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Are COVID safe weddings possible? Experts say it can be done

Published: Nov. 1, 2020 at 9:27 AM EST
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STOWE, Vt. (WCAX) - An update now on a story we originally brought to you in March.

Seven months ago, our Elissa Borden sat down with Jaclyn Watson, the owner of Jaclyn Watson Events.

She told Elissa that many clients were postponing weddings, with no clear path forward.

Things have changed since then. Weddings continue on, and Watson’s have been COVID-free.

Elissa met up with her this week to discuss how she does it.

Elissa Borden: Is there a safe way to have weddings right now?

Jaclyn Watson: (Laughs) I think that’s a loaded question.

Watson is a well-known Vermont wedding planner.

She says it can be, and has been, done.

“Yes, I think weddings can happen if we set your guests and your client up for success. But ultimately, I think what happens is that your clients and your guests of those clients need to come prepared to take those measures in order for it to happen," Watson said.

There are a lot of steps that can be taken to try to avoid COVID outbreaks at weddings.

For Watson, that means socially distant seating designs and masks at all times, except when eating.

Of her three weddings held thus far, all have been COVID-free, including one with 100 people.

But that doesn’t mean it’s impossible.

“If we have a wedding, it could happen. And it’s up to the guest and the client to say, OK, you set us up for success, we now have to follow through with that. We can give them all the tools and the measures and they just have to come prepared to do what they need to do to keep everyone safe," said Watson.

While large-scale weddings continue on, local venues are hosting smaller functions, as well.

“So a lot of my couples this year, they’ve decided to still move forward with getting married because love is love and it’s not canceled," said Liz Hagwood, the wedding and events sales manager for the Topnotch Resort.

The Topnotch Resort in Stowe is following strict guidelines, capping gatherings at 25-- a small ceremony now, for a big ceremony later.

“A lot of my couples have said they never imagined having a small ceremony and they’ve actually really enjoyed having it because you get to experience things that you don’t get to experience at a bigger wedding. There’s more intimacy involved, you get to have a better menu because you get to put more money into less people," said Hagwood.

Though the ambiance at the boutique hotel may bring you to another place, they say it’s key to remember that there is no COVID-free guarantee.

But there are ways to try to keep everyone safe.

“I’ve said before, the sun still goes up, the sun still goes down, and that’s going to keep happening. Weddings and special events, celebrations of all kinds are still happening and I think we get wrapped up in all the rules and restrictions we forget that the whole reason we’re here is for hospitality," said Topnotch General Manager Matthew Wheeler.

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