August 4, 2020
So, you’re planning a wedding, and we are many months into this pandemic now, and frankly, I’m tired of it. While I’d love to say, let’s just move on with our lives, that seems to be becoming increasingly challenging. Personally, I’m just thankful that I can send my kids back to school in the Fall! I’ve loved having them home with me since March, but I think we are all ready for school to start. They miss their friends so much!
More and more weddings are being postponed or even cancelled. Just when I thought we were at the end of the cancellations and the postponements, its like another wave just crashed in. For those of you who don’t want to postpone or cancel, I have some options for you!
What is a micro wedding? It’s just a small version of a wedding! You still get the ceremony, cocktail hour, and reception, but on a much smaller scale. You can make this work in almost any state’s guidelines for social distancing. You may not want this option if it’s limited to less than 20 people, but you definitely have options here! Plus, can you say intimate? These weddings are turning out seriously cute, intimate, and honestly, I hope it’s a trend that sticks! I love the big, lavish weddings, don’t get me wrong, but there is something special about only having the very most important people there with you. These weddings are limited to 50 people, or less. You’ll have a small ceremony, your grand entrance, first dance, cake cutting, and a send off.
Yep, that’s a made-up word. I can’t take the credit for it, but it’s a cool word. So, what does it mean? A minimony is a small ceremony made up of only your closest friends and family, up to 10 people. Many couples are opting for a minimony on their original wedding date, so they can be legally married, and will hold a ceremony sequel at a later date (maybe on your dating anniversary, the anniversary of the day he proposed, or even the anniversary of your legal wedding). I love this, because as much as I love weddings, I love marriages even more! Your wedding day is about your commitment to loving that person for the rest of your lives together, and that is something special, that doesn’t need to wait until you can have a party.
This is something that is known by many names. Many people call it a “multi celebration event” or a “multi day event”. We think Wedding Festival sounds fun. Here’s what that looks like:
Have your socially distant ceremony, intimate ceremony, or elopement now, on your original wedding day.
Have your reception 1 year later, on your anniversary! Is there any better way to spend your anniversary than putting your wedding dress back on, getting glammed up, and partying with your friends and family? Of course, there is no guarantee that things will be back to “normal” on your one year anniversary, but we are cautiously hopeful!
We truly are in the digital age, aren’t we? Weddings and even reception formalities are being live streamed across the globe to allow guests to share in the delight of your wedding day, without leaving the comfort and perhaps safety of their own home! Many DJs are offering this service.
A shift reception is exactly what it sounds like, a reception that happens in shifts. One group of people comes, spends a little time with the newlyweds, they leave, and another group comes. There’s a lot of planning, logistics, and coordination that comes along with a shift reception, so I highly recommend having a professional help you with those details.
Now that you know a few of your options, there are quite a few “standards” and logistics to consider putting in place, in order to provide a safe environment for yourselves and your guests.
How much space do I need?
First of all, you’ll want to make sure whatever venue you are considering will have enough room for social distancing. This means allowing 36-50 square feet per person! So, if you have a wedding with 70 guests, 10 vendors, and the newlyweds (82 people total), you would want to have 2952 square feet to 4100 square feet, to allow what is considered proper social distancing. That’s quite a lot of space!
I always recommend seating assignments (or at least table assignments) regardless of the current global situation. The quick explanation is that it eliminates the awkward moment when guests walk into your reception, and they don’t know where to sit. People like to be told what to do in these circumstances. With COVID-19, there are additional reasons why you may want to have seating/table assignments at your wedding reception. First of all, some people are more strict about social distancing than others. There will be different levels of comfortability at your wedding, so it’s best to assume that everyone is uncomfortable sitting with someone who doesn’t live in their home. Always work to the comfortability level of the least comfortable person in the room – it’s a respect thing. So, here is my suggestion (and I know it costs more money, and more time planning, and more logistics, but hear me out, because it’s actually pretty neat, and I hope it’s a trend that sticks around), reserve tables for each family living in one household. This means you will have some tables for 2, some for 4, 6, 8 and so on. It can create a very unique and fun layout, and people get to sit with just their families – which many people would love! This likely would mean renting different sizes of tables and linens.
Food & Beverage
As much as I don’t want to say it, perhaps in some cases, it’s best to not have food and beverages at weddings right now. If it’s something that concerns you, just don’t do it. Guests will survive, I promise. You can always have pre-packaged snacks for people to much on. Most places you will not be able to have a buffet at the moment. If you can have a buffet, it may be required that a member of the catering staff fills your plate for you. We probably shouldn’t be having family-style meals at the moment, and best case scenario is a plated and served meal – of course that does come at a cost.
For beverages, I’ve seen a few really neat ideas that I love! Guests get a phone number they can text their drink order to, they can pay on their phone, and the staff will bring their drink straight to them! Another great idea is that the staff will take orders for the first round of drinks during cocktail hour, so there isn’t a rush of guests flooding the bar all at once. Of course, you can also 86 the bar all together, which can also save you bucket-loads of money!
So, how do we get people out on the dance floor, when they’re supposed to be six feet apart from people? Well, there are a few things you could do. Having multiple dance floors spread throughout your venue could certainly be fun, perhaps an outdoor dance floor on the patio? Having “dots” on the floor to show how far apart 6 feet is, can be another good option. Talk to your DJ about some of the different things they’ve seen.
This can actually be a little bit fun and practical! You could have custom masks made, custom door openers, or custom hand sanitizer. I also love the trend of giving a pre-sliced piece of cake or a cupcake in a to-go container as a favor! Most (if not all) states are requiring cake to be pre-slice and in individual containers right now, so why not make them a favor for your guests too! You can absolutely still do a photo booth favor as well, we will have another blog post soon about the steps we are taking with our mirror photo booth to ensure safety of our staff and guests. You can create custom masks on Custom Ink or Canvas Discount among many other places.
Congratulations greeters, your job has never been more important at a wedding! Greeters should open the door for all guests to enter the building to limit touch-points. Greeters should wear a mask and disposable gloves. They will open doors, do temperature checks, and handle the first sanitizer station of the event.
Speaking of sanitizer stations, how many do we need? Where should they be located? This is pretty simple, you’ll want one at the entrances and exits, one or more at the bar (depending on the size of your bar), one on on the DJ’s table (or next to it), one next to your photo booth, and one outside of each of the bathrooms.
Hugging and Handshakes
We all know what the CDC would say about hugging at a wedding. It’s a no from them. However, we all know that there are different levels of comfortability when it comes to close contact right now. I highly recommend updating your wedding website FAQ page or add a COVID page to explain how things will look the day of your wedding. Will you have a receiving line? Will hugs be okay? Handshakes? Fist bumps? High fives? Elbow nudges? What can they expect that may be out of the “norm” during the ceremony, reception, and cocktail hour? What safety precautions will you be implementing? Let your guests know what to expect! You could even make a cute or funny video to explain how things will look!
Comfortability Level Ideas
I’m sure by now you’ve seen the picture that circulated the internet of the Livestrong bracelets in different colors to reflect guest’s comfortability level when it comes to social distancing. I think this is a great idea! You could also have pins or even ask your guests to dress in a certain color based on their level of comfortability, or have them match their mask to their comfort level. You can create the wristbands on 24 Hour Wristbands.
Did you ever imagine that during your wedding, you might need to have someone wiping down the doorknobs and other high-touch areas every 30 minutes? I suppose it you’re a germaphobe maybe you did, but most people probably didn’t ever dream about pulling out the Clorox during their wedding. Many venues will already have a plan in place for sanitation procedures. They’ll likely be cleaning bathrooms and high-touch areas regularly and often throughout your wedding day. What should you do if your venue doesn’t have a plan like that? For example, if you’re getting married at a lodge in the woods, and there isn’t anyone on-site the entire day from the venue, what do you do then? Well, I suppose you could have your new mother-in-law bring her big rubber gloves and a bucket of Clorox. Some planners and coordinators are now offering this service as an add-on as well. You can also reach out to your venue to see if someone from their staff can accommodate this need.
Remember, even if everyone is wearing masks, even if not everyone can come, even if it’s live-streamed, even if there’s no food, even if it’s postponed, even if it’s just the two of you…
Ready to plan your wedding? Click here to schedule a free consultation.