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How Can Grandma Still Be Part of a Wedding?



"My niece is getting married in a month, and my mother would like to attend the wedding. They have invited 300 people and are expecting about 200 to actually come.

My mother is 92 years old, and this is a favorite granddaughter. Mom would love to go to this wedding, though we are all very concerned that she would not survive a bout with COVID-19. It breaks my heart to suggest that she stay home.  

I know that they are planning to take every precaution to protect their guests that day, but it’s 200 people! What do we do? We really want a solution."



This is a tough one, and I see very clearly your dilemma. Your mother will be so very disappointed if she does not go, and if she does attend, she could risk her life.  

There are multiple ways to go here. None of them are perfect, though they all include grandmother in the celebration. I will list them in order from the least to the highest risk.

  1. Leave your mother at home and stream the day on a computer. She will see everything that is going on and be completely safe.
  2. Stream the event but also have the bride and groom stop at grandma’s for a few photos, if possible. Masks will be required to protect her, of course. No hugging and kissing--just a six foot viewing and maybe a quick picture.
  3. Bring grandma to the ceremony and place her in an NBA-type bubble. She touches no one. She may greet others by waving. She sits alone at least 10 feet from anyone. She wears an N95 mask, without touching it. She removes the mask correctly, only when she has been safely returned to the car. She then cleans her hands carefully. Her meal or refreshments are sent home in a doggy bag.
  4. Grandma comes to the wedding wearing a cloth face mask, stays six feet from everyone, and eats at a table only with those whom she normally has contact. She does not dance, pose in group pictures, or engage in any activity that brings her closer than six feet to anyone else.
  5. Grandma goes to the wedding and simply does what all of the other guests do. She engages in all activities with reasonable precautions, but acts like any other guest.

Since you asked, I cannot in good conscience recommend any idea greater than number three. Large groups of people are documented as situations in which this virus infects many people, even if only one person has COVID.  

Your mother is in an age group with an incredibly high mortality rate when they contract the COVID virus. It is unfortunate that at this time, attending a wedding could have a very high price for her. It is our reality for now though.

No one can tell you for certain what your outcome will be if she attends that wedding. What I can tell you is that I recommend that you take reasonable precautions based on her age.

I wish you the best and hope that you land on a palatable solution that keeps your mother safe and allows her to participate, even if it is not traditional.