Life Advice



With capacity restrictions loosening, couples hope for larger weddings. But they'll have to navigate tricky vaccination questions first.

Lauren Zumbach, Chicago Tribune on

Published in Dating Advice

At events taking advantage of the vaccine exemption, the city’s guidelines say event organizers are responsible for maintaining records of vaccinated guests’ names, the date of their final dose and declaration that they are fully vaccinated.

Requiring vaccines, rather than simply asking guests to share their status, is a trickier question.

Wedding planners said most of their clients are not requiring vaccines, though some are encouraging it. A client at Second City Stationery is sending notes with the invitations asking those who would not be vaccinated by the wedding to quarantine ahead of time or test negative for the virus, said owner Savannah Whitlock.

Clarisa Czekajlo, 28, of Madison, Wisconsin, who tried on dresses Friday at Bella Bianca Bridal Couture in Chicago, said she didn’t want to make vaccinations mandatory. “I think that’s a personal choice,” she said.

Czekajlo and her fiance Tony Paccello, 31, who got engaged in 2019, are waiting until next summer to get married, near Paccello’s family in Colorado. Czekajlo is a perfusionist, operating heart-lung machines during surgery, and worked in a COVID-19 unit.

“Being in thick of it made me a little more apprehensive and cautious, would we be ready in 2021?” she said.


Taryn Goodge, 27, of Park Ridge, said knowing her friend’s September wedding will be vaccine-mandatory made her feel more confident about attending despite not yet knowing details about the event, like how many people will attend.

“I’m low risk and vaccinated, but I don’t 100% know I can’t transmit it to anyone else,” she said.

The changes come ahead of what is shaping up to be an unusually busy wedding season. Some couples with May and June weddings pushed back or canceled their celebrations thinking the 50-person limit would remain in effect, especially those who already held small ceremonies last year, said Susan Cordogan, owner of Big City Bride.

But many are moving ahead with weddings planned later this summer and fall. Of couples who had a wedding date set in 2020, 32% had the ceremony in 2020 but pushed the reception to a later date and 15% postponed entirely, according to a survey by wedding planning website The Knot in February. Meanwhile, many couples who got engaged during the pandemic set dates in 2021.


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