Your Wedding & COVID-19

What we know so far...

BY: Amanda Perkins, Wedding Planner

ALL WE DO IS EPIC (dot com)

This year has been filled with uncertainty, and now as we navigate through NY State's reopening plan, information - especially about weddings and other events - seems to be inconsistent. To help ease some of the confusion and uncertainty, we have compiled the following list of NYS guidelines that we believe should be considered when planning your event in the Capital Region, which as of July 1, 2020, is currently in Phase 4 of reopening.


Wedding ceremonies are limited to 33% of the ceremony venue's maximum occupancy, or fifty (50) people for services occurring outside. Wedding receptions (and all other social gatherings) are currently capped at a maximum of fifty (50) event guests. This maximum does not change with the size of your venue. Some pros are incorrectly stating that event venues fall under the '50% capacity' rule that is in place for restaurants, but per NY state, any event - even if held at a restaurant, or outside - is subject to the social gathering guidelines, including the maximum allowed guests. The only time the 50% capacity regulation comes into play with weddings is if your venue's maximum capacity is less than 100 people. For example, if the maximum capacity of your space is 60 people, your guest limit would be 30 people.


Now that the Capital Region has entered Phase 4 of reopening, most wedding services are once again allowed to operate, though some do have additional restrictions that they must adhere to:


Hairstylists and barbers can cut, color, and style your hair for your big day. Services that require you or any member of your wedding party to remove their mask (facials, waxing around lip or nose areas, makeup application, beard trimming, or shaves) are not permitted at this time unless the employee performing the service is wearing a face shield or similar barrier in addition to their face covering. Further, any pro performing such services must be tested, at least once (on or after September 3, 2020), for COVID-19 and receive a negative result prior to performing services that require removal of their client's mask.

Bands and live musicians can perform at your reception, but wedding guests must be able to distance themselves twelve (12) feet away from any singers. Guests must also maintain a six (6) foot distance from others in attendance.

Per the New York State Liquor Authority, dance floors are currently not permitted. First dances are permitted (without masks), so long as your guests remain seated, and the couple is able to distance themselves a minimum of twelve (12) feet away from guest tables.

Caterers may offer buffet dinner, only if they are not self-serve and are sufficiently staffed to ensure that no guests are touching common objects (serving spoons, tongs). They must also ensure that appropriate social distance is maintained between guests.


Bars are allowed with table service only. Your guests cannot leave their tables to walk up to the bar and get a drink. They must order from a member of staff, who will deliver their drink to them at their table.

Photographers may be limiting the amount of group formal shots that they take during your event. They may also limit 'getting ready' shots, depending on the size of the space and their ability to maintain social distance.

Please note that the AAWA values the health and safety of you, your guests, and our member pros above all else. All of our members are required to follow all NY (or VT) State guidelines at every event they are working.


In addition to the restrictions listed above for your wedding pros, your guests are also subject to additional guidelines. Many of these will be enforced by your pros, as their licenses are on the line if guests refuse to comply:

Guests must maintain appropriate social distance at all times (when not seated) during your event, and should remain seated unless necessary (trips to the bathroom, entering, exiting, etc).

When guests are not seated at their tables, they must cover their nose and mouth with a mask or cloth face-covering.

Guests will be encouraged to remain seated during the celebratory events of your reception, including but not limited to, first dances, cake cutting, toasts, etc.

Guests traveling from out-of-state are responsible for checking if their state is on NY's mandatory quarantine list before traveling, and make or change arrangements to self-quarantine for 14 days before your event.


Obviously, this is not an exhaustive list, as new information is continuously being released, and old information is being clarified everyday. But we want all our couples to know that we are hard at work everyday trying to get the most accurate and up-to-date information to pass along to you. Please keep an eye on this page for updates, and feel free to email us at with any specific questions you may have about your event.