Life Advice



Finally able to wed, couples face logistics like vaccine cards or years-apart dress fittings

Alison Bowen, Chicago Tribune on

Published in Dating Advice

A few people still mask up at weddings he’s attended, said Grant McNamara, founder of The Wedding GPS, which stands for Groom’s Personal Stylist. People might be more cautious because of health conditions that make them more vulnerable, or unable to be vaccinated yet. Others simply are “weary or anxious about the last year and a half,” he said.

One couple tested every vendor and guest to protect grandparents who they wanted to be able to safely and comfortably attend, he said. At another wedding, guests who traveled to a bachelor party in New York were surprised to realize they needed vaccine cards for every bar.

“It’s been interesting to see how everyone handles it differently,” he said. “You never know what somebody else is going through.”

Still, he said, his team hasn’t seen disagreements or issues over differences. “There hasn’t been anyone giving anybody a hard time. Everyone’s been very respectful.”

But this may not always be the case.

People planning parties for a bride or groom can are in a tricky position. What if one bachelorette guest doesn’t want to test, but one guest doesn’t want to attend if not all attendees are vaccinated? What about traveling for a weekend bachelor party? How can maids of honor and best men approach and handle these situations? Some people might opt to skip some events altogether.

“The key is to remember that these events are about the bride and groom, and as in many situations, you are not going to please everyone,” said Jessica Lieffring of Chicago-based etiquette company The Polite Society. She advised setting ground rules based on what makes the bride and groom feel safe. The couple can make requirements clear in overall invitations, which can be echoed for surrounding events. “Then the decision falls on the guest, and not the hosts,” she said.

If the bride and groom don’t have requirements, then it’s up to the guest’s comfort level. Choosing not to attend is fine, she said, but directly communicate with the bride or groom. Tell them you’d love to be there but don’t feel comfortable in the circumstances.

Remember that weddings are “about celebrating the bride and groom and honoring their wishes,” Lieffring said.


Finally able to enjoy postponed nuptials, couples are encountering new layers of logistics — including whether that suit or dress, picked and purchased years ago, still fits.

When Amy Barmann first went dress shopping, it was the fall of 2019. Now, two years later, she’s hoping her dress still feels as perfect. During the pandemic, the bridal shop had her pick up her dress in May 2020; she didn’t try it on until closer to their rescheduled date, which is Nov. 26. “I said, what if I don’t fit into this?”

“I was like, I might have to order a backup dress,” she said. She did, but returned it when the original seemed like it would still work.

Hoping to spare their friends from pandemic planning, the couple hosted an Octoberfest combined bachelor and bachelorette party in their backyard last month.

Costs may have shifted, too; some vendors honored the same original costs but others raised prices. Barmann said her cake price doubled. Many wedding venues are facing an increase in demand after a slow year, booking new engagements as well as postponed nuptials. Some guest lists shifted or slimmed, as people accounted for fewer guests or, feeling uncomfortable attending for whatever reason, people declined invitations.

For the December wedding, where Brant is maid of honor, Peter Toutant is the best man. He got his suit tailored almost 18 months ago; he hopes it still fits. Part of what COVID-19 has affected, he said, is not being able to see his buddy, the groom, more during the wedding prep, as he lives in Portland, Oregon. Still, after such a long time period, the wedding means more.

“It’s almost like the wedding is going to be both a wedding and a reunion of this group of friends,” he said. “It feels like now finally, we’re having the opportunity to get together and celebrate all the things that we’ve been looking to celebrate.”

©2021 Chicago Tribune. Visit at Distributed by Tribune Content Agency, LLC.