“The celebration will still be just that: a celebration of your love for one another among family and friends.”
Due to social distancing orders, many to-be-weds have organized “minimonies,” microweddings or elopements to celebrate. If you’re planning a wedding during the pandemic, we’re here to help. We’ve put together a guide on how to have a COVID wedding so that you can celebrate safely. With everything from conversations to have with your vendors to creative favors, we’ll help you plan an unforgettable (and safe) wedding during this uncertain time.
Here’s the good news: you can still have a wedding and celebrate with your loved ones. You and your partner simply need to rethink certain aspects of the wedding to ensure everyone (including you) can stay safe. It may be different than what you originally planned, but Desireé Dent, owner of Dejanae Events”Focus on the love that brought you together and make that love the center of your planning experience,” she says. “The celebration will still be just that: a celebration of your love for one another among family and friends. Don’t allow masks and hand sanitizer to over-shadow that.”
Follow Local (and National) Recommendations
If you’re unsure about how to plan a COVID wedding, we suggest looking to local and national recommendations first. They’ll provide a framework for you to start building upon. For example, some states are allowing more guests at gatherings than others.
It’s very important to check for updates from the Centers of Disease Control so that you’re aware of what they’re recommending. “All vendors should be following CDC guidelines, and the couple should respect that,” Dent says.
Check-In With Your Vendors
Once you’re aware of local and national guidelines, call all of your vendors. Talk about their COVID-19 protocols and how they will be implemented on the wedding day, and discuss your role in implementing those measures as a client. Perhaps even consider ways you, the couple, can help your vendors (see below for communication with guests). This responsibility doesn’t solely fall on your vendors as it’s your wedding and these are your guests, so you should help make sure the event is as safe as possible.
Work With Your Venue
Your venue is one vendor you’ll want to work closely with while planning a COVID wedding. Be clear on guest limitations so you don’t invite too many people. Talk to the venue about their rules regarding masks indoors and social distancing as well. That way, you can tell your guests exactly what to expect on the wedding day.
You should also think through the layout of the space to allow for proper social distancing. Work with your planner or the venue coordinator to figure out how guests can stay six feet away from each other throughout the event. They likely have creative suggestions for this, so be open to their ideas. For example, some venues are setting up socially distanced dance floors and ensuring tables are six feet apart.
Communicate With Your Guests
If you originally planned a 300-person gathering, you may need to rescind some of those invitations. Good news: it’s acceptable to gracioulsy uninvite someone from your wedding in light of the coronavirus. However, you need to take action as soon as possible so they can cancel any travel plans they may have made.
For guests who are invited to your COVID wedding, share the safety measures you’ll be taking and the expectations you have of those guests. For example, if they need to bring their own mask, make sure everyone knows ahead of time. If you expect guests to wear those masks the majority of the time (which we encourage), communicate that clearly so they understand exactly what they’re committing to. It’s your wedding, so you get to decide what safety measures you’d like your guests to follow on the day. Finally, spell out every detail on your wedding website so your guests can easily refer back to the information.
Invest in Signage
Even if you do your best to communicate with your guests before the wedding, it’s helpful to have reminders on the actual day. Invest in signage that gives your guests directions on how to keep others safe throughout the event. Signs for one-way traffic, assigned seats, or masks can help your guests make the wedding as safe as possible.
“Be sure to clearly and concisely communicate your expectations to guests via signage at the event,” says Jennifer Price, owner of Event Shop. “Nothing is cuter than a sign that says ‘Spread love not germs’ or ‘Mask up so we can party down.'”
Wearing a mask is one small, simple thing you and your partner can do to help keep your guests as safe as possible. We know the idea of rocking a face covering on your wedding day isn’t the most exciting, but it does reduce the transmission of coronavirus. To help you find the perfect face covering, we’ve put together a list of cute wedding masks that will actually look cute in your pictures.
Stock Up On PPE
In addition to wearing your own masks, we encourage couples to provide their guests with PPE to keep the event safe. Provide them with masks, hand sanitizer, gloves or any other protective equipment they might want or need. That way, everyone is doing their part to stay safe (and your vendors don’t have to worry about providing your guests with extra materials). “Custom masks are a great option to give guests as they enter the building,” Price says. “Couples can also provide a custom sanitizing station: hand sanitizer infused with lavender and mint will get rid of that stinky alcohol smell and keep everyone germ-free.”
Get Creative With Catering
Your caterer is another vendor to stay in close contact with. Talk about the ways they’ll be making mealtime as safe as possible (servers wearing masks and gloves, for example). The buffet meal you originally planned might have to be adjusted, but that’s OK. Talk to your vendor about the options available so that you and your loved ones can enjoy a lovely meal together—safely.
Take It Outdoors If Possible
Being outside is much safer than gathering indoors because there’s more space and airflow. If possible, see if you can plan an outdoor wedding instead of an indoor event. Or, if your ceremony is inside, try to organize an outdoor reception. Psst: indoors/outdoors wedding were already rising in popularity—now is a great opportunity to embrace the trend. The less time spent indoors, the better (not just for you, but also for your guests). We know it may be a huge change to your plans, but it’s a great way to make your wedding safer for everyone.
There are so many lovely wedding traditions: the receiving line, the late-night dance party, the family pictures. However, these popular events don’t coincide with social distancing guidelines, which means you’ll need to rethink them. Perhaps in lieu of hugs at your receiving line, your guests can give cards. Or, you can create mini dance floors so everyone can jam out to their favorite songs from a safe distance.
“I am fully aware that couples want to celebrate with their wedding guests, but they must remain vigilant,” Dent says. “This deadly virus still exists, and I’m sure they do not want to hear of anyone getting sick after their celebration. Understand that this ‘new normal’ for weddings will not continue forever, but if you are hosting a wedding during this time, additional precautions and protocols will be required.”
Call for Backup If Necessary
If you’re still worried some guests might not respect your wishes on your wedding day, consider calling in for backup. Whether it be a wedding planner, venue coordinator or security team, ask someone to keep an eye on the guests. If there’s someone breaking social distancing or refusing to wear a mask, perhaps this person can remind the guest of the expectations or politely ask them to leave the venue. That way, you don’t have to stress about confronting people on your wedding day.
Show Grace to Your Guests
Coronavirus is a serious health concern for many people. Even if they specifically may not be at risk, they might be living with someone who is or come in contact with someone who is (like their parents, who they’re grocery shopping for). Rather than pressuring guests (or members of your wedding party) to attend, go out of your way to tell them that they don’t have to attend if they don’t feel comfortable. They will appreciate how considerate it is of you to start that conversation. Know that your guests all wish to celebrate with you, but the pandemic is a unique circumstance. If they’re unable to attend, make sure you tell them you understand and that you can’t wait to celebrate together when it’s safe.