The marriage tag for company is essential throughout the pandemic

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Pam Parker
| For the Erie Times news

This Valentine’s Day weekend, the Erie Times news takes a look at that most romantic commitment, marriage. Check www.GoErie.com for new articles every day through February 14, when the Sunday Living section of the Times News is devoted solely to brides, grooms, and pandemic supporters.

Etiquette has taken on a new meaning in weddings over the past year. There are some considerations when you are an invited guest at a wedding.

Communicate with the engaged couple

With all the challenges COVID-19 has created for social situations, Brides.com suggests that couples set up websites and stay in touch with guests for news, changes, and expectations regarding the wedding venues. Here the engaged couple can also share their preferences in social media posts and photos.

If you are not familiar with digital technology, give the engaged couple or family a call to make sure you know what to expect so that you are not surprised when you arrive.

Know the rules in churches

For religious ceremonies, Deacon Steve Washek, executive director of the Office for Faith Education of the Catholic Diocese of Erie, said churches have specific rules, including a one-third capacity for celebrations. Guests are required to wear masks and sitting requires social distancing in any other bank.

Washek said couples were creative last summer when some were holding weddings but had to cancel receptions.

“We had some really nice things happened. One couple was holding a champagne toast with the family in the parking lot, and another had a small reception for the bridal shower. There are some very special things that can take place in a relaxed atmosphere, ”he said.

A champagne toast can still take place at a wedding if the COVID-19 guidelines are followed.

Reception rules to remind you

At the front desk, Cyndi Driver, Founder of Erie Pop Up Wedding & Events, said guests and couples must follow guidelines from the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention, as well as state and local mandates. Couples must also personally communicate expectations to guests.

More: We do – but we can’t. COVID-19 has changed everything about weddings

“It’s constantly being updated,” said Driver. “But we really didn’t have any problems with couples or guests at all.”

Masks are a must during reception.

Driver said there are a variety of things couples have done over the past year to keep guests safe. Wearing masks is a given, but placing decorative hygiene stations throughout the venue and offering guests color-coded wristbands that indicate a level of comfort in getting to know each other are novel ideas. For example, a color may indicate that a guest is okay with chatting at the appropriate social distance, but others may not want someone 6 feet or more to be in contact.

The rules for outdoor venues are more lenient than indoor, but the guidelines can affect everything from catering to dancing to the number of people at tables.

“You have to make sure that there is a level of comfort for everyone,” said driver.

The trend, she added, is that the gatherings are much smaller, averaging 125 guests, but she has hosted weddings for 10 people and a few hundred people.

“Brides loved small, intimate weddings because memories of people mattered,” she said.

Brides.com encourages guests to check in with the engaged couple before agreeing to a wedding. As a guest, if you feel uncomfortable with anything, you may not want to attend.

Understand the invitation

Even in times without COVID-19, it is important to understand who is invited to the wedding and the reception. In some cases, the wedding can only be a family while the reception is open to a group.

Another important note is that individual guests are not automatically offered a Plus-One invitation. Finally, don’t assume your children are invited to the wedding or reception unless specifically stated on the invitation.

If you are on a restricted diet

Most caterers can handle special requests, but check with the engaged couple beforehand so they know what options to expect, advises Brides.com. Do well before the big day.

Be a good guest

Given the added stress of a pandemic, understanding a couple’s decision to have a celebration with family and friends is important. If you are not happy with the plans and do not want to attend, you can still show your support and appreciation by sending a card or gift.