[Updated: as this is a quickly moving situation, new mask rules come into affect from 4 Feb, 2022. This article has been updated to reflect these new changes. Click here to go straight to the new info.]

It seems that every other day there are new rules being brought in to keep everyone safe from COVID-19 which doesn’t make it easy when you’re planning your wedding.

The biggest question at the moment – Will everyone have to wear masks at my wedding?

It’s a valid question and I’ve done the research for you.

Will I have to wear a mask at my own wedding?
Image: Cleyder Duque

First, let’s look at the rules around weddings while the country is at the current Red Light in the COVID-19 NZ traffic light system.

Weddings WITH My Vaccine Pass:

If a gathering chooses to follow My Vaccine Pass requirements, only people with a My Vaccine Pass are allowed to be there. This includes workers. 

– At a gathering at your home or private dwelling, there can be up to 100 people

– At gatherings held at other venues, there can be up to 100 people based on 1-metre physical distancing in a single defined space at the venue at any time. 

– The limit applies to both indoor and outdoor venues.  

– The limit includes children, but not staff.

– Children under the age of 12 years and 3 months do not need to provide a My Vaccine Pass to enter places with a vaccination requirement.

– You’ll be asked to show your My Vaccine Pass when you’re at the venue. (You may be asked for ID to ensure it is your My Vaccine Pass.) 

– Scan the QR code or keep a record of where you go. 

Weddings WITHOUT My Vaccine Pass:

If a venue for a gathering chooses not to operate with vaccine pass requirements: 

– at a gathering at your home, there can be up to 25 people.

– at gatherings held at other venues, there can be up to 25 people based on 1-metre physical distancing in a single defined space at the venue at any time.

– They can be a mix of people with and without My Vaccine Pass.

– The limit applies to both indoor and outdoor venues.

– The limit includes children, but not staff.


Before I get to the points you’re waiting for, a friendly note from me: if you’re wearing a mask and your nose is hanging out, what’s the point? Your mask doesn’t fit, you look a little silly and you need a new mask.

OK, onto the actual points. Here are the official rules, outlined by the Government. These rules cover gatherings both indoors and out:

FOR WORKERS (covered by a vaccine mandate):

  • it doesn’t matter how beautiful they are, you need to store away all your cloth* masks, bandannas and scarves because they are no longer allowed.
  • All workers, either paid or unpaid, are required to wear a mask at food and drink businesses. This would include a wedding reception.
  • All workers at gatherings are required to wear masks. However, there is an exemption for formal speakers**. These would be people such as your celebrant, MC – and the two of you! (You have to formally say your vows after all!)


  • “From 4 February 2022, you must wear a face mask when attending a gathering — you cannot take your face mask off for photographs, but you can take it off to eat and drink.”
  • However, a very important line from this week’s order hasn’t been included on the government-run website: “These changes won’t apply to… gatherings where you have the exclusive use of a premises.”
  • Do you have exclusive use of the premises for your wedding? You’re not expected to be masked the whole time. However, it is still “strongly encouraged” for people to wear face coverings at events (a wedding is a small-scale event, after all)
  • Remember, there are new changes coming in all the time. Please ensure you’re not going with outdated advice.

Yes, masks are a pain – but we won’t have to wear them forever. Embrace the craziness. We’ll look back on this in years to come and it’ll be utterly surreal. But it’s currently real – so, please – keep safe out there!

*here’s a tip: although I suggest to store away your lovely masks, I’m considering ‘double-masking’ a surgical mask with my cloth masks. You know, just for fun.

**although formal speakers are exempt from wearing a face mask when they’re talking, we’re encouraged to do so, and I will be wearing one when I am around people and guests I do not know. This is my own rule.


Why do we have to wear masks?

“Face masks help reduce the spread of COVID-19. You should wear one whenever you can. COVID-19 spreads by droplets, so face masks are a way we can protect ourselves and others.” More info HERE.

Which mask is the best?

N95 and P2 masks, when worn correctly, filter out the airborne particles produced by someone’s breath.

Surgical masks are less effective than N95 and P2 masks but are more effective than cloth masks.

Cloth masks are currently considered efficient for the general public.


An earlier version of this article stated: as of 26 January 2022 (but be prepared for them to change at any time!), here are the official rules:

  • it is “strongly encouraged” for people to wear face coverings at events (a wedding is a small-scale event, after all)
  • think of a wedding like you would if you were going to a restaurant. If you’re sitting at your table, you take your mask off. If you’re going to the loo, or passing through common areas, you put your mask on.
  • other than the aforementioned ‘strong encouragement’, currently there are no other rules but I would go with my gut feeling. If you don’t know the other people you’re in ‘breathing distance’ of at a wedding – keep your mask on. And if you shake hands with someone you don’t know – have some sanitiser handy. I know it sounds a bit paranoid – but these are just ways of keeping yourself safe from this dreaded virus.
  • remember – 1-metre physical distancing, so if you’re doing lots of cuddling while people are congratulating you, then this is your personal choice.

So, no current need to worry about all your wonderful wedding pictures being ruined, as you’re not expected to wear a mask the whole time at your own wedding. But, the exceptions are, like in any hospitality environment, when walking through common areas – it’s strongly advised you wear one.

And if you’re going to be cuddling dozens of people you haven’t seen in a while – you might want to have this conversation with your partner, bridal party, celebrant or wedding planner – what your personal rules are around this for your wedding. A good idea would be to have your celebrant give a “mask, cuddling and distancing rule” as a notice at the beginning of the ceremony, and have your MC remind guests about this later. Have a firm plan and roll with it.

(These rules are now out-of-date. I have updated the original blog so there is no misinformation.)