March 13, 2020
What to do if your wedding is affected by COVID-19
What a whirlwind it’s been! Many couples and wedding vendors were so excited to celebrate in 2020 and with everything going on, it can be very confusing and overwhelming to move forward with these celebrations. At this time of uncertainty, I would like to take a moment to discuss how to handle COVID-19 affecting your wedding and what we’re doing as your vendor to work with you despite these challenges…
What to do if you’ve already sent out your invitations
If you’ve sent out your wedding invitations and unsure about your guests’ willingness to attend, there are ways to ease their minds and communicate sensible precautions:
- If you have a website, update it immediately with information regarding travel precautions as well as ways you are working to mitigate the risks for guests who plan to attend your wedding. Remind them that if they have ANY symptoms, it is best to not attend. Give them a link to the CDC’s website where information is readily updated.
- Consider lengthening the RSVP window so that guests can see how COVID-19 will play out in the next few weeks. With information changing daily, it’s impossible to make decisions about attending large events with confidence. Know that it might take your guests a little longer to respond with their RSVPs. Be patient and reach out to them if they go over the RSVP deadline. Most of my couples give until about a month before the wedding day (which is typically 2 weeks more than what your venue needs to know the final headcount), so give guests that extra 2 weeks to figure out their plans.
If they’ve RSVP’d “Yes” but now they are a “MAYBE”
- Be gracious and thankful that they let you know. It’s not ideal, and it’s difficult to plan for seating arrangements and headcount and the other million things that go into wedding logistics, but it’s for the best. Be prepared for any scenario (aka, plan for a smaller guestcount).
If they cancel their RSVP
- Hopefully it’s before the window of time before you have to let your venue know so you can adjust that headcount. If not, there’s not a whole lot you can do, unfortunately. Be patient and remain focused. This situation is out of our control at this point.
- Remember that they don’t want to miss your wedding. Choosing not to attend is something they probably had to weigh heavily.
- If there’s still time to let your vendors know about changing headcount, do it immediately.
- Stay calm and focused. You are not in this alone.
If the wedding must go on…
Prepare, don’t panic! Some things you can do to ease your guests about COVID-19:
- Provide hand sanitizer stations throughout the venue with clear signage directing people to them.
- Have directional signage indicating where the restrooms are so people can wash their hands frequently.
- Have tissues and hand wipes readily available for guests so that they can wipe down any surfaces they come in contact with.
- If you have food stations or a buffet planned, talk with your caterer about what can be done to minimize the risk of contamination. Could you switch to plated service instead? Can you set a limit for the amount of people at the food stations at any one time? Is it possible to distribute gloves?
- Can the ceremony and reception venue accommodate changes in their layout to give more distance between guests as much as possible?
- If your wedding is taking place at a popular church or public place, talk to the venue manager about what their sanitation methods are after such gatherings.
- Have announcements made at the reception to remind people not to overcrowd food stations, photo booths, dance floor, etc. Reasonable social distancing should be taken wherever possible.
- Consider utilizing technology to include guests who cannot attend. Zoom wedding, anyone?
Communication is KEY
- Communicate with your coordinator and vendors as soon as possible regarding any precautions you want to take before and during your wedding day. If you need to cancel or postpone your wedding, let them know early so they can make arrangements. Be aware of their cancellation policies. Many will have non-refundable deposits, so keep that in mind!
- If your venue and vendors can modify certain logistics to minimize people coming into close contact with each other, ask them! They can be as simple as passing out gloves at food stations, or rearranging the layout of the space to discourage a heavy flow of crowds, asking your MC to make announcements reminding people to keep a reasonable distance when dancing, etc.
- If there’s anything that can be done to ease anxiety, let your vendor know. For instance, many wedding vendors are willing to take virtual meetings instead of in-person. We’re here for you and we’re in this together!
Remember the goal
- The ultimate goal of your wedding day is to marry your love. Despite weddings being a social event, be understanding if your guests end up canceling last minute. People do not want to risk their health or risk being a vector for the spread of infection. However, it doesn’t mean that these absences will ruin your special day.
How we are taking measures to help
Here at Paper Mint Press, we’re ready to take on any last minute changes affecting your seating charts, place cards, and/or signage. We are waiving rush fees for Day-of Stationery orders placed in March for March and April weddings. Please note this does not mean we can necessarily take on EVERY new project, but for the ones we are able to accommodate and would normally charge a rush fee for, we are waiving the fee in order to give our clients the MOST amount of time possible to sort through this situation.
I’ve also made a list of simple ideas you can implement to make your wedding run as smooth as possible while mitigating the risk of spreading COVID-19:
- Have more than one seating chart display so people don’t overcrowd one area to look for table assignments
- Instead of a station to display wedding favors, place favors at individual place settings instead.
- Have MULTIPLE signs directing where restrooms and hand sanitizing stations are located.
- Consider adding a note on your wedding programs about best practices for enjoying the night. It can be a small paragraph or graphic reminding them:
- Not to overcrowd food stations, photo booth, dance floor, etc.
- Wash their hands for at least 20 seconds
- Avoid touching their face
- Wipe down surface(s) they come in contact with
- Refrain from hugging or kissing loved ones (elbow bumps or a simple hand-wave instead!)
- Use hand sanitizer if hand washing is not accessible
- Sneeze into a tissue if they must sneeze
- Cough into their elbow and away from people/tables/etc.
I hope this has been helpful for my couples who are feeling all the anxiety about their wedding day. My heart goes out to you. The work and stress and thought that goes into wedding planning is exhausting to say the least. I hope this situation quickly passes, but in the meantime, there’s still a lot you can do to safely enjoy your day. If you need to order Day-Of Stationery, please fill out our questionnaire and we’ll help you start the process.