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You’ve planned the big day — but you sure didn’t plan for a pandemic. While strategies for pivoting your wedding plans in light of Coronavirus will vary from one situation to another, here’s a starter kit for all those hosting a wedding in the time of COVID-19.
In 2020, brides and grooms, venues and vendors are all in the same boat of uncertainty. Take a deep breath and find comfort in knowing you’re not alone. Everyone is taking this one day at a time. The important thing is to be kind and patient with each other, from family to vendors to guests, in this unprecedented time.
Professionals in the wedding industry are adapting to the realities of COVID-19 just like you. Already booked a venue? Check in with them to see how they’re staying informed and whether they’re taking the necessary precautions to keep you and your guests safe. Confirm with your venue contact what measures are currently in place, and discuss options for further precautions as needed depending on your wedding’s size and style.
Take the extra steps to help your guests feel they can attend your wedding with confidence. Stacey Vecellio, owner of The Cupola Barn in Oconomowoc, Wisconsin, suggests going to the venue and taking pictures of the space to share on your wedding website or social media. “Show guests there is outdoor space and places to stay socially distant.” If your venue is providing protective products, make your guests aware of that too. “Masks and gloves are worn by staff, and hand sanitizer stations may be made available upon request,” Stacey continues. “Barware can be made disposable to reduce the risk of touching and re-using.”
In addition to sweeping changes made by your venue to promote safety, think about how you can reconfigure certain parts of your wedding day for a more socially-distant celebration. For dinner, is outdoor seating an option? Can you seat fewer people at each table or space tables further apart? Is there space outside for guests to get some fresh air? The more space you can give your guests, the better.
It’s possible that your caterer will make the decision for you by banning family-style dining for the foreseeable future, which is a smart call. Opting for a plated meal means less chance of guests touching the same surfaces. If you should go for a buffet, make sure there are designated servers so that only one person has to handle the serving utensils for each dish.
Just how comfortable are your guests with attending a wedding during a pandemic? There’s an easy way to help them speak their truth: Set out a series of ribbons or colored bracelets and invite each guest to wear one to indicate their comfort level. Green means they are happy to hug and shake hands, yellow means they are cool with chatting but not touching, and red means they prefer to keep a 6-ft distance. Symbolic colors are an easy way for folks to be honest about their feelings.
Seize the opportunity to make your wedding favors fun and functional! Personalized face masks are a creative and useful little gift for guests. Consider masks in your wedding colors, ones tastefully embroidered with your initials, or perhaps masks adorned with a clever saying like “spread love, not germs.” Small bottles of hand sanitizer would also be a perfect choice, especially with a custom-designed label.
In the end, rest assured that your wedding vendors are professionals who are taking precautions for COVID however they can — especially your venue. The owners and coordinators at any good wedding venue are committed to giving you and your guests an experience that’s as unforgettable as it is seamless. That mentality hasn’t changed, pandemic or not. If anything, wedding venues are rising to occasion to keep brides, grooms, and guests feeling excited and at ease. This way, you can say “I do” and celebrate with confidence.