members of the same household may be seated together as a single unit.

  • Reception seating during dining is limited to members of the same household when held indoors; outdoor seating does not have this same limitation. All parties and tables must be limited to five guests or less (whether indoor or outdoor).

  • Outdoor structures (tenting) are to have no more than two walls to provide appropriate ventilation.

  • Facial coverings*, maintainability of 6 feet of physical distance, and frequent hand washing during the wedding are required.

    • *The wedding couple is exempted from the face covering and six feet physical distancing requirement from each other during the ceremony as long as they maintain six feet of physical distance from all other persons.

    • *Masks are only to be removed during a period of active eating.

  • Soloists and duets and small groups of musicians such as string quartets are allowed so long as they wear a face covering. No choirs are permitted. Singing is permitted so long as all persons are wearing a mask.

  • Buffets and salad bars are permitted and must follow the Department of Health guidelines.

  • Formal first dances and parent dances are now allowed. However, only one pair/couple may dance at a time; both must be wearing masks (unless they are part of the same household) and must remain 6 feet away from other persons. No other dancing is permitted.

  • Mingling by the wedding couple and/or host is permitted to greet their guests so long as they strictly comply with the 6 feet physical distance and mask rules. Otherwise, mingling is prohibited.

  • The host/couple are permitted to have a vendor play pre-recorded music for the ceremony and reception as background music, to provide AV assistance to amplify voices for the ceremony, toasts, and other aspects of the wedding and reception, and to perform the role of Master of Ceremonies for the wedding and reception.

*The information provided here is accurate as of 9.16.20

A huge thank you to all members of the Washington State Weddings and Events Association (WSWEA), industry partners, and our supportive community for their tireless efforts to make this happen.


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