While the widespread availability of the COVID vaccine has brought back the once-silenced sound of wedding bells, there’s been a change on the invitation.

Black tie optional, vaccines mandatory.

Lauren Coone from Paper Source in Philadelphia told Delaware Valley Journal there has been a surge in COVID-related content being added to the bottom of wedding invitations.

“We just brought the custom print business back to our store for Paper Source Philadelphia,” Coone said. “We are still doing custom print virtually for the company as a whole, but only in the last month have I started taking in-store appointments to meet with brides and grooms. I did have one particular couple who was very adamant. They are both doctors who wanted to make sure they conveyed that vaccination preferred is more ‘mandatory’ than ‘preferred.’”

In a social survey on The Knot, 1 in 5 people stated they plan to ask their guests to get vaccinated before their wedding. Coone mentioned couples are making this request in a few different ways.

“I’ve seen things like ‘Black tie optional, Vaccine Preferred’ on the bottom of an invitation,” Coone stated. “That’s a nice simple way to convey that info. I have had a few people just encourage their guests to visit their wedding website for information. And also just for COVID updates in general like with the delta variant surging. The bride and groom have to be able to communicate with their guests pretty quickly and sometimes snail mail’s not the way to do that. So, having a really intuitive and informative wedding website is kind of where most people are landing for all of their COVID updates. More so than on the wedding invitation itself.”

The Walnut Street Paper Source in Philadelphia

While it might seem this new vaccination requirement is in response to the delta variant, Coone said. “I’m not 100 percent sure because anybody who has a wedding coming up before the end of the year has already purchased their wedding invitations in the spring. So I’m not really communicating with someone who’s having a wedding in the fall, winter but I do have quite a few people toying with the idea like ‘how do I consciously convey what my feelings are for my wedding and protecting my guests?’ in a way that isn’t too harsh to guests and people who are invited to the wedding.”

Whether it is or isn’t in direct response to the new variant, Coone said she believes this will continue for a while.

“I do feel if as my appointments start to ramp up over the next few weeks and months that I probably will see more people who are being more COVID-conscious and vaccine-conscious on their wedding invitations and their wedding invitations suites,” Coone noted. “It’s just when we brought back the appointments and started to get some pricing out there and place some orders, the delta variant hadn’t shown itself yet, so no one was really hypersensitive to it. But now that we’re in the thick of it, I’m sure it’s probably going to start to present itself in our wedding appointments moving forward.”

Even with the vaccine, Coone said there is a good chance weddings will take another hit in the coming months if new masking restrictions get placed on large gatherings again.

“In the future, I could see it being where our wedding appointments could potentially slow down because people aren’t willing to do the masked wedding situation again,” Coone explained. “Like they’ve already put their wedding off three times, what’s a fourth time? Let’s just wait till we can have a wedding we actually can enjoy.”

According to a survey from Wedding.report from 2020 41.5 percent of couples postponed their wedding to 2021, while 7 percent canceled their wedding completely. Nearly 60 percent of couples cut their guest count by an average of 41 percent. 

Additionally, LendingTree surveyed 900 engaged couples and found that 63 percent of couples postponed their weddings, while 8 percent decided on a courthouse marriage or elopement. Also, according to that same survey, 56 percent of those who changed their plans lost money by doing so due to nonrefundable deposits, fees, and other such payments.

Sam Ehlinger from The Little House Shop in Wayne, Pa. also spoke with Delaware Valley Journal about the changes in wedding invitations. 

“Some of the couples have already been married but now they’re going to have a wedding party,” Ehlinger mentioned. “And the guests in some situations are asked to indicate whether they’ve been vaccinated and if they haven’t, they’re kind of uninvited to the reception because of other people at the reception. Now with the current situation, people are now required to wear masks when a month ago they weren’t if they were vaccinated.”

Ehlinger also feels the delta variant isn’t directly to blame for the additional lines on recent wedding invitations. 

“It’s hard to pinpoint because I feel like the delta variant is somewhat so new. Prior to so many people being able to get the vaccine there were weddings requiring guests to get tested 24 hours prior to the wedding.”

It’s only a matter of time before we truly know where weddings go from here and how couples move forward with their wedding invitations.