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Your wedding during the Coronavirus crisis COVID-19

Your wedding and Coronavirus : A resourceful guide (UPDATED: Jan 19th, 2022)

For you and other couples looking for guidance about your Minnesota wedding during the coronavirus crisis (or anywhere really!), I made this with the information I have learned and with the confidence that we can all get past this and go back to dancing and celebrating with our loved ones!

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Are weddings allowed in Minnesota?

Here is some  guidance on how your event is affected by the current restrictions in Minnesota.

(Original texts and previous updates removed)

Official Minnesota Updates on 1/19/2022: Mask Mandates

Effective January 19, 2022, Minneapolis Mayor Frey  and  Mayor Calvin have issued emergency mandates

  1.  Vaccination Mandate in the City of Minneapolis is applicable where food and/or drink is sold or served indoors for consumption onsite . Proof of a Completed Vaccination Series against COVID-19 occurring at least two weeks prior to entry, OR proof of a negative COVID-19 PCR or antigen test conducted by a medical professional from a sample that was collected from such person within three calendar days prior to the person’s entry.

  2. Mask Mandate in both Minneapolis and St Paul. All individuals, regardless of vaccination status, must wear a Medical-Grade Mask or Cloth Face Covering while not actively engaged in eating and/or drinking onsite.

  3. All employers of businesses that are spaces of public accommodation subject to this Regulation shall require their employees, regardless of vaccination status, to wear a Medical-Grade Mask or Cloth Face Covering whenever such employees have face-to-face contact with the public.

  4. Children under age five, who cannot be tested easily for COVID-19, are not subject to this Regulation.

  5. Other Cities have applied Mask mandates: Rochester, Minnetonka, Duluth, Hopkins and Golden Valley.

Minnesota Updates on 5/13/2021  

  •  People in Minnesota are no longer required to wear a mask in all settings. Please check rules in individual cities and private businesses. All people who have not been vaccinated are strongly encouraged to wear a face covering 
  • Effective May 7, all outdoor businesses are no longer subject to occupancy limits or distancing requirements. Outdoors, face coverings for patrons are required only in venues with more than 500 people in attendance. The mandatory closing time has been eliminated. Tables can be 10 people starting at 12 pm. Distancing and capacity still apply.
  • Starting May 28, businesses will no longer be subject to occupancy limits, distancing or other sector-specific requirements such as only serving food when seated, including indoor events and gatherings and need follow only the  Universal Guidance and face covering requirements.
  • July 1st or before: Mask Mandate ends, takes place once 70% age 16 years of older get at least one dose of vaccine. Remaining face covering mandates and requirements for preparedness plans ends. Local jurisdictions , cities or business may set their own policies.
  • For other states, please check on current orders and capacity restrictions of your state, as well as  CDC recommendations for canceling events of any size with COVID-19 cases in your community.

Minnesota Updates May 7th, 2021

Beginning May 7th, 2021:

  • Capacity limits  social distancing for indoor events are still in effect through May 27th

  • Capacity limits + masks for outdoor events are removed except at larger venues with over 500 people

  • Eliminates the state-established mandatory closing time for food & beverage service

  • Table counts can be 10 people per table max.

  • Food & beverage must still be consumed only when seated

Beginning May 28th, 2021:

  • Remaining capacity limits + social distancing come to and end for indoor events

  • Masks must still be worn for indoor events

  • Food & beverage consumption while seated no longer applies

No later than July 1st, 2021:

  • Mask mandate ends

Minnesota Updates March 15th, 2021:

  • Wedding ceremonies can be held without capacity restrictions. Social distancing of 6’ must be maintained and masks are required indoors.
  • Wedding receptions taking place at most venues are limited to 50% with up to a maximum of 250 people and must end by 11pm. Social distancing of 6’ must be maintained. Masks are required indoors (with the exception of eating or drinking). Guests must remain seated while eating and/or drinking. For seating purposes, 6 guests per table are allowed.
  • Private residence gatherings (i.e., backyard weddings) are limited to 15 people indoors and 50 people outdoors.

Minnesota Updates February 13th, 2021:

  • Indoor and outdoor wedding receptions taking place at a venue (which include food and beverage) are limited to 25% with up to a maximum of 50 people and must end by 10:59pm. Social distancing of 6’ must be maintained.
  • Masks are required indoors (with the exception of eating or drinking).
  • Wedding receptions taking place at a private residence (i.e. backyard wedding) are still limited to no more than 2 households indoors (up to a maximum of 10 people) and no more than 3 households outdoors (up to a maximum of 15 people).
  • Wedding ceremonies are still limited to 50% capacity of the venue. Social distancing of 6’ and masks are required indoors.

Minnesota Updates Jan 11th, 2021

Indoor wedding receptions (which include food and beverage) may not exceed 2 households (or 10 people). Outdoor wedding receptions (including food and beverage) may not exceed 3 households (or 15 people). Wedding ceremonies are allowed at up to 50% capacity of the venue.

Minnesota Updates Dec 16th, 2020 

Wedding receptions continue to be forbid through Sunday, January 10th, 2021 at 11:59pm. Wedding ceremonies continue to still be OK but must adhere to social distancing, 50% max.capacity (indoor) and face masks must be worn at all times.

Minnesota Updates November 18th, 2020

  • Beginning Friday November 20th at 11:59PM until December 18th at 11:50PM, wedding receptions are not allowed.
  • Wedding Ceremonies are allowed with  social distancing, 50% max.capacity (indoor) and face masks .

Minnesota Updates November 2020

Capacity restrictions in Minnesota Wedding Receptions Only:

  • As of November 27th, weddings may not exceed 50 guests

  • As of December 11th, weddings may not exceed 25 guests

  • Wedding receptions must conclude by 10:00PM.

  • Capacity restrictions don’t apply to ceremonies.

Minnesota Updates October 5th, 2020 

Dancing at weddings and events is not recommended. If you do choose to have dancing as part of your event, there are some precautions you can take to maximize safety for those in attendance. Everyone must wear  face coverings .

Minnesota Updates September 18th, 2020 

  • Group photos should be taken outside if at all possible.

  • If indoors,  people will need be separated to allow for as much social distancing as possible.

  • People should wear masks as they get into position and keep the mask on until the photographer provides a command to remove masks and take the photo.

Minnesota Updates July 30th 2020:

Social Gatherings  in private homes are subject to the social gathering limits in Executive Order 20-74 of 10 indoors and 25 outdoors. Unless the home regularly functions as an event space or venue, events larger than that in a private home are not allowed, even with a COVID-19 Preparedness Plan completed by the homeowner or event planner.

Minnesota Updates July 25th, 2020  

Face covering:

Starting July 25th, people in Minnesota are required to wear a face covering in all indoor business and public space. Workers are required to wear a face covering when working outdoors in situations where social distancing cannot be maintained.

Minnesota Updates June 10th, 2020 

• Weddings (ceremony only) can operate at a 50% capacity , max of 250 guests. Guests must also follow 6’ social distancing and face coverings are strongly encouraged.

• Indoor weddings , ceremony and receptions where food and beverage are consumed, can operate at a 25% capacity with a maximum of 250 guests. Guests must also follow  6’ social distancing and face coverings are strongly encouraged.

• Outdoor weddings , with ceremony and reception can operate with a maximum capacity of 250 guests. Guests must also follow  6’ social distancing and face covertings are strongly encouraged.

Minnesota Updates May 27th, 2020 

  • Wedding ceremonies may take place with increased guest counts:
  • In indoor settings, occupancy must not exceed 25% of total occupancy with a maximum of 250 people in a single self-contained space. In outdoor settings, gatherings must not exceed 250 people. Please note that  this does not apply to wedding receptions. The consumption of food and beverage is prohibited.
  • Social gatherings, such as a wedding reception, continue to be limited to 10 people.

Minnesota Updates May 20th , 2020

Stay Safe MN  explains four phases in which we are currently in Phase I through the end of May. Beginning June 1st, we will begin Phase II. In both of these Phases, weddings or events (social gatherings) are permitted with 10 people or less. Beginning in Phase III,  indoor weddings and events (social gatherings) may have up to 20 guests, whereas outdoor weddings and events (social gatherings) may have up to 100 guests.

Health and Safety Protocols for your wedding

If you are considering keeping the wedding as planned , I suggest creating a safety and health “protocol” for your event as well as a backup plan.

  • Safety Worldwide Follow CDC guidelines for public gatherings and local government orders for social distancing and events
  • Minnesota guidance on how to stay safe on social gathering.
  • Stay home Tell your guests to stay home if they have any symptoms or have been in contact with someone that has symptoms
  • Hand Sanitation If you can’t provide additional hand washing stations , alcohol-based hand sanitizers can work in a pinch. Setting a hand sanitizer station for indoor and outdoor events is recommended
  • Face Masks  Provide guests them with cloth/ disposable masks so they can use them
  • Supplies Make sure you or your venue can provide plenty of soap, water, hand sanitizer containing at least 60 percent alcohol, paper towels, tissues, and no-touch trash cans.
  • Signage An information and cute sign including reminders for Handwashing, covering sneezes and keeping your mask on will help everyone remember to stay safe

COVID-19 and weddings postponements

The coronavirus disrupted many weddings, showers, parties, engagements, everything! With many guests traveling, couples have been trying to decide if they should postpone or cancel.

Most of us, venues and vendors, are being flexible to reschedule ! Try to think of rescheduling rather than a complete cancellation to avoid losing out on deposits .

Many couples have decided to have a smaller ceremony, leaving the big reception for a later date. Others are rescheduling to the following year, or simplifying their wedding to have it be safe for everyone (including streaming video of the event!)

 

Health and Safety Protocols when keeping your wedding

If you are considering keeping the wedding as planned , I suggest creating a safety and health “protocol” for your event as well as a backup plan.

  • Safety Worldwide Follow CDC guidelines for public gatherings and local government orders for social distancing and events
  • Minnesota guidance on how to stay safe on social gathering.
  • Social Distancing Social Distance is still recommended
  • Stay home Tell your guests to stay home if they have any symptoms or have been in contact with someone that has symptoms
  • Hand Washing Hand washing and sanitizing is THE most effective way to protect yourself, aside from physical distancing and mask usage.
  • Hand Sanitation If you can’t provide additional hand washing stations , alcohol-based hand sanitizers can work in a pinch. Setting a hand sanitizer station for indoor and outdoor events is recommended
  • Cloth Face Masks Mask are currently mandatory . Provide guests them with cloth/ disposable masks or even better get your DIY on!
  • Respiratory Etiquette Encourage attendees to cover coughs and sneezes
  • Supplies Make sure you or your venue can provide plenty of soap, water, hand sanitizer containing at least 60 percent alcohol, paper towels, tissues, and no-touch trash cans.
  • Signage An information and cute sign including reminders for Handwashing, covering sneezes and keeping your mask on will help everyone remember to stay safe
  • Layout  You can only have 6 guests maximum at standard 72″ round tables if they are living in the same household. If they are not living in the same household, that number is 4 maximum.
  • Catering Check with your caterer about buffet serving . No type of self-service is permitted, this includes food, coffee stations, passed hors d’oeuvres, and wedding cake/desserts set on serving tables.
  • Bands are allowed but must maintain social distancing.

COVID-19 considerations to have in mind :

  • What area are you in?
  • Is your Wedding venue open/ closed at the moment?
  • Is your wedding going to be Indoors or Outdoors?
  • Wedding vendors postponing policies and available dates.
  • How many guests are you expecting?
  • Are there key wedding party members who need to travel?
  • How many of your guests are going to have to travel to attend your wedding?
  • Are there any high risk loved ones on your guest list who should consider staying at home?

With all the information “on the table”, you can look at all the options you have and you can decide whether to move forward or not.  If any of these are worrying you both, my recommendation is to make a backup plan IN CASE you have to postpone your wedding.

Backup Plans

When thinking about your wedding and the coronavirus,  is very important to have a plan in place. If your wedding is after June you might still be able to have your wedding – even then, create a backup plan!  Here are a few ideas in no particular order:

  • Change your wedding to be just a smaller ceremony & reception
  • Modify your wedding to be a smaller outdoor ceremony & reception
  • Move your wedding to be a smaller backyard ceremony & reception
  • Have just an intimate wedding ceremony and do the reception later
  • Ask guests to let you know if they will be able to attend and adjust the numbers.
  • Downsize your wedding guest list
  • Downsize to just immediate family members and bridal party with you
  • Create a guest list of 10, another of 25 and another of 50
  • Create a soft backup date with your venue and most important vendors
  • Call and email your vendors and ask about their rescheduling policy and availability for backup dates
  • Get married at the courthouse and postpone everything
  • Postpone everything until 2021

Even for small weddings or if you postpone your date consider the importance of photographing these moments. Many venues and photographers like me offer  Small Wedding Photography Packages .

Here are ways to keep your wedding date and make sure to involve everyone in someway

  • Video Broadcast your wedding online for guests who can’t make it.
  • Drive in Have your guests do a drive in parade to congratulate you!

Rescheduling / Postponing Your Wedding date during the Coronavirus

As vendors, and friends, we understand the heartbreak it is to consider rescheduling in any scenario!   I recommend you consult with your venue (or venues) as they will assessed how these restrictions affect them particularly already, as well as having a plan!

First of all, I know this isn’t easy! I know how much effort and money goes into planning a wedding! In an effort to be helpful I put together these steps from what I have learned – A few of my couples were impacted in the early days of the pandemic and neither of us knew what to do .

  • “Make the call” Together with your partner make the decision on whether to postpone
  • Check on your loved ones – How is everyone in your close family feeling about it, are they able to attend later, are they healthy?
  • Breathe: These times are new and complicated for everybody so brace yourselves, together, for the challenges and feelings that comes with the decision Allow yourself to feel all the feels.
  • Contact your venue-  Find out your wedding venue’s contract policies and availability for possibly rescheduling.
  • Reach out to other important vendors: Once you’ve confirmed availability for a date, you’ll want to call the photographer and other important vendors like officiant, music, caterer, florist, etc.  Think first of the vendors who can only do one wedding per day .
  • Pick a date ! This sounds easier said than done – Be flexible around dates of the week!  If you can find one date that overlaps with  most of your vendor team, you should try to lock it down ASAP.

Letting your guests know of the changes

If you choose to have a smaller ceremony and need to have fewer guests, you will want to let your guests your event is not happening as planned and you are having to do a small ceremony instead. People will understand as everyone is informed about the COVID-19 crisis.

You can make your small wedding ceremony special by recording a video to play at your reception later or even streaming it to your guests! Read all about streaming your wedding here.

  • Email is okay! Here is an email template.
  • Facebook message: A Facebook post is also OK! You can include a photo of your original invitation or a photo of you two.
  • Couples have been sending ” change the dates ”  cards , bride and designer  Mara Albert made these available to share and makes custom ones.

Will I lose my retainer if I postpone my wedding?

Is no secret that weddings involve a lot of money and that rescheduling will probably mean you will have some financial burdens to think about, for this reason, I expanded my rescheduling policy to make it more flexible for all of my couples. If couples choose to postpone their wedding because of COVID-19, I have requested them to share with me the alternate dates provided to them by their venue so that we can find a date that is mutually convenient for as many vendors as possible to avoid any rescheduling fees.

Can I ask my guests to be vaccinated?

Yes, you can! Being a private event you can request your guests to be vaccinated, and to wear a mask if they are not .


If you are planning your 2022 wedding or just starting to plan

Now is a good time to have a planner to help. 2022 wedding dates are being booked  like crazy and consultations are being held online. Virtual expos are happening too !

 Try to stay positive and follow good news. It’s an exciting thing to get married to your best friend! Think of the music you will want to play and dream on what your ceremony vows will be!

couple looking away to the river during their small ceremony

More useful links for Weddings impacted by the CoronaVirus – COVID-19

Minnesota Facebook Support Group for Covid Couples

How to Postpone Your Wedding Amid the COVID-19 Pandemic by TheKnot.com

A Guide to Postponing Your Wedding by Ruffled Blog

The Coronavirus and your wedding by The Budget Savvy Bride

Should You consider postponing your wedding due to COVID-19 by Style Me Pretty

What you need to know about coronavirus and your wedding by Martha Steward weddings

Top questions about coronavirus right now by Brides.com

Postponing your wedding: A step by step guide by Budget Savvy Bride

Coronavirus wedding planning: Advice on postponing and canceling via Equally Wed

The 12 Best Change the Date Cards to Send If Your Wedding is Postponed on Brides.com

If you are planning your 2022 wedding or just starting to plan

Now is a good time to have a planner to help. 2022 wedding dates are being booked  like crazy and consultations are crazy too 🙂

 Try to stay positive and follow good news. It’s an exciting thing to get married to your best friend! Think of the music you will want to play and dream on what your ceremony vows will be!

Personal update

If you are one of my current couples, and have questions we haven’t talked about yet, reach out anytime and I will help you navigate your current situation and share in detail my action plan.  I am fully vaccinating and taking precautions as well, just excited about the events and sessions I have on my calendar.

I cannot wait to see you and your loved ones soon ! 

Feel free to email me or reach out if there is anything else I can do to help!

Resources to have:

– CDC recommendations for events

– The State of Minnnesota COVID-19 Website

– MN announcements and orders

– The White House nationwide federal guidelines

– The Minnesota Department of Health’s website.

– The City of Minneapolis Coronavirus Website

– The World Health Organization’s Coronavirus Website

More useful links for Weddings impacted by the CoronaVirus – COVID-19

Minnesota Facebook Support Group for Covid Couples

Laura Alpizar Photography recommends all to adhere to CDC regulations and guidelines put in place by local and national governments! 

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I'M LAURA.

I document real life true love stories for the outdoor lovers, dance party initiators, and the ones who still believe in magic.

I anticipate and capture the candid moments full of emotion on your day, as well as guide you to the most natural portraits to create truly beautiful and honest images. These are the images that will become your first family treasures. 


Hola!

wedding experience

I am in love with people and the connections that bring us together

Documenting the pure joy of family and friends together
and all the candid moments in between. 

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