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Cynthia Bailey wedding

Source: Bravo / Getty

Real Housewives of Potomac star Gizelle Bryant enjoyed herself at Cynthia Bailey’s star-studded wedding to Mike Hill in Acworth, Georgia on October 10. However, she had to make a beeline for the exit once she started to feel like people weren’t being as safe as they should be during this pandemic.

While visiting Watch What Happens Live with Andy Cohen this week, she was asked about the wedding. When quizzed about whether or not people were wearing masks, Cohen said it didn’t seem like it, which made him “nervous.”

“I was very nervous, too,” she admitted. “In the beginning, when it first started, absolutely, everybody had either a shield or a mask on. But then people started eating and drinking, and that’s when it was chaos a little bit.”

The reality star said she left before commentary from the bride and groom because mask wearing became less and less prevalent as the night went on. Also, her boyfriend Pastor Jamal Bryant was waiting to visit with her, so there was that, too.

“I actually left before the toast happened…I left because people started taking their masks off. I just felt very nervous,” she said. “I just had to go back to my hotel and do some things…”

While I won’t comment on Bryant’s business back at the hotel, I will say that I understand where she’s coming from about the struggle of trying to enjoy an event in support of a friend or loved one during this time because you feel you aren’t safe due to the lax behavior of other attendees.

I can relate because earlier this month, I attended the bridal shower and wedding of my niece. I had been very apprehensive about doing so in the months leading up to the events. I had just given birth to my son in the spring and I didn’t believe it was a good idea to expose myself to people who could make me sick and then in turn, end up making my child ill with the coronavirus. I didn’t have an in-person baby shower because of this, and haven’t seen my excited parents since last year. Sacrifices had been made. Nevertheless, because it was such a special occasion for her, and the rest of my family on my husband’s side were set on going, I tried to take all the precautions I could and be supportive.

I kept my mask on at all times. I kept my distance from people who weren’t family. I bought a bucket hat with a protective shield for my son, and took him out of the event space when people would eat. The wedding (there were two actually because of Nigerian culture) went off without a hitch. The venue took temperatures and also only allowed close family and friends indoors for the reception, while all other guests were allowed to party in tents outside in the open air while still wearing masks. I also took my son away to an empty space available at a certain point when he was ready to sleep, and people respected my space. I stayed there, with my father-in-law who couldn’t stand how busy everything was, until it was time to go. No dancing. No nothing.

But the bridal shower before all that was very scary for me.

The young ladies who helped plan the event for my niece handed out masks when guests walked in, but they weren’t wearing one. In fact, they didn’t wear one at any point in all the festivities. They helped present people food without masks on, and the temperature taking instrument they had for the event, went unused. On top of that, when it was time to eat, most of the guests took off their masks and left them off. Scared out of my mind over it, especially since the space was small (door open or not), I shuffled food into my mouth and quickly pulled my mask back down each time I wanted to take a bite of something. It was a nice event, but I absolutely couldn’t wait to leave.

The problem with events like these, in many cases, is that while people tend to show up looking to follow the rules, they can get way too comfortable at a certain point. If staff aren’t in charge of reminding guests to keep their masks on or to stay at a distance, despite the best intentions of those who planned the occasions, there’s a possibility it could still turn into a super-spreader event. Hell, even one positive COVID test after a big event is one too many right now.

As for Bailey’s nuptials, Cohen and Bravo as a whole decided not to be present to capture the wedding. Concerns over the guest count, which was over 200 people, left RHOA producers feeling like it wasn’t worth the risk to attend.

Before the big day though, Bailey swore up and down that things would be safe and if people couldn’t play by the rules, they would need to leave. However, it sounds like those who wanted to play by said rules were the ones who ended up exiting stage left. I don’t blame them.

As excited as we all are about big moments in our lives and want to celebrate with everyone, we all need to really consider if this is truly the best time to do it. With no vaccine, more than 200,000 dead from COVID-19 in the U.S. and with cases back on the rise, we need proper leadership and a serious plan. Not parties. Big events, even the ones with the tightest restrictions and precautions, should really wait.

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