Photos by Marc & Mindy
Planning your wedding during a global pandemic is not something you’d ever imagine doing. But, here we are! How do you keep everyone safe from COVID-19, but still celebrate with a beautiful wedding like you’ve always dreamed of? These seven concepts promote safety subtly, ensuring the focus of your wedding day is still on you.
Sanitizer is a must. “It’s important to show your guests that you care about their health and safety when they’ve gone out of their way to celebrate with you. Have a station upon arrival with small custom sanitizers for guests to take as a favor and use at the event. Also include sanitizer pumps at the bars, in the bathrooms and on guest dining tables,” according to Arin Calamari, senior wedding planner, and Claire Weller, senior wedding planner and creative director at Big City Bride.
Your guests aren’t mind readers, so it’s critical that you set the tone for the day by outlining your expectations for safe distancing and other healthy practices. “As soon as guests have a cocktail, it’s hard to remember that this wedding is different than a wedding pre-pandemic. Include a sign with your masks and sanitizers at guest arrival to let guests know what safety measures you’re taking and remind them that some guests may be immunocompromised. Add a sign at the bar or stickers on the floor to remind guests to take a step back and wait their turn, but don’t be afraid to add a little humor or be lighthearted. It’s okay to poke a little fun at these strange times,” recommend Calamari and Weller.
When in doubt, guests attending a wedding during COVID-19 should respect other people’s personal space. In other words, if they want to hug, they should ask. But another way people are avoiding invading someone else’s bubble unsolicited is by indicating their level of comfort for contact (hugs!) by wearing different colored wristbands. This creative solution removes all ambiguity about what to do in an otherwise potentially awkward social situation.
While most guests bring their own masks, passing out custom masks not only emphasizes your expectation that guests should mask up, but it also gives you the opportunity to use it as another design element. Set the precedent for your event by displaying the masks with a sign and instructions. Calamari and Weller agree, “You might as well make the most of a strange situation and theme the masks to fit in with your wedding decor! It’s the cutest way to celebrate safely, and photos in the future will remind you of the strange circumstances of your wedding and how you made the most of the time.”
Safe Food and Dessert Options
If you opt for a sweets station, each dessert should be individually packaged. You can be playful with the packaging by adding thematic details on fun boxes, stickers or customized bags. For an extra layer of security, separate everything at the station with Lucite barrier, while masked and gloved staff plate the treats for guests.
Smart seating is paramount. “Get creative with the floor plan and group guests according to their personal bubbles (who they regularly see on a day-to-day basis). Keep family members together or friends who are comfortable being near each other,” suggest Calamari and Weller. “Don’t be afraid to vary your table sizes to limit tables to individual bubbles. You can have an elegant setting for three or four guests next to a long table for 12. If the variety is consistent throughout your event, it will fill up your venue nicely even with a smaller guest count.”
Take advantage of the time guests spend reading your program to be cognizant of safety precautions, such as wearing masks, social distancing, etc. Before the ceremony begins is an ideal time to remind guests of proper COVID-19 etiquette while they’re waiting for your arrival. You can use a cute phrase like “Spread love, not germs” to drive the point home. Moreover, “Consider taking the extra step of assigning seats for your ceremony,” advise Calamari and Weller. “Draw a diagram so that clusters of chairs can be spread apart. This allows couples or families to sit near each other, but distance from other guests.”
While you didn’t ask for the responsibility, it’s your duty to protect your elderly and immunocompromised guests. After all, they’re there for you. Respect social distancing guidelines and require masks (unless guests are eating). And remember, elbow bumps are the new hugs! If you take these precautions, you can help your guests feel safe while still having a sophisticated wedding.