What Weddings in Connecticut Look Like Because of Coronavirus

Updated: Nov 3

UPDATED - November 3, 2020

(If you're a Massachusetts wedding couple of mine this advice all still applies to you, with a special note for you at the bottom 😘)

It's no surprise that the wedding season for 2020 has been completely forked up for couples and wedding vendors alike. After an abrupt shutdown of pretty much everything in early March, it wasn't clear when weddings would be able to happen again. Then, the Connecticut State Government started teasing a phased reopening but was mum about any of the details past Phase Throughout 2020 we've been released different stages of different phases of the Connecticut Reopening plan, what it looks like and how it might influence weddings, which caused many couples to continue postponing their weddings until 2021 or drastically change their 2020 wedding plans. Governor Lamont recently released details for Phase 2.1 which begins on November 6th, so it's time for an update on what the guidelines look like and how they affect weddings.

First: what we know.

Each phase to be implemented will only be triggered by reaching key data metrics from testing & hospitalizations. The greater New York/New England area has been doing a good job keeping our Covid-19 recovery on track after what was definitely a pretty horrific pandemic for us, so we should all take a minute to appreciate that. We entered Phase 2 in two different stages in the early summer and even with what was considered a pretty aggressive reopening at the time, Connecticut (until recently) has managed to keep it's Covid cases and deaths pretty low/stable. As of late October, cases are seeing a small rise, so we should all stay vigilant so that we can save lives and our spring event season can try to stay on track. ❤


These are the previous details for Phase 2 weddings/gatherings:

  • Indoor weddings: limited to 25 people

  • Outdoor weddings: limited to 100 people

  • Masks are being required for all retail customers and restaurant visitors when not eating and it's safe to say this is being extended to wedding guests at most venues

NEW Phase 2.1 - EFFECTIVE NOVEMBER 6TH

  • Indoor weddings: limited to 25 people

  • Outdoor weddings: limited to 50 people

  • Governor Lamont is also requesting citizens to stay indoors 10pm - 5am, with restaurants and entertainment venues closing at 9:30p except for takeout. It's unclear how this affects weddings

  • Masks are being required for all retail customers and restaurant visitors when not eating and it's safe to say this is being extended to wedding guests at most venues

Phase 3 weddings/gatherings** was in effect October 8th - November 5th:

  • Indoor weddings at a venue: limited to 50% venue capacity OR 100 people, whichever is less (e.g. if your venue has a capacity of 100 people, you can only have 50 people)

  • Indoor weddings at a private residence: limited to 25 people

  • Outdoor weddings at a venue or private residence: limited to 150 people

  • Masks are being required for all retail customers and restaurant visitors when not eating and it's safe to say this is being extended to wedding guests at most venues

**There was a caveat to Phase 3 which was that municipalities had the authority to voluntarily revert back to Phase 2 on a hyper local level based on their localized Covid-19 infection rates, however, as more municipalities continued to be hotspots Gov. Lamont reverted the whole state back to Phase 2.1. It's unclear yet if we'll be back to a Phase 3 by the spring for the 2021 wedding season.

What couples can do to prepare

With the 2020 wedding season almost over, most 2020 couples have already made their wedding decisions based off of the original Phase 2 restrictions. For 2021 couples, the risk of Covid messing up your dream wedding is still very real for a lot of you (I know because you've been telling me it is 😉). So here are some tips to help alleviate some of your fears and help you move through planning a wedding in a pandemic.

  • Elope or go with a micro-wedding. With frustrations regarding the constantly changing guidelines and the uncertainty of the future because of them, tensions are high among many couples who are putting a lot at stake financially for traditional, bigger weddings. And with many larger venues choosing to close their ballrooms or being shut down for violating guidelines, it's easy to want to scrap the idea of a traditional wedding and just elope. Eloping today isn't what it used to be. There are many ways a couple can elope and it doesn't have to exclude your closest family and friends (hello micro-wedding!). If this sounds like something you want to explore, please reach out to me and we can talk about your wedding and how to make it happen.

  • Adjust your wedding vision for outdoors. Given that the guest counts listed above need to include all of your vendors (photographer, music, catering staff, etc) it may be hard to get everyone you want at your wedding for an indoor venue if your wedding falls during a date that is likely to be in Phase 3 (2020 fall, winter and early spring 2021) and your venue isn't a huge banquet hall. Moving your wedding to be outdoors is the first of a few good options to help you keep your date, your guest list and your vendor team. Plus, backyard weddings are super fun and making a big splash this year!

  • Adjust your guest count. If moving the wedding outdoors is not an option for you, start making different lists of your guests that account for a head count of 50, 75, 100, etc. Be sure to include your vendors (like me, your catering staff, etc) in your headcount. If your wedding is a huge banquet hall, ask them what the maximum head count is going to be based on the capacity and start crunching your numbers with vendors and your guest list. You can also read this post from my wedding planner friend Chelsea at Pearl Weddings & Events about why micro-weddings are amazing.

  • Video. If you do reduce your guest count, use the money you're saving there to hire a videographer so you can share a highlight video with the guests who couldn't make it, or figure out how to do a livestream of the ceremony!

  • Safety First! At the weddings I've been working this summer and fall there have been a lot of cute hand sanitizer and mask stations. Guests have been encouraged to wear masks as much as possible and there has been some really amazing mask fashion being sported by the bride and groom as well as the wedding party!

  • Use your wedding website. Get the word out to guests about what's going on, let them know when they can expect to see an update about if your date is being moved, and let guests know if you have to make tough decisions about adjusting the guests count and how to find out if they're on there or not. Guests will be understanding in these circumstances and many of them are probably feeling apprehensive about attending a large event.

  • Postponement. This is still a viable option for you and I'm willing to work with you. Even though we're doing really well with our recovery efforts and there's the travel advisory, it's scary to think there might be a severe second wave that puts us back to where we were in March and the future feels uncertain. I don't blame anyone who wants to play it safe and postpone. The Governor has said in the past that if there's a flare up he will shut things down again and we'll be back to square one, so it is a very real possibility that we won't be into Phase 4 by the spring. If you need help figuring out how to postpone or when to make the decision, check out this blog post with some helpful tips.

Dear Massachusetts Couples,

The MA reopening plan at this stage is much more detailed and transparent. Weddings are listed under Phase 3 with the notation, "with moderate capacity," And as of July 2nd the state was in Phase 3. Outdoor weddings are limited to 50 or 100 people depending on the venue type and indoor weddings are limited to 25 people. Governor Baker has made it clear that this is as far as he's willing to go right now before a vaccine is made available, so weddings in Mass. are going to be looking quite different and with smaller guest counts for quite a long time.

If you're one of my couples, please do not hesitate to reach out and talk to me about your wedding. I want to be proactive with you and help you find the solution so you can have an amazing wedding day!

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© 2020 by Emma Thurgood | New Britain, Connecticut