Rules and Regulations Vary by State
State laws vary when it comes to weddings. Some wedding spaces are governed by the same rules as restaurants, meaning they can accommodate a certain percentage of their overall capacity. In Arkansas, for example, you can fill venues to 66 percent capacity. So an event in a 1,000-person ballroom can legally host 666 guests. In other states events are limited to the size of the group. In parts of New York, for example, gatherings are limited to 50 people regardless of the space.
Ms. Betts said many of her clients feel safer with smaller affairs. “I have clients doing private, intimate ceremonies, because no one is making a big stink about those,” she said. “No one wants to be the new epicenter of the outbreak.”
But even weddings with the tightest guest list aren’t immune to the coronavirus.
Sunshine Borrer, 26, a veterinary technician in Houston, attended her sister-in-law’s wedding in Crockett, Texas, which has a population of 6,000. “It was a real small town,” she said. “Covid wasn’t something I was super concerned about.” The 30-person wedding was held outdoors, but the after party was in a small bar area of an indoor restaurant.
It took about a week for her symptoms to develop. She tested positive for Covid-19, along with the bride and groom, another couple, and the bride’s daughter. Fortunately all cases were mild.
She noticed there is no etiquette for how to communicate a coronavirus outbreak to wedding guests. “The bride and groom maybe told the people they were living with, but that was it,” she said. “They told one of my other sisters-in-law, and she is a nurse, so she took it upon herself to tell people.”
Ms. Chism said it was her oldest son, not the bride and groom, who alerted wedding guests to the virus exposure. “If it were me I would have been on the phone calling every single person,” she said. “But it wasn’t me.”