The 2020 wedding season was a rollercoaster for most of us. Date changes, location restrictions, and limited guest sizes became the norm. But what will the 2021 wedding season look like? Will the couples who have already postponed their wedding get to happily dance the night away? Rather than Googling and hoping for the best, I went straight to the source–The Planning, Prevention, and Partnerships Manager of Pitkin County Public Health. AKA one of my current brides!
I’m proud to say that I work with the best couples–You all are smart, fun, and kind-hearted people. Thankfully, one of my current brides is also deeply involved in the Coronavirus vaccine distribution. She’s planning her wedding AND working on the front lines to fight the virus. Laryssa is a wonderful source for learning how COVID-19 will be affecting your 2021 (and 2022) weddings. She was kind enough to take some of her free time to answer a few questions for me, knowing that they would be shared with you all:
Please introduce yourself. What is your current role in healthcare?
Hi! My name is Laryssa Dandeneau, MS, CHES, and I am currently serving as the Planning, Prevention, and Partnerships Manager with Pitkin County Public Health. Prior to my current role, I served as a COVID-19 Program Administrator with Pitkin County. In my current role, I oversee the Community Liaison team and program and policy work around mental health and substance abuse. Most of my work has been around implementing and administering special projects and programs for the COVID-19 response and recovery. Most recently, I have been working with our Pitkin County Incident Management Team (IMT) as the Community Liaison Officer in developing an operations framework that is adaptable, scalable, and equitable in how vaccinations will continue to be distributed as more vaccine supply becomes available. Our IMT has developed a comprehensive plan to be able to administer all the vaccines the State distributes to the County while ensuring no dose goes to waste with a goal to make sure that everyone that wants a vaccine is able to get one.
You are a pro!! Thank you for taking the time to share your knowledge with us!
Can you share a couple of different scenarios of what the wedding season in 2021 could look like? Do you anticipate new protocols to emerge to keep everyone safe this summer?
The State of Colorado COVID-19 vaccine timeline does offer a glimmer of hope for the 2021 wedding season. However, I would anticipate that the wedding season in 2021 may closely resemble the 2020 wedding season. According to Dr. Anthony Fauci, Director of the National Institute of Allergy and Infectious Diseases, if we can achieve herd immunity by getting 75 to 80 percent of the population vaccinated, we may start to approach some degree of normalcy in the Fall of 2021. Of course, this timeline is subject to change depending on the vaccination rollout and the percentage of the population who choose to get vaccinated. Until most of the population is vaccinated, I would anticipate that the 2021 wedding season will require adherence to mask wearing, physical distancing, and strict cleaning protocols. Additionally, outdoor weddings will continue to be advised, and shared dance floors and self-service stations may or may not be permitted at receptions. Continually reviewing the Colorado Department of Public Health & Environments (CDPHE) Indoor Event and Outdoor Event guidance will help you stay up to date on state and local restrictions and guidelines.
Knowing that lifting regulations depends on the vaccine, are you adding any limitations to your contracts with wedding vendors to protect yourself during this time?
Prior to signing any contract with wedding vendors, I discussed the rescheduling policies. Although most deposits are non-refundable, all my vendors have been understanding of the current times and are willing to be adaptable and flexible with our wedding plans.
The vaccine distribution has directly affected our wedding plans. Half of our family and friends have received the vaccine due to their professions and the other half have not. Not to sound like a broken record, but we want everyone to be safe, healthy and feel comfortable and confident when they visit us for the ceremony. Even though I receive my second dose this Thursday, my fiancé is not going to be able to receive his first dose until this summer.
Are there any planning milestones that you’re putting on hold for now due to the pandemic? Perhaps you’re changing your wedding ideas completely?
Most like other brides during these chaotic COVID times, wedding planning has been a roller coaster. I never would have imagined that back in March of 2020 when we signed our venue contract that we would be having difficult conversations about possibly rescheduling our June 2021 wedding. Making this decision almost felt like we were putting our lives on hold for another year.
Just five months from our wedding date, we began conversations around rescheduling. As a couple we talked through the kind of wedding we both dreamed of. The two things we both really wanted were to keep our family and friends safe, and to be able to enjoy seeing our guests smile, hug and dance comfortably and safely at our reception.
Ultimately, we decided what was best for us and rescheduled our June 2021 wedding to May of 2022 because we want a big wedding with friends and family. Even though we’d rather not wait another year, moving our wedding has felt like a huge weight has been lifted off our shoulders. We are excited to continue planning for our dream wedding, even if it has to happen in 2022.
What advice do you have for couples who are planning their 2021 or 2022 weddings?
My advice for couples who are planning their 2021 or 2022 weddings is to stay up to date on current guidelines and restrictions, trust your gut, and follow your heart. Have proactive conversations with your partner about what you might be willing to compromise and what you are not when it comes to your wedding. At the end of the day, it is your wedding and as a couple you get to decide what that looks like. Some couples may choose to move forward with their plans but will adapt to a short intimate ceremony on top of a mountain. Other couples may choose to wait to have that huge dance party with friends and family. The COVID-19 pandemic has been a buzz kill for many newly engaged couples; however, it has not taken away a couples right to choose how they proceed with their dream wedding.