Updated: Jan 5, 2022
This single question for wedding and event planning has caused more family beef and broken bottles (West Side Story Style) than any other over the last two years: should we mask up at our events? Every camp is represented in this question:
- "The CDC Wait n See": "Maybe the government will lift the mandate 24 hours before our wedding"
- I'm Gangsta: "Nothing is going to happen"
- WEAR YOUR MASK OR ELSE: "If you don't wear you masks, you're going to kill grandma."
And naturally, there were variations of these camps from 2020 to the end of 2021. But what is a person do to when deciding on which direction to go?
Well as started drafting this blog question for posting, I said that I was going to straight offer my opinion, good - bad & ugly. But then I realized as a service provider, it's not my place. Therefore I think it behooves me to simply ask questions that will help give clarity to your feelings.
1) Is having a mask photographed on your special day DURING Covid-19 a big deal?
We've played events where the answer was HELL YES IT IS! Fair enough! But then I ask, if your wedding turned into a super spreader event that's nationally televised for internet history, are you willing to run that risk with your guests and loved ones? If still HELL YEA, go for it.
(Photo Credit: NBC)
2) Are you willing to move your celebration to another state if the venue refuses to "look the other way"?
I'm forever blown away by friends/clients of ours who did that exactly. And I love them for their conviction. New York State definitely placed undue pressure on venues enforcing the Mask/non-dancing policy. So they felt their vision was being compromised. Given that they actually lived several states over from their native upstate region, they asked their hardcore contingent family/friends and band (Soul Session) if we'd make the trip. We did...great party and nothing happened.
3) What if guests are not comfortable being locked in the box with other who refuse to wear masks?
This one is tricky as you can imagine, but not insurmountable. Some of our clients (Sisters and Brothers) went to great lengths ahead of the celebration/events to let them know the plan of action: Special monogram masks, lounge escape areas when immediate outside access wasn't possible, open doors with special fleece blankets, and more alcohol (hey!!).
When you rundown your checklist on what's important, does having a maskless event get in the way? Only you can answer that question after you screen it through the "end-user experience." This decision will have direct impact of guest comfort and their ability to "let go" without drama several days later. And if they're down for whatever, go for it and be as safe as possible. But if you REQUIRE MASKS, be an unapologetic ass**** and ask your people to rock your pimped out mask throughout the event.
The one thing I will suggest as your consigliere is DON'T WAIT FOR THE CDC OR UNTIL THE LAST MINUTE. Over a beverage of choice, get together with your family and game plan your options MONTHS BEFORE your event. Literally CALL all of your guests individually and pose the question about their comfort. This does two things:
- Accurate Guest Count
- Let's them know that you actually care about their feelings on this important issue
Then make the early decision and move on. Don't think about it again. Both directions will require you to make logistical considerations that require time to prepare with venues, guests, and aesthetic. Trust me, stressing this question will take all the fun out of the journey.
Either way, please be safe and have maximum fun. To Mask or Not To Mask.... (insert your answer here). If anyone reading this has suggestions on managing this question, community input is appreciated.... just keep it PG (lol).