Couples have been changing their dates, following CDC guidance, and even considering the potential of a wedding hosted on Zoom. Now, with states reopening, and many allowing small gatherings of up to fifty people, the possibility for small wedding ceremonies to resume is a genuine reality. It also means that to host a wedding in the short-term, you, your vendors, venue, and guests, will likely have to comply with some specific health and safety guidelines to protect your guests, especially those who are immunocompromised. Below, we’ve summarized the most crucial compliance considerations to know for hosting a wedding post-COVID-19 outbreak.
Choose a COVID-Compliant Venue
Ask all prospective reception venues if they are following the COVID-compliance requirements of their state. This mandate may mean that sites must facilitate new sanitation stations for guests and staff, contactless faucets, staff who wear facemasks and other personal protective equipment (PPE), and maintain protocols for regular sanitization of frequently contacted surfaces.
Facilitate Personal Hygiene
To help guests stay healthy, offer hand sanitization products at your event. Consider adding personalized and travel-sized hand sanitizer bottles in hotel welcome bags and on reception tables. You might also consider face masks custom branded with your wedding hashtag, theme, or color scheme.
Make it a White-Glove Event
No bride wants to be photographed with friends and family wearing plastic gloves, but elbow-length satin gloves would look stunning. You and your bridal party will be introduced to and greeted by guests throughout the day. Consider ensembles that would allow women to wear elbow-length gloves and even gloves for men. Invite guests to do the same as part of your efforts to keep everyone safe while still looking stylish.
Opt for Sit-Down over Buffet
The CDC has cautioned against the consumption of food from buffets or any communal or family-style dining. Talk to your venue and caterer about a sit-down meal service that does not utilize communally served elements, such as bread baskets or appetizer stations. If you already planned for a buffet, talk to your stationer about sending out cards for guests to select a meal option.
Pair Down Your Guest List
This task might be the most challenging step for couples who were dreaming of a grand wedding with hundreds of friends and family members in attendance. You will need to have a candid conversation with your fiancé and both your families about a guest list that only accommodates fifty people total. Do plan for a B-list so that you can invite others if some on your initial invitees are unable to attend, and consider separate receptions for designated groups of friends and family members. For example, if you decide not to invite co-workers, plan a happy hour or small social gathering with your work friends when you return from your honeymoon.
Talk to Your Wedding Planner About the Layout for Your Venue
Your venue will likely need to comply with specific requirements regarding the necessary distance to separate chairs, tables, or how to ensure enough space for guests to flow and mingle about the room and still maintain safe social distance. While this might impact how intimate your ceremony or reception feel, remember that what is essential is that the people most important in your lives are with you on your special day.
Restructure Your Seating Arrangements
Traditionally, couples have to make sometimes difficult decisions for where to seat their guests. Should I seat my boss next to Great Aunt Ruth? If we put all our college friends at one table, what about the two that used to date and no longer get along? Should we create a separate kids’ table? On a positive note, you can eliminate the table seating stress from your wedding planning to-do list. Your venue will likely tell you that they will only be able to seat individuals from the same household together.
It’s been said countless times, and it’s true: the COVID-19 pandemic has changed nearly every aspect of our lives, including wedding planning. What it can’t change is the fact that love will always conquer all. Take your COVID-compliance requirements in stride, and don’t let anything stop you from planning the (safe) wedding of your dreams.