Skip to main content

MDH provides more guidance on new wedding capacity limits

The new rules only apply to the reception, not the ceremony.

With Gov. Tim Walz's executive order on Tuesday comes new restrictions on weddings – the receptions, not the ceremonies.

Currently, wedding receptions are limited to 250 people but Executive Order 20-96 will eventually limit pre- and post-ceremony festivities to 25 people.

This new order comes as COVID-19 cases in Minnesota are surging, due in no small part to social gatherings, including weddings. The Minnesota Department of Health (MDH) said Tuesday that 851 COVID-19 cases and one death have been linked to 96 different weddings. 

The new capacity restriction for wedding receptions and other similar celebrations will be phased in to give couples more time to make changes to their plans if needed. 

Starting Nov. 27, celebrations must not exceed 50 people. Then, on Dec. 11, receptions are limited to 25 people – regardless of if the event is held indoors or outside. 

These events cannot take place between 10 p.m. and 4 a.m. Masks, social distancing and other previously announced requirements are still in effect. Dancing is allowed but state health officials strongly discourage it because it has a higher risk of spreading COVID-19.

BMTN asked MDH what happens to those whose weddings are happening in the next few months and have invited significantly more people to the reception than the 25 maximum.

A spokesman responded: "We appreciate that weddings are a once in a lifetime major milestone event. Unfortunately, during the pandemic they have also contributed to the spread of COVID-19.

"The purpose of giving celebrants a transition time of November 27 and December 11, is to provide that time to allow them to make changes in their plans. Large gatherings are especially dangerous in this stage of the pandemic."

But for some couples the transition time might not be long enough, with one couple telling WCCO the new restrictions on both party size and the 10 p.m. cut off for service have thrown their New Year's Eve wedding plans into disarray.

The change will also have an impact on venues that are now facing a shortfall in the expected revenue as they host smaller events.

This new guidance only applies to the wedding reception, not the actual ceremony. The state has different requirements for ceremonies, which are less restrictive. 

That's because state public health data show the ceremonies haven't been the primary cause of the spread of COVID-19, it is the celebration after the ceremony – when people are socializing, drinking, and dancing – that has resulted in outbreaks, health officials said. 

By nature, celebrations like wedding receptions allow people to gather together with people outside of their own households to eat and drink without face masks, the Executive Order says, adding that: 

"Many gatherings, celebrations, bars, and restaurants also serve or involve alcohol, which can lower inhibitions and interfere with effective social distancing. Further, we tend to let our guard down when we gather around close friends and family, even though the data shows that these gatherings are often just as risky as gathering around strangers."

Gov. Walz told reporters on Tuesday that he's hopeful that if people heed public health recommendations, the capacity restrictions will be loosened for the spring.

Next Up

police lights

Man arrested after abduction attempt in Bemidji

The incident occurred in Cameron Park on June 25.

betty danger's

Betty Danger's in NE Minneapolis for sale for $4.2 million

The asking price includes the restaurant's ferris wheel, as well as a nearby single-family home.


Minnesota health officials warn monkeypox cases could grow rapidly

The state has so far confirmed only six cases of monkeypox virus.


Bodies of woman, three young children recovered from Vadnais Lake

Authorities say the bodies recovered were those of two boys, one girl and their mother.

Pixabay laptop keyboard phone dark

Charges: Duluth man had hundreds of child porn images, videos

The National Center for Missing and Exploited Children found nearly 330 images on the man's electronic devices.

hennepin county sheriff water patrol lake minnetonka

Scuba diver found dead in Lake Minnetonka identified as 20-year-old

The Hennepin County Medical Examiner's Office said 20-year-old Brady Alan Aune, from Elko New Market, died of freshwater drowning on June 3.

Screen Shot 2022-06-30 at 11.18.35 AM

Felony charges filed after authorities search 'Peacebunny Cottage'

The president of the rabbit rescue non-profit faces multiple animal cruelty charges after over 40 rabbits were found dead inside the organization's barn.

monkeypox virus

Minnesota up to 6 confirmed cases of monkeypox virus

Most people recover at home within 2-4 weeks.

thc edibles

Did Minnesota just accidentally legalize THC?

A Republican lawmaker who voted to approve the new law in May is already talking about rolling it back.

Screen Shot 2022-06-30 at 3.19.42 PM

Gasoline may be cause of sewer explosion on U of M campus

An all-clear was given around 9 p.m. Thursday, with residents in the area allowed to return to their homes.


Overwhelming demand for THC products on first day of new law in MN

One shop owner said his Chaska store broke the online sales record before they opened Friday morning.


Muddy Waters, coronavirus, covid-19

Walz: Change to restaurant, bar guidance unlikely before June 1

Churches can allow 25% capacity up to 250 people, but bars and restaurants can only serve a max of 50 customers outside only.

thanksgiving turkey

COVID-19: MDH's guidance for celebrating Thanksgiving during a pandemic

MDH's guidance for celebrating Thanksgiving this year asks people to avoid large gatherings and instead celebrate in small groups or with family.


Minnesota wedding now linked to 75 COVID-19 cases

More than a quarter of the attendees have been infected, according to state health officials.


MDH: Wear a mask, spread out when celebrating this weekend

"We need to be in a new normal and to continue to stay vigilant this weekend to protect ourselves and our loved ones," MDH Commissioner Jan Malcolm said.

Screen Shot 2020-11-23 at 8.35.40 AM

More than 230,000 people have downloaded Minnesota's COVID exposure app

The more people who use the app, the more effective it is.

face mask

COVID-19: Retail stores in Minnesota no longer have capacity restrictions

Shopping isn't risk free, but when precautions are taken it hasn't been connected to many outbreaks.