Declaration of Emergency
and subsequent concerns
continue to be updated.
NYTimes article on postponements.
During the Pandemic
1. Extra Wedding Attire
The focus of a wedding, and wedding planning, should be the expression of your love and commitment. This is such a happy thing, and I always feel so wonderfully privileged to be a part of the celebration. All of the weddings I have done at Pilgrim Chapel and elsewhere since 2020 March 20 after the Mayor's mask order have been wonderfully joyous occasions, despite the extra attire. Pilgrim Chapel will provide masks for any who arrive without them.
Should any of your invited family members and guests indicate ahead of time that they do not want to wear masks, please feel free to share this with them.
I imagine most folks by now know that masks do very little to protect the wearer, but are effective in limiting the transmission of the virus to others. While family members living together (like my son and I) do not wear masks at home, they do wear masks in places where others are present, and sometimes even outside if it is necessary to pass by closely to others.
The folks at Pilgrim Chapel and I are masked because we would not want to transmit the virus to you or your guests, even though we take every precaution not to contract or carry the disease every hour of every day. Since it now appears to be confirmed that the virus can be transmitted by aerosol up to 16 feet away in closed spaces, it is difficult to be certain that one is not a spreader, especially if one has no symptoms. Of course the situation becomes quite concerning with children in some school settings.
Because of my age and my son's compromised condition, I am cautious about the circumstances in which I place myself. I would expect guests at a wedding would want to show that they respect the Pilgrim Chapel staff and the officiant by wearing masks. For the short time of a brief ceremony, I am comfortable standing atop the chancel area with the couple without masks at the bottom of the chancel area on the floor, and if you might want a photo of me without a mask, photographers have found that I can stand outside on the steps of the Chapel with the couple without masks some distance ahead of me. A photo at the Chapel door makes a lovely photo.
2. Possible Accommodation
I have not yet had a situation in this pandemic since March where I've been informed that invited family or guests insist that they will not attend a wedding without a mask, and thus are willing to endanger the health of the Chapel staff and me, so I am challenged to think how an accommodation might be possible. Frankly, I would have to be persuaded that my role as minister must in such a case override my concerns for personal safety. But I have thought about it. These are some ideas, which together, might conceivably be workable.
1. Guests without masks remain outside until the ceremony is ready to begin.
2. Guests without masks sit in the extreme back of the chapel.
3. Regardless of the weather, the chapel door and the side door remain open throughout for ventilation. Depending on the outside temperature, this might affect what all guests would wear.
4. The overhead fans must operate at maximum speed in order to improve air circulation. At high speed, they can be a bit noisy.
There may be other measures to improve safety as well. We simply do not know what the transmission rate and death toll in the Kansas City area might be in the future.
Your ceremony should be as free as possible from worries about health, and the four measures I've outlined as alternative to masks unfortunately might seem to draw more attention to the pandemic circumstances than if folks simply wore masks.
I am not writing for Pilgrim Chapel. I do weddings for the wonderful Chapel staff because I enjoy sharing the happiness of couples being married, and I am expert in both helping couples plan and in leading weddings custom-designed. Should you prefer another officiant who can accommodate the additional danger unmasked guests present, I would honor your wishes and withdraw.
If you would like to meet by Zoom to discuss this further, I will be happy to do so and, if you wish, bring my experience and your vision to help you create a most joyous wedding for you.
3. Optional Health Greetings
Your minister wants to assure a joyous nuptial celebration and will observe safe practices. After consulting with health officials and clergy colleagues, this seems appropriate for the present:
If you wish, I will discourage usual social greetings (kisses, hugs, handshakes) so you are not endangered and your guests know what is expected under the circumstances as the best ways to share your happiness. Here are examples. I will not give you a hug or handshake, as much as I would like. You know of my hearty best wishes!
Depending on the situation, if you wish, I'll try to arrange for anyone in a high risk group to sit in a separate area.
Promise pictures to those who are feeling sick as they should not attend.
Pilgrim Chapel is being scrupulous with sanitizing procedures. Pilgrim Chapel may also offer weddings on the patio.
Depending on legal, social, and ceremonial circumstances, it seems advisable for me to wear a mask, and the Emergency Order may require it.
If you wish to postpone your wedding, everyone will understand.
It is difficult to know exactly what is wise and
what is over-reaction, but my priorities are both your happiness and safety.
Please let me know if you have questions or suggestions.
These were written early before the pandemic was fully recognized and may not be necessary now.
Sample Greeting #1
The couple has asked me to
let you know that the Chapel has been thoroughly sanitized, and to thank
you for your being here and for your good wishes which, in this environment,
you can express to them and to one another without customary greetings
of kiss, hug, and handshake, to assure everyone's safety and comfort on
this very special day.
Sample Greeting #2
The couple has asked me to thank you for your being here and for your good wishes which, in this environment, you can express to them and to one another without customary greetings of kiss, hug, and handshake, to assure everyone's safety and comfort on this very special day.