After a crazy year of postponing and even cancelling weddings all over the country, many couples are starting to prepare for the 2021 wedding season. And although it may be slightly different from what they were originally planning, they are all still aiming for the same end goal… marrying the love of their life.
Although the pandemic has changed what weddings look like, there are still plenty of ways to host an unforgettable and safe celebration. We have some tips on how to keep your guests safe and the “must-haves” you may want to think about as you prepare to celebrate during a pandemic.
Masks are the Accessory of the Year
If you would have told me a year ago that masks were going to be the newest “on trend” accessory, I would have laughed out loud! Alas, here we are and we can find a mask to match just about any outfit for any event that we are attending. No more excuses!! While guests should be encouraged to wear masks to the wedding, it is a great idea for the couple to provide some “just in case” masks for any guest that may forget. Whether you chose to hand out disposable masks or personalize a cloth mask as a wedding favor, our best advice is to make sure that everyone at your wedding (guests, staff and vendors) is masked up and ready to celebrate safely!
Good hand hygiene should always be encouraged, but we cannot reiterate enough how important it is right now, especially at an event with a large group of people. We love the idea of hand sanitizing stations throughout the venue, especially at the entry and exit points. Couples should carry their decor and design throughout to keep those sanitizing stations from looking like an eye sore! Having it look inviting and beautiful will encourage guests to stop by and stay safe.
Properly Distanced Seating
We know it is hard enough to figure out seating for a reception, but the pandemic certainly found a way to kick it up a notch. It is recommended that tables are limited to families/people that live together in the same house and that tables are properly distanced from one another (6 feet). This gets super tricky because if you were planning to put a certain group of friends together at a table, it may not be able to happen. In fact you may have some tables with only 2 guests seated at them! Some see it as an obstacle, we see it as a unique opportunity for some super chic table styles, shapes, and sizes!
Seating also has to be considered for the ceremony, the days of just filing into a church or venue and taking a seat on the bride or groom’s side is a thing of the past. A great way to incorporate safe seating during the ceremony is to place small sofas or banquettes that will only allow for two or three people. These will also have to be socially distanced from one another. Signage and floor markers are also other ways to make sure that guests are keeping a safe distance.
Dance Floors: Limited Capacity or Restricted
It is particularly difficult to social distance on the dance floor, so unfortunately many couples are doing away with it for now. This is a total bummer… after all, weddings and dancing the night away go hand in hand. In fact the safest option for the first dance is that the couple only invite their parents to dance with them at a safe distance, instead of inviting everyone to join in. Another option is marking out dance floor squares so that each table (assigned by families) can dance within their square, keeping it safe but still fun!
Aside from having those special dances (first, mother/son, father/daughter), offering other non-dancing entertainment is also becoming a popular trend during the pandemic. Here is a list of some of the ways couples are making sure that their guests can still have a good time sans dance party:
- Mini Concerts… minus the dance floor -Instead of hiring a band or DJ, couples are looking to jazz bands. This will mimic a concert-like setting and encourage guests to enjoy music safely from their seats while still having a great time.
- Tasting Bars – Giving your guests the experience to taste different types of beer, whiskey, tequila or wine is a great way to encourage mingling in small groups.
- Table Games – Families can use this time to bond over a little healthy competition while they play games safely at their table.
- Fireworks – If you are having an outdoor wedding, what better way to entertain your guests while watching the skies light up in your honor!
Choosing a Plated Menu
When it comes to dinner, our best piece of advice would be to offer a sit down, plated menu. It is the safest option and each server can be assigned to just one table. Another great option would be to offer table service when it comes to drink service during dinner. This will curtail any unwanted crowding at a bar and offers your guests a very personalized, high-end service. If a plated menu is not an option, then we highly suggest having the caterers serve from the buffet style dinner or releasing just one table at a time to keep social distancing possible and to cut back on any crowds.
Other Ways to Keep Your Wedding Safe
Temperature checks at the entrance and requiring negative COVID tests before the event are other measures that couples are taking to keep their wedding safe. Although this may seem intrusive, sometimes your most cherished guests may also be the most vulnerable, so knowing they are safe will put you at ease on your wedding day.
Close greetings such as receiving lines, hugs and even handshakes are discouraged, so promoting air hugs, fist bumps and foot shakes are another small way you can keep your guests safe.
Making sure that there are always clean pens to sign your guest book so guests are not reusing the same pen over and over is another measure that will promote health and safety.
Anytime you have the option to move outdoors, we say go for it!! If weather permits and your ceremony can take place outside…do it! Being outdoors will help limit exposure and the risk of contracting COVID will be lower because of the circulating air!
Communicating your expectations and understanding your guest’s comfort levels is our final piece of advice for you as you continue on your planning journey. The pandemic may have changed the way we celebrate love, but it will never change love itself…so go get married! Just do it safely!