Getting hitched this summer? You’ll want to read these new rules

SPOKANE, Wash.– Planning a wedding is no easy task. It’s even harder during a pandemic.

Tiffany Grillo got engaged last year. She started planning for their big day, set for October 2020, right away.

“Everything was kind of smooth sailing,” Grillo said. “Then COVID hit and put a stop to everything.” Couple With Social Distancing Rule In Engagement Photo

Grillo’s guest list took a hit and then other plans for her wedding weren’t doable at the Eastern Washington venue she chose. Now, she’s trying to find a second location in Idaho, where the state is in its final stage of reopening.

Other couples planning a wedding in 2020 have faced similar challenges to Grillo’s. Wedding and event planner Nikki Gradoville has been fielding a lot of questions. She said her early summer weddings have been cancelled. Even plans for late summer are still uncertain.

“They’ve been postponing. They’ve been cancelling. They’ve been postponing again,” Gradoville said. “For my August and September brides, they’re still on the fence. A lot of them are one foot in, one foot out.”

An announcement from Gov. Jay Inslee’s office last week brought some clarity and peace of mind to couples. Gradoville can still remember how she felt when she heard the news.

“I felt like, for the first time, I could take a deep breath,” Gradoville said.

The new rules detail that weddings and funerals in Washington can follow the same modified guidelines that faith-based organizations and churches do.

It says:

  • The wedding or funeral planners can meet and maintain all requirements needed to
    comply with the guidance for Phase 1, 2 and 3 Religious and Faith-based Organizations;
    and
  •  If food is served at a reception for a wedding, funeral, or memorial service, the venue
    must comply with the guidance for Dine-in Restaurants and Taverns; and
  • They conduct only those activities that are allowed under their county’s phase status.

Spokane County is currently in Phase 2 of reopening. That means weddings can now include up to 200 people or up to 25 percent capacity, whichever is less, so long as six feet of physical distancing can be achieved between households, according to the state requirement.

Nikki Gradoville Standing With Sign

Now comes more planning. Gradoville explained that tables at the reception need to be spaced out six feet apart. Phase 2 restrictions require tables to have no more than five people to each one, unless they’re from the same family.

It’s going to take creativity from couples, planners, and vendors to make it work.

Beacon Hill, in Spokane, has already posted signs that encourage social distancing. The venue also has hand sanitizer out. Gradoville said for the weddings that she oversees, she’ll make sure there are extra masks for people, too.

It’s a lot of change and challenge in one year. That’s why Grillo is focusing on what really matters.

“We keep telling ourselves, at the end of the day, it’s just us and we will be married and that’s the most exciting thing for us,” Grillo said.

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