Emazing Photography Photo

Shooting Weddings during COVID-19 & State Mandates in Washington

Wedding Inspo

Navigating Weddings during the Pandemic

COVID-19 has disrupted our lives in a lot of ways – and it’s even come for our weddings! It’s definitely difficult to navigate this new way of life when you’re trying to plan a very special event. You might have had to postpone your wedding, or maybe you’re hesitant to get anything booked because you don’t know when this will end and things can go back to normal. Things might be different, but it doesn’t mean that all Tacoma weddings have to be canceled or postponed. Life goes on and there are still things worth celebrating, and I want to help you make sure your celebrations go ahead.

Will you still shoot our wedding?

Yes! I’m still ready and willing to photograph your special day, but we need to follow government guidelines to make everything as safe as possible. By following the rules, you can create a day that you’ll remember for all the right reasons, keeping all of your loved ones safe and healthy.

What happens if you get sick?

There’s always a small risk that I could be ill on the day of your wedding, even when we’re not in the middle of a pandemic. If this happens, I will have an associate cover your wedding or find a Tacoma wedding photographer with a similar style. You won’t have to go without a photographer on your wedding day!

What guidelines do we need to follow for Tacoma wedding photography?

The Washington state COVID mandates help to set out what is and isn’t allowed during Tacoma weddings and other group events. Both photographers and anyone attending the wedding need to be careful to follow the guidelines

  • Receptions are banned.
  • Ceremonies are allowable up to 30 guests (or 20% of the venues capacity) whichever is smaller.
  • Keep 6 feet of distance between the photographer and anyone being photographed
  • The photographer should wear a mask at all times
  • Everyone needs to wear masks in public spaces
  • Masks don’t need to be worn by the couple for photos as they are considered the same household
  • It’s recommended that other guests should wear masks and maintain 6-feet social distancing with people from different households
  • Wedding planners or the client/couple are responsible for ensuring requirements are complied with – photographers are not responsible for the choices the clients make
  • The photographer will take photos of dancing from a safe distance (although open dancing won’t be allowed until Phase 4)

How is social distancing going to affect wedding photos?

There’s no denying that social distancing is going to make your wedding photos look different. Your guests should wear masks and social distance between different households. I will also be wearing a mask and keeping a safe distance at all times. I will use a longer lens than usual to be able to capture your wedding while social distancing. This means that what I can photograph and how your photos will look will definitely be affected. But you can still have beautiful wedding photos that will give you a reminder of your special day.

I’m an experienced Tacoma wedding photographer and I’m ready to help you make the most of your photos. This situation might be new to everyone, including me, but we can adapt and still create an incredible day.

What if we need to postpone?

Everything is pretty uncertain at the moment, so it’s understandable if you feel the need to postpone your wedding. I have currently capped my booking for 2021 to leave space for any 2020 bookings that might need to be rescheduled. There are no rescheduling fees, so rescheduling is easy and won’t require any extra cost. It’s especially important that you don’t try and go ahead with your wedding when you’re ill, but I would also urge you not to rush into postponing just because of the current situation. You never know what might change between now and the date of your wedding.

Another thing to consider is the date that you choose if you do reschedule. Please give some thought to picking an off-peak day if you’re going to reschedule your wedding for 2021, such as a weekday. This means you still get to have your wedding, but the busier dates are still available for your vendors to book in their 2021 clients (instead of filling them with postponed 2020 weddings).

Can we elope and have a reception later?

With the current restrictions in place, you might be thinking that a big wedding seems a little difficult to handle. The rules say you have to have your ceremony and reception in the same venue, you’re limited on numbers, and you need to practice social distancing too. If you still want to get married but you’re looking for an alternative, elopement could be your answer. It will allow you to have a small ceremony with less worry about keeping everyone safe.

I will still have to keep my distance as your Tacoma wedding photographer, but you won’t need to try and get lots of guests to follow the rules. Elopements are often outdoor events too, making them safer as they’re in the open air. Holding your reception later, when things have got back to normal, will mean that you can hopefully celebrate without the restrictions.

If you’re planning an elopement this year and a reception perhaps next year, I will happily be there for both events. If you want to rearrange because you have decided to have an elopement this year and a reception later, I can work with you to make sure you have Tacoma wedding photography for both.

Government Requirements for Weddings During COVID-19

The government has published guidance for weddings and funerals, as well as religious and faith-based organizations. The Washington state COVID mandates are split into three phases which will each come into play as things progress and hopefully improve. The Washington State Wedding & Event Association has also summarized some of the ways that the guidance affects weddings. The information below is based on their advice and the government guidelines.

Weddings are allowed to take place if wedding planners can follow the requirements in the Phase 1, 2 and 3 Religious and Faith-based Organizations guidance. The venue also needs to comply with the Dine-in Restaurants and Taverns guidance if food is being served. Weddings can only include activities allowed under the county’s current phase status. Ceremonies and receptions must be “co-located” meaning that they have to take part in the same place. For example, you can’t get married in a church and then travel elsewhere for the reception.

Limits on guest numbers

How many guests you can have at your wedding depends on the size of the venue and the phase that the county is currently in. Whichever phase it is and no matter the size of the venue, everyone needs to be able to keep a 6-foot distance between others.

  • In Phase 1, only outdoor weddings are allowed, with up to 100 people, excluding staff
  • In Phase 2, up to 25% of the venue’s capacity or up to 200 people (whichever is less) is allowed
  • In Phase 3, up to 50% capacity or 400 people is allowed

When planning your wedding, don’t forget to think about your contingency plan for rain. An enclosed tent counts as an indoor space and will have to follow the rules.

Wearing masks at your wedding

The wedding party and all guests, as well as vendors and anyone else in attendance, must wear masks during your wedding. Masks should be worn at all times, except when eating or drinking. They can be removed for photos with the couple or anyone else considered to be part of the same household, but they need to be worn for anyone within 6 feet of someone not part of their household.

Wedding photos with friends and family

The couple, wedding party and guests don’t need to wear masks when getting close to those in their household. It’s a good idea to arrange wedding photos so that people in different households can remain 6 feet away from each other. This means you can still do family group photos, allowing you to get many of the shots that you want, but there might be some that you are unable to do without ensuring people are wearing masks.

Dancing at your wedding

Everyone loves a good dance at a wedding, but open dancing is unfortunately not allowed until Phase 4. This is because it would be difficult to keep 6 feet of distance between people from different households. DJs are allowed as long as they are not singing, and live entertainment is permitted without singing. Choirs cannot perform but singing is allowed for guests, as long as face masks are worn.

Social distancing at your wedding

The key thing to remember is that social distancing between members of different households is required at your wedding, both inside and outside. You need to maintain 6 feet of distance between people in different households, even if they’re extended family. The practicalities of this mean that you will need to plan your ceremony seating, as well as seat people in households for your wedding meal. Tables need to be limited to five people in Phase 2 and ten people in Phase 3. You can help everyone to keep safe by providing hand sanitizer and masks, and keeping everyone organized.

Find out more about the guidance from the Washington State Wedding & Event Association.

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"I am absolutely obsessed with the photos she captured"

WOW… I do not know where to start! I did not know Lessie before our photoshoot but I am so glad to have met her and chosen her to capture our engagement pictures! She was so easy to communicate with and so so helpful from start to finish. I am absolutely obsessed with the photos she captured of my fiancé and I! Not only do the photos look beyond amazing but our experience with her throughout the photoshoot was out of this world! She is extremely talented and was amazing at capturing natural and real moments!


"Phenomenal is an understatement!"

Lessie is the most compassionate, easy to communicate with , professional photographer I have ever had the joy of working with. Lessie has a skill set the surpasses many others, her attention to detail, her willingness to try new things and her commitment to the highest quality photos and experience for all who have the honor of booking with her is unprecedented. Lessie has a soul that is so invested in producing authenticity that many photos seem to lack. 


"We are so happy that she was the one to capture our day!"

Lessie was awesome! We are so happy she was the one that captured our special day! She was so professional. She was great at communicating with us in a timely manner and was extremely flexible when we had to reschedule our endgame to pictures. And my husband and I absolutely loved our wedding pictures as well. Lessie was able to captures so many great memories that we get to treasure forever!


"Lessie has a skill set the surpasses many others, her attention to detail"

Lessie is the most compassionate, easy to communicate with , professional photographer I have ever had the joy of working with. Lessie has a skill set the surpasses many others, her attention to detail, her willingness to try new things and her commitment to the highest quality photos and experience for all who have the honor of booking with her is unprecedented.... My gosh I am so grateful we booked with her! Lessie has a soul that is so invested in producing authenticity that many photos seem to lack. 


"We highly recommend Lessie. She is GREAT!!"

Lessie is an amazing photographer. We could not be happier with our wedding photos. I love that she included many unique shots that I wouldn't have thought of but that I really love. Also, along with the photos of my husband and me and photos of both sides of the bridal party, she captured many of the wonderful smaller moments and details that are hard to notice amidst the busy-ness of the wedding day. We loved seeing those smaller details and the candid photos of friends and family as well. They're all very special to us.