Swing your partner ’round and ’round. . . . For centuries, dances and weddings have gone together like . . . well, brides and grooms. But COVID-19 procedures forced many guests to kick off their dancing shoes. Then in March, the state of New York relaxed some of its coronavirus rules. As a result, guests may have resumed the rug-cutting—but weddings may never again be the same old song and dance.
From the tenderness of a father-daughter waltz to the zaniness of some wedding party boogies, nuptial dances are an opportunity for guests to join the celebration. But very soon into the coronavirus era, states began banning indoor gatherings of all types. That included weddings and receptions.
COVID-19 regulations varied from place to place. Most often, happy couples had to severely limit the number of guests permitted even to witness their vows before God. The hordes of well-wishers flinging birdseed, blowing bubbles, or dancing with friends got tossed like a bridal bouquet as virus statistics showed weddings to be so-called “superspreading events” (an event at which an infectious disease is spread more than usual).
But as coronavirus numbers continue to fall, most states have begun relaxing the guidelines for indoor gatherings.
In March, wedding receptions resumed in New York. Venues were able to reopen at 50% of capacity, and officials ask all guests to submit to a coronavirus test before the ceremony.
Live musicians and other entertainers resumed performing. But anyone unmasked or blowing on a wind instrument must stay 12 feet from attendees or perform behind a barrier.
Happiest of all for some: Guests could once again hit the dance floor. Dancers must still wear face masks and caper within their own “dancing areas or zones.” These spaces should be at least 36 square feet in size and at least six feet apart from other dance zones and tables. No sashaying into other dance zones allowed.
Newlyweds can once again take a twirl for a ceremonial first dance, and other couples can join in. Officials say dancers may sway the night away only with members of their immediate party, household, or family—provided couples stay six feet apart from all other couples. But there’s one hitch in the ruling: Dancing couples must also be sitting at the same reception table. Apparently, if Grandma (or—wink, wink—that single guy or gal you hoped to meet at the wedding) is seated across the room . . . you can fuhggedaboutit—for now.