No jab, no party: wedding RSVPs look different in ‘COVID-normal’ world

When I send out invitations to my postponed wedding, I won’t just be asking guests for their dietary requirements. I’ll need to know their vaccination status as well.

Aside from knowing who’s bringing a date and who’s vegetarian these days, I’ll need to know if attendees are fully vaccinated.

As well as dietary requirements, we will need to know who is vaccinated.Credit:Thinkstock

I don’t expect they even make RSVP cards for that yet, but welcome to the new “COVID-normal” world we live in.

Once 80 per cent of eligible Victorians are fully vaccinated (expected around November 5), indoor weddings with up to 150 people can return. The caveat is everyone must be fully vaccinated, however there is an allowance for up to 10 people per wedding to have an “unknown vaccination status”.

The bridal party and immediate family will be fully vaccinated by the time the big day rolls around, as will most of the guests. However, I expect an open bar won’t be a strong enough drawcard for a small number of family members to get inoculated, which puts my partner and I in a pickle.

If we have more than 10 people with unknown vaccination status, whose invitation do we rescind?

Once 80 per cent of eligible Australians are fully vaccinated, indoor weddings with up to 150 people can return.Credit:AFR

Do we draw their names out of a hat, or choose based on seniority?

Or do we ask all of them to stay home?

And what if we request that unvaccinated guests don’t attend, but they show up anyway – will we risk being fined despite our attempt to follow the rules? That’s aside the personal responsibility we’ll feel if our wedding becomes a “super-spreader” event.

These are questions my husband-to-be and I will need to consider once we have those New Age RSVP cards in our hands.

The wedding guest list is already a hot topic of contention among families.Credit:iStock

The wedding guest list is already a hot topic of contention among families, without adding “No jab, no party” to the mix. It’s not something our generation, or even those before us, had to consider in our lifetimes, so there are no etiquette rules to guide us.

Pleasantries aside, my fiance and I need to consider the safety of our guests – some who are aged in their 70s, and others who have compromised immune systems. Despite being fully vaccinated, medical research suggests those vulnerable groups are most at risk of catching “breakthrough infections” as they don’t acquire as much vaccine immunity as the general public.

The argument that an unvaccinated person is only risking their own safety is unsubstantiated, because medical research suggests that vaccinated people can still catch and spread COVID (although at much lower rates than unvaccinated people). I don’t want my elderly mother catching COVID just because I was too worried about offending someone who prioritised their so-called “freedom” over the health and safety of others.

We have forewarned our guests of the RSVP details we’ll need closer to the wedding date, but we’re yet to make a call on what to do with that information.

I thought restrictions on social gatherings was going to be the biggest dilemma I would face as a Bride. Now vaccine politics have opened up an unexpected can of worms on top of the COVID-wedding chaos.

Mel Buttigieg is a freelance writer.

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