Having the wedding of your dreams during COVID-19 times is still possible.
Your wedding day is one of the most memorial events of your life. It’s now wonder that couples go through great effort to make sure everything is just perfect. Every detail is typically planned out, from the ideal spot, to the flowers, music, entertainment, and choreography of the event itself. Now COVID-19 has made the wedding planning more challenging, but not impossible.
Many couples have opted to wait-out COVID-19. And some couples have elected to have a smaller, family-focused wedding. But if you want to have a bigger wedding, here are some suggestion, tips and ideas for the perfect wedding during the pandemic.
The perfect spot for “I do”
It’s become clear that outdoor venues are preferred options for group gatherings than indoor locations. Try to find a wedding venue that has a large, beautiful patio that can easily fit the couple, the wedding party, and the guests while respecting social distance. Since many people go to weddings as couples, you may not need as much square feet of guest space as you think. Make a list of your guests, organize them by couples and immediate families, as these groups will prefer to sit next to each other. Then place each family group as a circle and place the different family groups 6 feet apart in your diagram plan. Determine how much square footage you’ll need for the wedding, after adding enough space for the marriage couple and the wedding party. You should anticipate that the wedding party will likely want to stand six feet apart from each other during the ceremony.
It’s best not to have seats set up before the event. The wedding party, designated volunteers, or paid staff can greet the guests at the entrance, determine how many are in their group, and setup chairs for the group as they come in. This way, your guests are socially distanced by families, but yet your wedding pictures will show a nice even filled room of guests. Encourage guests to stay at their seats until the event is over.
If your “I do” spot is in a church, synagogue, or other religious place, the guests should be escorted to their seating areas, spaced 6 feet apart by family or couple groups, and asked respectfully to stay in their designated seating area.
Green backgrounds also work great for pictures. Green is a neutral color so it enhances the composition of the people in the foreground. Consider a location with lots of greens, like trees, shrubs and bushes.
After the wedding
It is typical for a wedding to have a social time between the wedding and the reception. Everyone’s comfort level to participate in social activities is different. Some people don’t wear face coverings at all and are fine socializing, while others take the CDC recommendations seriously, wear face covering, and prefer to remain six feet or more apart from others. Your wedding needs to respect your guests’ different personalities and feelings.
In order to maintain social distancing, you may choose to setup more smaller tables with seats of four instead of the customary larger round tables for eight to twelve people. Using tables of four allows people to have the option to just sit with their immediate companion or family. And small tables are easy to quickly pick up and adjust for larger families or connected social group. Space the tables apart with enough social distancing.
Ideally, don’t have a bar. Instead have servers bring drinks to your guests who are sitting at their tables. This prevents the social gathering typically found around bars, and will make the event more comfortable to your guests who are more at risk for COVID-19 or simply more apprehensive with the pandemic.
If you feel compelled about having a bar, either because it’s more economical or for personal reasons, then establish a line system with a rope or markings so that guests have to stand in a designated line to get a drink. Mark the flooring with what has become the standard circle with two feet at every 6 feet or more so guests know that six-feet separation is expected. And have a similar line designated, without the floor markings, on the way out of the bar so that people are discouraged from congregating around the bar area.
Open patio areas area useful for social distancing guests at the wedding, and also useful area to take lots of beautiful pictures.
For the guests and the wedding couple alike, the reception is the moment everyone looks forward to having fun, celebrating the moment, and engaging in good cheer. In order to keep the reception safe and comfortable for your guests, there are a few things you can do.
Consider using various size tables that accommodate your guests’ guest and family. If your inviting your cousins and uncles and everyone has already been hanging out, place those people in larger tables of 8, 10 or 12 people. On the other hand, if you’re inviting your co-worker and her husband, place them in a smaller table for four but set-up for only two people. If you know certain couples are already socializing and are okay being close, place those four people in a table for four together. With a little planning, and varying table sizes, everyone can be seated in a way that is sensitive to their COVID-19 concerns. Of course, after you arrange who’s seating with who, plan out to space the tables so that the groups are more than six feet apart.
Wedding typically involve dancing and festivities. There are many table dances that can be done. Talk to a DJ who is experienced in organizing senior citizen parties. These DJ already know many ways to encourage table arm dances and fun other things to do without a lot of room mobility. Instead, or you can do both, place a tape marking on the dance floor creating squares of six feet so that there is a visual sense for the guests to know generally how far to stay away from each other while dancing.
You can also consider two dance areas. One dance area for people who wish to maintain social distancing, with designated marks, and another dance floor for guests who aren’t concerned with social distancing. This way you show your guests that you took the time to be sensitive to their needs.
There’s also the option of providing face covering to guests at the wedding. You can customize the face covering with a cute wedding message, photo or image, and make it extra fun. Face covering can be available for guests to use in lines or when dancing. This way, you may be able to get away with one dance floor, less trouble, while still showing concern for your guests’ safety and comfort level.
If your wedding location doesn't have a great background for pictures, nothing stops you from getting in the car and traveling to a neighboring spot with some landscape, landmark or beautiful backdrop.
It is customary for the wedding party to provide a wedding registry of items that the couple needs to start their journey together. A gift registry allows you get items that you need, and simultaneously makes it easier for the guests to gift to the couple. There’s no easier, faster and better gift registry system than Giftapart. Using Giftapart, the wedding couple can actually prioritize the list and get items — over 25,000,000 products from hundreds of stores you know and trust — in order of preference. This way, if you need a refrigerator, your guests all chip in to that refrigerator, and you get it first. And for the guests, it’s much easier than the gift registries of the past, because guests don’t have to hunt for the gifts in their price-point. The guests simply come to your Giftapart list and pay for as many parts as they want.
Some guests like to issue a check. And we all know some people who like to do that on the actual wedding day. But checks and money are another method of spreading COVID-19. The guest can be reminded that the couple prefers gifting through Giftapart, and guests can easily contribute to the wedding couples list even at the wedding event itself. And since the guests are contributing to exactly what you want, in the order you want, you know you’re getting precisely what you need and want. Plus, with Giftapart’s social feed, guests are encouraged to share a special message that’s forever saved as a memory for this special day. Giftapart has also found that couples generally get more value from the Giftapart gift registry system than other lists, because Giftapart is more entertaining and those who decide to make a public post are usually inclined to contribute more.
If your wedding space is limited due to social distancing or other factors, close up pictures work out perfect because there's no background scenery to worry about. And close up pictures can be romantic and beautiful at the same time. Mix it up, take a variety of pictures, and see what works.
Picking the location
Outdoor weddings are ideally suited for the current times. There are many banquet facilities that offer outdoor options. With the colder weather creeping in, banquet venues are using outdoor heaters and tents to keep ventilation flowing while providing heat and comfort. Talk to the location of your dreams and ask them how they can accommodate an outdoor event.
Beach weddings are ideal for the current times because they provide large outdoor spaces, easy to accommodate portable seats, and are great for photos too. Weather is always an issue for beach weddings, so you need to have a flexible schedule, so if it’s not 11 am because of a shower, perhaps you wait until 1 pm. Certainly, having a tent option at the beach, or an indoor backup option is ideal.
Don’t forget, you’ll want to take beautiful pictures on your wedding day, so make sure that the spot you pick not only can accommodate a COVID-19 social distancing event, but also has pretty areas for great pictures. Plants and flowers make great backgrounds. Look around the venue, ask where the tent will be setup, and look for areas that will make great backgrounds for your wedding and post-wedding pictures.
The most important part of the wedding is to have fun. Take pictures that capture the personality of the two of you. You may wish to take some formal pictures, but don't forget the spontaneous ones too!
Inform your guests
Now that you’ve taken the time to prepare the perfect social distancing wedding, make sure your guests know that you’ve gone the extra mile to make the event comfortable and safe for them. In the invitation, inform your guests that social distancing will be provided, what steps you’ve made in the seating arrangements, that face covering will be provided, and whatever else you’ve done. This will go a long way in letting your guests know that you’ve thought about their needs and care about their wellbeing. This results in more guests RSVP’ing “yes” and better gifting outcomes. And, of course, in the end, it’s all about making your guests super comfortable and happy at one of the most special and wonderful days of your life — so that everyone can have a fabulous time, and make your wedding everything that you’ve always dreamed it should be.
Sharing is caring
Do you have ideas on how to have the perfect wedding and still be COVID-19 safe, share them in the comments section.