Should I Require Negative COVID Tests At My Wedding?

Q: Hi APW,

I’m getting married soon, and my fiancé and I are going to require proof of vaccination for our wedding, but now we’re wondering if we should we require our guests to provide proof of a negative test as well. With our wedding coming just weeks after the holiday season, Coronavirus is of course a concern of ours, but we don’t know if it’s too much to ask for our guests to provide proof of a negative Covid test on top of proof of vaccination.

The invitations have already been sent out with our city’s event guidelines (including proof of vaccination for indoor activities) and we also encouraged testing, though not required. Are we overthinking this, or will or current plan suffice? The boundaries don’t seem so clear to us, so we’re looking for any advice you’ve got!

—testing Boundaries

A: I’m going to be honest with you. A few weeks ago (which is several lives ago in this pandemic hells-cape) I would have told you that requiring proof of vaccination along with following your cities event guidelines was probably a really responsible choice. But damn it if things don’t change (and change, and change).

The APW team has been reporting increasing numbers of break through infections in their friend groups, and then we found this gem on Reddit:

My wedding was last Sunday and 11 people have tested positive, all vaccinated. And we traced it back to a family who were all vaccinated. —Reddit

You heard that right. They had vaccine compliance at their wedding, and there was still a breakthrough infection that spread throughout vaccinated guests. So should we be asking for Covid-19 tests at group gatherings (particularly those that are indoor in the winter?) Probably.

We’re hosting a family Thanksgiving this year. And while we live in an area with very very low COVID transmission, and all our guests will be vaccinated, we’re still going to ask people to do over the counter tests before they walk in the door. Take the test to the car, wait 15 minutes, then if it’s negative, walk in. Are those tests perfect? No. But they’re pretty good, and they will give us a good shot of knowing if someone is contagious in that moment. And given that we have two people with suppressed immune systems at our event, it seems worth the extra trouble.

The bottom line is what we’ve learned over and over through this pandemic: everything is a calculated risk. You just have to decide what risks you’re willing to take. But given the givens, asking for a negative test result seems smart.

As for your question: is it too much to ask for your guests? My answer is no. Nope, it’s not too much to ask that a random guest doesn’t pass a breakthrough infection to Aunt Sarah who could die from it, vaccinated or not. If you’re going to the trouble of going to a wedding during these COVID times, you can take the extra step of getting a test to prove that it’s safe for you to be there.