Attend COVID Wedding?

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newcollegeman
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Attend COVID Wedding?

Post by newcollegeman »

Dear Bogleheads,

I have great respect for your wisdom & perspective. And we have lots of medical experts here too. I covet your advice.

Our only daughter is engaged & wants a sizable wedding in June. What will be spent is in the young couple’s hands, but will make some contribution. It will doubtless be more expensive than I am comfortable with, since I think the marriage should be invested in more than the wedding event. But that’s not the biggest problem we face.

My wife & I care in the home for my 82 year old blind mother, who enjoys very poor health: congestive heart failure, kidney issues, growing dementia, history of strokes, and the list goes on. Our family doctor says none of the 3 of us should go to the wedding, as she wants us to remain on lockdown in the home, as we have since March, for the protection of my mother, who is ultra high COVID risk. Doc doesn’t want COVID being brought home. I teach online & keep very busy.

The doctor also says that I am high risk: 60 years old, afib history, diabetes, high blood pressure, and on medication for these.

What do you advise?

1) Should we obey the doc & simply not go to the wedding?
2) Should we press for an earlier micro private ceremony outdoors with social distancing, masks, and a very short exposure time (i.e., show & blow) for no more than 20 people? The doc suggested this as the next best option, although she still opposes it.
3) Should we ignore the doc’s cautions & be there for our daughter’s dream wedding?
4) Should we get a second medical opinion, and, if so, from who / where / how? I don’t know who to call. We are in a rural southwestern Virginia.

This is our only daughter. But we take seriously our responsibility to my Mom. I’d prefer not to throw reasonable caution to the wind for any of us. But the public advice in the media leaves one lacking confidence.

What do we do?

Appreciatively,

newcollegeman
sport
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Re: Attend COVID Wedding?

Post by sport »

It's a medical question. Listen to your doctor. Her opinion is authoritative. How would you feel if you went to the wedding, had a good time, and then brought the virus home and it killed your mother? Could you live with yourself?
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whodidntante
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Re: Attend COVID Wedding?

Post by whodidntante »

Not worth the risk to pretend COVID is not a thing, IMO. Social distancing and masks work, so attend the faux wedding or attend the real one virtually. Given marriage statistics, maybe you can attend her second wedding in a normal way. :twisted:
jjface
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Re: Attend COVID Wedding?

Post by jjface »

Does your daughter want you to be there? I mean if you can't attend such an event due to covid then you simply can't and hopefully she will make it so that all who she truly wants to be at her wedding can be there. Either a small intimate one with social distancing and masks etc or to wait. Fact is covid is here and we can't have things the way they used to be right now.
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David Jay
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Re: Attend COVID Wedding?

Post by David Jay »

I think it is way too early to decide not to go. Nine months is a long time. Think back 9 months. How many of your plans (as of December, 2019) are unchanged?

What if there is a widely available vaccine in the Spring (corona virus task force members are saying April for widespread distribution)? The two of you get the vaccine and go to the wedding. No risk to your mother.
Last edited by David Jay on Tue Sep 22, 2020 10:18 pm, edited 1 time in total.
Prediction is very difficult, especially about the future - Niels Bohr | To get the "risk premium", you really do have to take the risk - nisiprius
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Nate79
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Re: Attend COVID Wedding?

Post by Nate79 »

I'm confused. Right now is September and the wedding is in June. Why is there a decision needing to be made for something that is happening in 9 months?
Finridge
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Re: Attend COVID Wedding?

Post by Finridge »

For medical advice, you'll want to defer to your trusted medical advisors. If we even touch on that here, expect the thread to be shut down for violating the forum rules.

As far as risk assessment--the same principles you use in making decisions regarding risk with your investments and in other areas of life probably apply...

Since the pandemic began, I have seen a number of events done "virtually" via video conference, including one wedding. There were some people physically at the wedding, but others were participating via Zoom video conference. Look into whether that addresses your needs/concerns. It allows you to participate, while drastically reducing the risk.
snowblinded
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Re: Attend COVID Wedding?

Post by snowblinded »

Consider finding a videographer who can stream to Facebook Live. We had a small, family-only, socially-distanced funeral where the funeral home partnered with a local videographer who did it live for a few hundred dollars. This was well received by many older and at-risk family and friends who weren't able to travel or attend safely. It's not the same as being in person, of course, but it ended up being a workable compromise that maintained safety and peace of mind.
n8healer
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Re: Attend COVID Wedding?

Post by n8healer »

Option 2 seems best, but you should run it by your doctor first.
FoolStreet
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Re: Attend COVID Wedding?

Post by FoolStreet »

If you can’t trust your doctors, who can you trust?
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ResearchMed
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Re: Attend COVID Wedding?

Post by ResearchMed »

snowblinded wrote: Tue Sep 22, 2020 10:21 pm Consider finding a videographer who can stream to Facebook Live. We had a small, family-only, socially-distanced funeral where the funeral home partnered with a local videographer who did it live for a few hundred dollars. This was well received by many older and at-risk family and friends who weren't able to travel or attend safely. It's not the same as being in person, of course, but it ended up being a workable compromise that maintained safety and peace of mind.
Something like this, but as suggested above, you can wait a while to see what is needed by then.
Especially if done by a professional, this should be a good "next best" choice.

I'd suggest that you try to avoid any significant non-refundable deposits until much closer to the date.

RM
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phantom0308
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Re: Attend COVID Wedding?

Post by phantom0308 »

If it was just a matter of protecting your mother and you really want to go, I would think you could maybe arrange for some type of in-home care for the two weeks following the wedding while you quarantine in a nearby hotel. There are a lot of creative solutions if you know exactly how much risk you’re comfortable with.
I personally would want to understand what the bride and groom are thinking. My megacorp has said we’re WFH until next July and I know they’re not alone. June might seem like a long way out for individuals but the institutions that have to plan that far ahead have already made up their mind about how things are likely to turn out.
Loandapper
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Re: Attend COVID Wedding?

Post by Loandapper »

Take it from a healthy, athletic person who followed ALL the rules - religiously – and still got totally knocked out by COVID. It can be SIGNIFICANTLY more contagious than you think. If the wedding were held to be held today and you decided to go, you should make sure your affairs in order.
MathWizard
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Re: Attend COVID Wedding?

Post by MathWizard »

I think your daughter should make the decision not to risk your health or that of her grandmother, and not create a dilemma for you.

Failing that, I'd go along with the Dr's advice. You can always have a big shindig later,say on their first anniversary after the pandemic is over. Stream the service if you want.

I had to make a choice on a funeral of a brother. Slightly different for an only child, but she can choose the date, unlike a funeral.
shelanman
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Re: Attend COVID Wedding?

Post by shelanman »

Oof, this is a hazardous topic!

Only you can make this decision for yourself. Life isn't perfectly safe. It never was and it never will be. COVID-19 makes life less safe, though, and your choices can materially alter the risk.

This post includes some numbers and statistics. These numbers are not medical advice, they're rough guidelines based on me, an interested layperson, reviewing the existing case data from the CDC and from the public health department of Orange County, CA (because I waste an ungodly amount of time pouring over the local statistics).

As a 60-year-old male with multiple risk factors, COVID is a relatively high risk for you. If 100 people like you got COVID, on average somewhere roughly around 5 would die. Something like 10-15 of them would spend at least some time in a hospital. For survivors who end up in ICU, hospitalizations are typically between 2 and 6 weeks long.

For your 82-year old mother, the risk is higher. If she gets COVID, there is, depending on which statistics you look at, somewhere between a 1-in-8 and a 1-in-5 chance that she dies. And again, many survivors endure prolonged misery before recovering enough to go home.

COVID spreads quite easily. As viruses go, it's not that deadly -- the latest estimates put the range somewhere between 2x and 4x as deadly as typical seasonal influenza -- so definitely really bad, but not that crazy. The real danger is that it spreads absurdly easily as basically nobody has any immunity.

That means that if anybody at the wedding has COVID, and they aren't taking serious precautions, they're extremely likely to "share" with other attendees.

In my opinion, being in an indoor gathering with >100 people not taking social-distancing precautions and not wearing masks is a relatively high risk. (Not an insane risk, but a relatively high one). More importantly, though, because it is a relatively high risk activity, I would expect that selection bias would mean that attendees of the wedding would tend to be people who take significantly more COVID-related risk than average (after all, the average person would choose not to attend). This means that attendees of the wedding will be significantly more likely to have been exposed to COVID than the average population, compounding the risk of being at a large, close, indoor, active gathering.

This is one of the reasons that, during CA's first reopening attempt, indoor restaurants and bars had such a large problem -- some restaurants and bars didn't take precautions. That's very risky, but that risk wouldn't explain the huge explosion in cases. The real problem is that because they were so flagrantly not following the precautions, the only people who went were all of the people who didn't take precautions elsewhere in their lives either -- meaning that the more obviously the restaurant or bar didn't follow the rules, the larger the percentage of its custom brought the virus in, greatly magnifying the virus-transmission effect that these non-compliant businesses had when compared with businesses that were visibly taking precautions.

As I said, only you can decide what risks you are prepared to take. Your doctor is, understandably, telling you to do the thing that is best for your health. Assuming that you generally take COVID precautions, attending the wedding would increase the risk that you or someone you spend time with will die of COVID. If another wedding attendee has the virus, there is a high probability that at least some others will become infected at the wedding.
tibbitts
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Re: Attend COVID Wedding?

Post by tibbitts »

I don't understand what your daughter is thinking by planning an elaborate wedding so far ahead of time given the Covid situation. Did I miss something or do you not even know yet where this wedding will be relative to where you live?
galectin
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Re: Attend COVID Wedding?

Post by galectin »

OP-

Next June is quite some time away. It is hard to predict what the medical situation will be then. A number of different vaccines are in Phase 3 testing. Antectdotal evidence is that they have had good efficacy so far, so a FDA-approved vaccine will most likely be available early next year or even sooner. High risk individuals like your mother and you will have priority.

What I would do in your case is to plan to attend with my spouse. I would evaluate the medical situation next April. If it looks risky, I would then either not attend, or have my spouse attend while I stayed home with my mother and figure out a way for my spouse to quarantine for 7-10 days after the wedding before coming in contact with my mother.
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Watty
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Re: Attend COVID Wedding?

Post by Watty »

It is possible to arrange a wedding with surprisingly short notice.

They could just wait until April and decide what to do then and they would have two months to set everything up. They would likely need to be flexible about the details but it is very doable. I know someone that set up a wedding within two weeks once and it worked out just fine. Yes the bride was pregnant but they wanted to have the wedding before the baby showed. They basically just found a wedding venue that had an open date and more or less told them to set everything up for around a hundred people.

They might want to send out some sort of funny "Save the date??? Maybe" card to let people know the approximate date and that the big wedding may or may not happen.

In prior threads about weddings during a pandemic one concern was that you could give someone like a wedding venue or caterer or large supposedly refundable deposit but they might go out of business before the wedding and you would lose your deposit.
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ohboy!
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Re: Attend COVID Wedding?

Post by ohboy! »

Loandapper wrote: Tue Sep 22, 2020 10:48 pm Take it from a healthy, athletic person who followed ALL the rules - religiously – and still got totally knocked out by COVID. It can be SIGNIFICANTLY more contagious than you think. If the wedding were held to be held today and you decided to go, you should make sure your affairs in order.
Glad you are ok. Good to hear recovery stories. Do you know how you got it?
kiwi123
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Re: Attend COVID Wedding?

Post by kiwi123 »

sport wrote: Tue Sep 22, 2020 10:06 pm It's a medical question. Listen to your doctor. Her opinion is authoritative. How would you feel if you went to the wedding, had a good time, and then brought the virus home and it killed your mother? Could you live with yourself?
Or if you got sick... how would your daughter feel?

+1 for listening to medical advice and staying safe. These are strange times but in the bigger picture a delayed wedding or not attending a wedding is a small sacrifice to keep your immediate household (and yourself) safe.
mega317
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Re: Attend COVID Wedding?

Post by mega317 »

I’d rather be around for a long future of hanging out with daughter, spouse, maybe grandkids than go to one party.

A second opinion is a waste of time ain’t no doctor going to recommend you go into a crowd.

I had a very small fake ceremony for relatives who couldn’t travel to the real one and it was wonderful. Maybe better, got to spend real time with grandmas who couldn’t hear and we would have probably had no interaction with at the big one.
https://www.bogleheads.org/forum/viewtopic.php?t=6212
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galawdawg
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Re: Attend COVID Wedding?

Post by galawdawg »

I agree with others to wait and assess closer to June, which is over eight (8) months away. A lot can change between now and then.

If you still have concerns next spring, perhaps you and your wife could hire a live-in home health care aide who has been well-screened and tested for COVID and who could stay in your home for a few weeks during the wedding and upon your return to care for your mother. When you return, you and your wife can maintain social distancing from them, wear masks and perhaps even invest in a HEPA air filtration system for your mother's room to protect her until a self-quarantine period has passed and you and your wife are sure that you have not been exposed.
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prudent
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Re: Attend COVID Wedding?

Post by prudent »

Topic is locked, asking for medical advice, which is off-topic by forum policy. See: rules#rule-4c
Questions on medical issues are beyond the scope of the forum.
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