July 5, 2020
Are you one of the unlucky ones that had to postpone your wedding this year because of COVID-19? You’re not alone. My heart really goes out to you if your wedding or event has been affected by this awful pandemic. Planning a wedding isn’t easy – it’s exhausting, emotional, and stressful even without a global pandemic and social unrest. However, this additional time has also allowed us to reimagine what weddings and celebrations really mean to us, as well as giving us more clarity to see what’s most important in our lives. With that said, some of you may have rescheduled to a new date or are still waiting for things to settle down before committing. As a wedding vendor, I can tell you that this health crisis has completely disrupted the wedding industry and weddings as we know it. But don’t fret – I do believe this is temporary and I also believe that weddings are more meaningful than ever because of it. Read along to see some predictions and new trends that couples are aadopting to safely celebrate their big day…
Guest lists will be smaller
Large weddings of 300+ people may be no more …at least for a while. Since weddings are typically large social gatherings in a limited amount of space, the risk of COVID-19 infection is relatively high. Travel restrictions may also hinder attendance. For future weddings, I am seeing a trend of smaller, intimate weddings of around 50 people or less – mostly for very close family and friends. Even if this pandemic is temporary, people might organically opt for smaller weddings in the future exemplifying the “micro wedding” trend.
Ceremony now, Reception later
Many couples are sticking with their original date and having a private ceremony, opting to reschedule their reception or host an anniversary reception later the following year. For most, ceremonies are about your commitment to each other and therefore — why postpone that? The celebration part can always happen at a later, safer date. Plus, with so much uncertainty around COVID-19 and large gatherings, the logistics of planning such a large event may be futile if plans might change anyway.
Communication is everything
Planning a wedding during a pandemic means that communication is everything. I can’t stress this enough. Sending updates to all of your guests in an efficient way is key right now, and working with a stationer who understands how to help you communicate changes and procedures is invaluable. As a stationer, I can tell you that couples are sending additional inserts regarding COVID-19 updates, as well as making sure their wedding websites are updated with the latest information. Here are just a few of the ways to utilize paper inserts:
- Ease your guests’ worries with the health and safety protocols you’re making. Assure them that you’re monitoring the situation, holding your venue(s) to the highest standards of sanitization, encouraging physical distancing, and making sure you’re doing whatever you can to ensure the safety of your attendees.
- You can use this space to enforce the use of masks (or let them know that you’re providing), encourage wearing gloves, and/or assure them there will be hand sanitizing stations throughout your venue.
- You can get creative here! Illustrate the ways NOT to interact: hugging, kissing, dancing too close, etc. Remind those not feeling well to stay home!
- Discourage guests from bringing physical gifts. Direct them to your registry and have them ship or mail gifts to you instead.
- Direct them to your wedding website for the latest information. You can also include streaming instructions if you plan on making that an option for those who cannot attend.
Day of Logistics get a makeover
The format of weddings are definitely changing to adjust to physical distancing rules. Some of the ways couples are adapting to these changes are as follows:
- Open-air ceremonies with physically distanced chairs or no seating so that people can space themselves out accordingly.
- No buffet or family-style meals and no self-serve dessert tables/food stations. Instead, tray-passed hor d’oeuvres and cocktails will help alleviate crowds and lines.
- Seating arrangements will be based on households instead of social/friend groups.
- Escort cards no longer encouraged to avoid touching objects. Instead, seating charts will be utilized.
- Programs and favors will be individually placed at each place setting instead of handed out.
- Photo-booth props are no longer considered safe and there may be limits to how many people can use the booths at a time.
- Hand sanitizing stations and PPE will be available for guests, as well as signage or floor markers to encourage physical distancing.
- Dancing might not be encouraged (ugh, so sad), however, couples are opting instead for planned entertainment as part of their wedding programs. There will also be an emphasis on toasts and speeches as a result.
The good news? If there’s anything that this health crisis has taught us, it’s that human connection and the celebration of LOVE are more important than ever, no matter how (or when) you decide to celebrate it!
Have any of these tips resonated with you? How has this pandemic affected YOUR wedding plans? I’d love to know what protocols you’re making. If you have a moment, would you fill out this quick (~5 min) survey about your wedding plans? We are all figuring this out as we go… your feedback will be so helpful as I navigate how to serve my clients during the age of COVID. Thanks so much for reading! Stay healthy!