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Lawrence-Douglas County Public Health

Posted on: March 15, 2021

Guidelines for Weddings and Wedding Receptions under March 9 Health Order

Smart and Safe

A new local public health order took effect on March 10. Here are Lawrence-Douglas County Public Health's updated guidelines for weddings and wedding receptions. You can also read the full local health order. Anyone with questions about compliance can contact

Religious Events vs. Receptions: A religious activity, such as a religious wedding ceremony or funeral, is exempt from restrictions on the number of attendees but is still subject to the mask mandate and social distancing requirements. A wedding reception or civil wedding ceremony is limited to 50 people. 

Limit of 50 People: A wedding reception is considered a “mass gathering,” and in Douglas County mass gatherings are now limited to 50 people, indoors and outdoors. A mass gathering occurs when people cannot maintain 6 feet of distance from each other. If a group is seated at proper social distance and remains seated, getting up only to use the restroom or exit (no dancing, no mingling), then it is not a mass gathering and the limit would instead be 50% of the lowest occupancy load on the certificate of occupancy of the facility, building, or room in which the gathering is occurring.

50% Occupancy Limit: A venue may have up to 50% of the lowest occupancy load on the certificate of occupancy of the facility, building, or room in which the gathering is occurring. This can include more than one mass gathering if the venue has separate and distinct spaces where the guests from one event do not intermingle with the guests from other events. So, whereas a wedding reception may have only 50 people, the venue itself may host more than one event at the same time. However, a wedding reception cannot be broken into two “events” within the same venue. The purpose of the restriction is to limit the potential spread of virus to no more than 50 people at such a gathering.

Outdoor Seating: There is no limit to the number of people who may be seated outdoors as long as there is 6 feet of distance between tables, tables are limited to 10 people, and guests remain seated throughout the duration of the event (no dancing, no socializing), getting up only to use the restroom or exit. If guests do not remain seated, the limit is 50 people.

10 People per Table: Guests must be seated at a table with maximum groups of 10 people per table and social distancing requirements between tables and groups of guests must be observed.

Private Event vs. Public Event: The health orders apply to venues hosting both private events and public events.

Dancing: Dancing is permitted at wedding receptions, but only for mass gatherings of no more than 50 people, and masks are required. If an event is planned for restaurant-style seating, then guests must remain seated, and dancing is not permitted, inside or outside.

Eating and Drinking While Seated: If food and drink are served, guests must be seated while they eat and drink. The reason for this is that people take off their masks to eat and drink, and no one is permitted to walk around indoors or dance at a venue without a mask. 

Masks: Masks must be worn indoors and outdoors at all times on the premises, unless individuals are actively eating or drinking. Masks must be worn while interacting with staff. No one should be without a mask unless they are seated at a table, actively eating or drinking.