We’ve been getting a lot of inquiries from couples asking about how the guidelines will affect their wedding. The truth is, because the guidelines are constantly changing based on a variety of factors, including the more we learn about the virus and the trends around how it is spread, it’s impossible for anyone to predict what the guidelines will be on a certain date. The best we can do is offer a current snapshot of what is, and isn’t, permitted and base our plans around that.
These are the current guidelines as of the time of publication
(Wednesday, November 4, 2020). For the most up-to-date information for wedding guidelines in Massachusetts, visit www.mass.gov/reopening.
Can I have a BAR at my wedding?
Currently, walk-up bars are not permitted at weddings in Massachusetts. Alcohol service may be provided tableside, by a catering staff (service would be the same as it is when you go to a restaurant – you order a drink, and the server brings it to you).
Can I have a BUFFET at my wedding?
Self-serve buffets of any kind are not permitted in Massachusetts. Staffed buffets are permitted, so long as the catering team is serving the food from the buffet line for each guest.
Can I have a COCKTAIL HOUR?
While it is technically possible to still have a cocktail hour at your Massachusetts wedding, it is important to remember that social distancing guidelines must be observed. Whether seated or standing, guests should not gather in groups of more than six people. It is best to discuss cocktail hour plans and guidelines with both your venue and caterer.
Can I have a DANCE FLOOR at my wedding?
Massachusetts does not permit dance floors at this time. However, individual couple dances (first dance as a married couple, and parent dances, for example), are permitted.
More reading: Here are the COVID Guidelines for each of the New England States.
What are the GUEST COUNT RESTRICTIONS for weddings in Massachusetts?
Capacity limits for weddings in Massachusetts range from 10 people to 100 people. If you are hosting your wedding at a private residence (backyard wedding), gatherings are limited to 10 people indoors, or 25 outdoors. For weddings at event venues or in public settings, the indoor limit is 25 people. Outdoor gatherings in lower risk communities are limited to 100 people in a single venue or space. In communities that do not qualify as low-risk, the limit is 50 people. Staff must be included in your guest count.
Do we have to wear MASKS at our wedding?
Yes. Massachusetts requires all people over the age of 5 years old to wear a mask or cloth face covering over their mouth and nose when in a public location, indoors and outdoors. Face coverings are encouraged, but not required, for children between the ages of 2 and 5.
What’s the deal with LIVE MUSIC?
In Massachusetts, performances at indoor venues may not include vocals or the playing of wind and/or brass instruments.
What do I need to keep in mind when creating my FLOOR PLAN?
Tables can have a maximum of 10 people per table, with each table a minimum of six feet apart.
More reading: Having a Small Wedding: Elopements, Micro Weddings, and Minimonies – Oh My!
What’s the deal with TENTED WEDDINGS?
It is best to check with your tent company. Massachusetts permits 25% of the facility’s maximum permitted occupancy if they have an occupancy permit on record with the municipal building department: otherwise, the limit is 8 persons per 1,000 square feet of accessible space. The capacity of tented events cannot exceed gathering limits.
What do I need to know about VENUE-SPECIFIC RULES?
Venues used for group or spectator sports, entertainment, business, and cultural events cannot open until Phase 4. These types of venues generally include: stadiums, arenas, ballparks, dance floors (nightclubs), exhibition and convention halls, to name a few. Most venues that are open, are required to close by 9:30pm, as of Friday, November 6, 2020.
Hi , we are having a wedding technically at a private residence, but in a massive field. We are planning on a 100 people in August. How do I know if I can go under rules for a venue or the private residence rules?
Phase 4, Step 1, which is scheduled to begin on March 22, 2021 limits gatherings at private residences to 10 people indoors and 25 people outdoors.
In a previous order (COVID-19 Order No. 54), the state defines “event venue or public setting” as “any setting open to the public and any event venue, club, park, or other venue or space, public or private, that is used or available for gatherings through lease, license, permit, contract, reservation, or similar agreement.”
If the space cannot be rented/accessed freely by a member of the public, I would be inclined to believe it falls under the private residence umbrella, but if you were our client we would call the Governor’s office for clarification if the definition above leaves any doubt as to how the space should be classified.
An important part of hosting gatherings right now is that you provide a safe environment for your guests to enjoy. The state has released guidance for social gatherings, which can be accessed here: https://www.mass.gov/info-details/safety-standards-and-checklist-indoor-and-outdoor-events