As larger weddings become possible around the country, wedding planners say the COVID-19 vaccination status of attendees has become an important talking point.
Alexandra Slawek of Boutiq Weddings and Events in Calgary said some of her clients have said they only want attendees who are at least partially vaccinated, and expects that more people will specify that requirement on invitations.
"It seems to be the trend right now, people still seem to be scared," particularly of the Delta variant of the virus, said Slawek
"A lot of weddings have websites now, I wouldn't be surprised if they put it as an asterisk on the website to please make sure you're vaccinated before accepting the invitation."
Meanwhile, Lynn Fletcher, founder of Lynn Fletcher Weddings in Calgary, said her clients definitely want their attendees to be vaccinated, but haven't gone as far as making it a hard rule.
"I’ve definitely seen and heard a lot of clients talking informally and spreading word that way," said Fletcher.
She said some clients are eager to get married after having had to postpone the big day three or four times.
"So they’re really taking everything seriously."
For people who aren't vaccinated, Fletcher said her clients have been willing to make some compromises, such as asking that those attendees get tested before the event.
She said unvaccinated people have been receptive to those compromises, especially since people are desperate for social interaction after being physically distant for so long.
Both planners say they've often been asked about their own vaccination status, and Fletcher said her plan is to ensure that any unvaccinated vendors at the wedding are required to wear masks and be tested before the event.
"We'll probably wear masks anyway, especially for July while everybody is dipping their toes in the water and getting out of their shells," said Fletcher, who added that all of her own organization's staff are vaccinated.
"It's more of a 'we care about you' gesture to wear masks where we can in the first few weeks of this opening we're having."
Slawek said there are a host of precautions that couples can take to further protect their weddings, especially if there will be some unvaccinated people attending.
She said the use of rapid COVID-19 testing, hand sanitizer or masking requirements for people who are not vaccinated could be some possible measures.
The two planners reported varying levels of demand as restrictions ease across Canada, and as the Alberta government prepares to drop almost all restrictions — including gathering limits — on July 1.
Slawek said many of her clients are still hesitant to set a firm date and would like to see how the Delta variant plays out.
Meanwhile, Fletcher said inquiries doubled for the week immediately following the Alberta government's announcement that restrictions would almost entirely be dropped.
This report by The Canadian Press was first published June 29, 2021
Salmaan Farooqui, The Canadian Press