New guidelines for non-religious weddings, funerals in WA Phases 1-3

SEATTLE -- COVID-19 has given brides and grooms a lot more to worry about this year than just rain on their wedding day. The virus has certainly put a big damper on many couples big day, but a huge announcement Friday from Governor Inslee’s office is making saying I do, suddenly much more possible.

Ceremonies that are currently in Phase 1, 2 or 3 can hold ceremonies with guidelines in placed, Inlee announced Friday.

Jennifer Baron and Lauren Shaw were on their way to do an interview with Q13 News, they would’ve told a very different story when they got the news that changed everything.

“We just saw the news indicating we could have weddings just like religious ceremonies could so we're ecstatic,” said Shaw.

Up until Friday afternoon, the couple wasn’t able to have a wedding because their ceremony wasn’t at a church or religious venue. Having already postponed their June wedding to late July, they were anticipating a dreaded second postponement.

But now, Governor Inslee said the same rules will also apply to non-religious weddings.

“There's been so much uncertainty in the world and to find out that yea we can actually get married with our family and friends there, it feels good to have some answers,” said Shaw.

Aaron Shook, general manager of venue Ocean 5, and co-owner of Perfect Storm Moments event planning couldn’t agree more.

“We are delighted that we can salvage a little bit of this wedding season,” said Shook.

Aaron said this news will have a massive impact on the wedding industry that typically brings in a little over one billion dollars each year in Washington state. The economic blow the pandemic has had on the industry has been significant said Shook.

“The impact has been nothing short of catastrophic."

While today’s news is what so many have been waiting for, Aaron cautions couples to keep one thing in mind when planning.

“It’s going be different you’re weddings not going look like it would last year and we know that, there’s no getting around that," he said.

Venues will be able to fill-up to 25% capacity, with a maximum of 200 people, and venue for ceremonies and receptions must be one of the same, or next to each other.

Masks will be required for staff and strongly encouraged for guests-and social distancing protocols will likely make things a little tricky on the dance-floor, but Shook said they’re up for the challenge.

“We’re really creative in our industry," he said.

Wearing Personal Protective Equipment (PPEs) and staying six feet apart might not be every bride’s dream on the big day, but if it means they get to say I do in front of family and friends, many will take it.

The same rules for weddings will also apply to funerals. However it does not apply to engagement parties, bridal showers, or bachelor and bachelorette parties.