Tips For Covid-19 Weddings & Events
Updated: Aug 28, 2020
Believe me, this pandemic has really been a pain for all of us, but I reaalllyyy feel for the couples who are having to navigate through this very difficult situation of either having their wedding, postponing their wedding, or a whole different plan-B. I'm here for ya'll, and I'm going to try to help give you some tips on how to make this a little easier.
Before I start writing this blog post, let's go over this first:
If you weren't already aware, I am not a doctor or medical professional. In fact, I'm almost 30 years old and I still faint when the nurse wraps a rubber band around my arm to find a vein. I'm actually feeling nauseous just typing that. So no, I am not here to give you medical advice on Covid-19, or any virus for that matter. I am not encouraging anyone they should or shouldn't have their event during this time, I think that involves two things: the mandates and regulations of the state/location of the event and the couple's decision.Some couples have reasons to go ahead with their plans and some couples have reasons to change theirs. Ultimately, the couple should choose what they feel is best since it's THEIR day, and everyone invited should be allowed to make their own judgement on wether they voluntarily go or don't go.
Ok, now that we've got that out of the way - let's address one more thing before I get into the good stuff. Let's discuss opinions on people holding their weddings right now.
For those of you who haven't planned a huge party that costs anywhere on average between $15k-$60k (even more for a lot of couples), please understand that most weddings cost A LOT of money, take A LOT of work, and mean A LOT to people. This isn't your typical birthday party. Many couples lost deposits, some full amounts that they paid. A lot of them had to reschedule their events, which led most vendors to have little wiggle room in their schedules, therefore, couples had to repay new vendors if their original ones couldn't move to their postponed dates. Take it from me, as a vendor, it's been a total mess and almost like a huge game of Tetris, trying to reschedule and fit couples into already full calendars. I won't lie and sugarcoat the situation, it has been a lot for all of us to lose money, but something more irreplaceable that we lost was time. I had a couple who had to push their wedding out a year because the bride was deployed to a hospital as an Air Force nurse. The couple was getting ready to begin their married life together, and just like that - their plans were put on hold. I had another couple who struggled with the situation of postponing their wedding since the groom's father was very sick and given a short amount of time to live. The groom, who wanted his Dad to be part of his day before he passed, had to make the difficult decesion between going further with his original date or postponing it, ultimately knowing his father wouldn’t be there if he pushed out his date. Believe me, there are stories that will break your heart & there are millions of them. This is why you have to understand that every couple has to make their own decision when it comes to this sticky situation. As easy as it sounds to ask, "why don't they just reschedule their wedding when Covid-19 is over?"...the situation is MUCH more complex than you think.
That being said, let's agree to support these couples who are having to deal with this stressful time. Their weddings may not be what they originally planned, or what any of us expected, but that doesn't make it any less important to the meaning behind it. Celebrate them, congratulate them, and support them just as you would if it was under normal circumstances - then maybe sprinkle a little extra love for the stress they've dealt with.
So, if you are planning your event during this time, and want some tips on how you can make your plans more "covid-19 friendly", I've made this list for you! If you are planning on attending a wedding, there are also great tips for you to help.
1. LIQUID GOLD: If you can get your hands on liquid gold (aka hand sanitizer), and NO, not the actual gold kind with sparkles in it...but the kind with at least 70% alcohol in it, then make it accessible to your guests. Sure, they can use the restroom's soap and water if you can't supply this; however, hand sanitizer makes it easier for guests to continually sanitize their hands without having to wait to use the restroom. Personally, I would put them in high traffic areas, for example: near the food (not near a flame though people, remember its highly flamable), at the bar, and where they are walking in. We supply hand sanitizer at our events and I went to Target and bought some really pretty glass and gold soap pumps to pour it in. As much as we’re used to hand sanitizers being everywhere at this point, not everyone wants a turquoise bottle of Germ-X in all their photos, so you can make them pretty! Again, if hand sanitizer isn't something you can find wherever you’re at - just make sure guests have a place to use soap and water. (as I mentioned, our venue provides hand sanitizer to guests, but make sure you ask your speicific venue if you need to bring this yourself)
2. CATERING ALTERNATIVES:
Changing up the original way you had planned to serve your food can be an easy fix! If you planned on having a buffet style dinner, you can still do this. Just have your DJ or MC release tables by number. Even if you aren’t having a seating chart, you can easily add table numbers to your tables and guests can be called up by the table they're at. This will eliminate a large crowd of guests huddling together and hovering around the food. You can also have your food served by the same person instead, eliminating guests from touching the same serving utensils over and over. I know, this seems almost like the school cafeteria with the lunch lady serving you, but don't worry, this won't look like that if you don't make it look like that - in fact, a lot of weddings were doing this before Covid-19. Ask your caterer if they are willing to have staff assigned to serving the different foods instead of the guests serving themselves. Warning, they may charge an extra fee for this since it does require more staff. If they aren't willing to do this, ask if there is any other option that allows guests to pick up already portioned food (example: a martini glass of shrimp and grits, a meat/veggie skewer, portioned meatballs, a personal sized dish of mashed potatoes, etc). You can also serve only appetizers if you don't feel comfortable with serving a full meal during this time. Just make sure your wedding isn't at prime dinner time - take it from me, a girl who likes to eat, that's torture. Lastly, another tip you can do is make your desserts "pick up friendly" - think cupcakes, or individual desserts that aren't having to be touched by more than one person. Cake is perfectly fine too, just make sure someone cuts it for the guests and has it so they can pick up their own plate. I think you can be creative and make this fun and unique for your guests! All of these food tips will make guests feel more comfortable about eating the food you've paid all that money for. Again, I am no medical professional, but from what we've been told, this virus spreads by droplets in the air, so surfaces and food aren't necessarily the biggest concern for picking up the virus; however, making food easier and faster to obtain for guests will allow them to move on and not huddle close together.
3. SPREAD THINGS OUT: Listen, no one wants to be squeezed together at a wedding EVER, but especially not during this time, so please don't try to. If your venue has outdoor space, ask them how you can use the area to create more space and fresh air for your guests to enjoy. In fact I highly suggest everyone put as many tables (and anything else) outside if possible. A sure way to spread the virus, is by cramming a bunch of guests into a small space and asking them to sit there for a long period of time. Make your event "space friendly" by considering where high traffic areas will be, and spacing them out. For example, try not to put the bar right beside the food. Those are both things that create lines. Put them on opposite sides, which will make people move in different directions. You can also do things like: less chairs at tables, ask families to sit together, and add more space between the rows of seating at your ceremony to help people feel more comfortable and safe. Lastly, if you are having a DJ/Band and still want people to enjoy themselves and dance, my biggest tip is to make your dance area as large as possible. If this means moving it outdoors, do it. If this means less seating inside, do it. (Remember, people only spend about an hour at their seats while eating.)
4. SOCIAL MEDIA ADVANTAGE:. Whether you're cutting your guest list down, you have guests who can't physically get there, or you're choosing to do a more intimate or destination wedding, use social media & video to allow your guests to still be a part of your big day. I know, it's not technically ideal, but it's actually becoming more and more normal now. Technology can be our friend during these times. There are all kinds of apps that allow you to stream your event live, and you can also create a private Facebook group which only allows invitees to see your live stream of your wedding. Plus, you can save it and show it to your kids one day - what a story that will be to explain to them! If you aren't for the social media thing, I highly suggest hiring a videographer, who can film your day and will allow you to share it with guests that couldn't make it.
People are so confused right now: "Are things open?" "Are you required to wear a mask?" No one wants to be the one who asks you if your wedding is still on, because it's kind of a touchy subject and it's also awkward if you've planned on uninviting them if you are cutting down your guest list. Be upfront when you decide on your plan of action moving forward. If that means getting a wedding website to share plans and communicate with guests, do it. If you need to reach out to them individually, feel free to do that (p.s. don't forget that your bridal party can help you). No matter what - if you cut your guest list, move your wedding date, or move your wedding location, don’t forget to explain to guests or your vendors that you did. AWKWARD. Also be clear on anything you want your guests to do prior to the wedding. Example, if you want them to wear masks or you/or your venue requires a temperature check before entering the venue, make sure you give people a courtesty heads up before they actually get there. You can find so many cute ways to tell your guests your plans, I highly recommend Pinterest for ideas on this...just don’t get distracted, you know who you are ;)
6. DOWNSIZE: If there isn't enough space at your venue to make your original # of guests feel comfortable and safe, the last "controllable" tip I have is to downsize the number of guests at your wedding. I know it's not easy, and puts you in an uncomfortable position, but listen...anyone who is offended that you are having to do this is just plain silly. You didn't expect this to happen, no one did, and at the end of the day - you are a better person for having your guests' safety (whether they make the final guest list or not) in mind. You're doing the right thing, don't let anyone tell you differently.
7. GUESTS, DO YOUR PART TOO: If you plan on attending a wedding, remember that YOU have a responsibility when voluntarily choosing to attend, too. The venue, vendors, and couple can only do so much to help make the event safe because at the end of the day the food isn't going to give you coronavirus, the venue itself doesn't carry coronavirus, and the couple isn't asking infected guests or ill guests to come - coronavirus is carried by people, so you have to do your part as the actual people to make things more safe. HERE’S SOME TIPS FOR YA’LL: Don't come if you‘re sick or have been around someone sick, wash your hands continuously, keep a comfortable distance, get fresh air, don't arrive to the wedding more than 25 minutes early (sit in your car if its a possibility if you arrive early), don't bring a large gift if possible (bring a card/gift-card or ship the gift to the couple), and bring as little items as possible. If you don't feel comfortable attending an event, good news - you don't have to! I can‘t say this enough because unfortunately people still dont get it, but remember there is absolutely no need to give the bride & groom (or anyone involved) your opinion on their decision: show up happy and healthy, or celebrate them in thought from afar. Only go if you're comfortable, and if you are, make sure you are being conscious of the comfort, health, and safety of other guests.
That sums up my tips for your weddings during the Covid-19 pandemic, and I really hope this helps couples and guests who are having a hard time with figuring out how to adjust with events they're planning or planning on attending. Look Covid-19 has really shaken things up, I think we can all agree on that. As much chaos as it’s caused, there is a bit of a silver lining in all of this. During this time I have seen most brides and grooms (including their families, & friends) make the best of this situation and ultimately becoming stronger throughout their trials and tribulations of this pandemic. It's also made many people more grateful for things they took for granted, including being able to celebrate things like weddings. Getting married has always been a precious thing, but this situation has really made them seem even more special. I know, it's not a huge silver lining, but it is a bit of positivity in a scenario that seems almost all negative. For the couples, their families/friends, and vendors dealing with this, I applaud all of you, you are true champs and take my word when I tell you, we're all going to make it through this as stronger, maybe a bit more exhausted, but way stronger people. I always tell people it’s not how you choose to celebrate, but the reason you’re celebrating - so keep that in mind & keep your mind focused on the reason you’re getting married! Now go look in the mirror, and give yourself a pep talk. YOU'VE GOT THIS, I PROMISE!!!
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