'You may now blow a kiss to the bride.' Weddings are now back on the scene but planning a covid compliant or a socially distanced wedding is going to be an unusual experience for couples who are planning to tie the knot anytime soon. Though wedding plans have been majorly disrupted, with some creative thinking, you can still say 'I do' in style.
Around 250,000 weddings take place in the UK each year — adding an estimated £10 billion to the economy. But coronavirus has disrupted most of this year's ceremonies. Since the outbreak of the virus, over 100,000 weddings in the UK have already been postponed, most to 2021 — making it a hectic year for wedding businesses and brides-to-be alike. Three months and thousands of postponed nuptials later, the UK ban on wedding ceremonies is set to lift on July 4 — with a maximum of 30 people attending and many other restrictions in place. This situation is far from ideal as the weddings would be dramatically different to what we are accustomed to. Still, there is some silver lining — we can not return to normality overnight — this is the next step on a journey.
Looking at other countries and the UK government's general approach to other Covid-19 related restrictions, we are expecting the government to gradually lift restrictions in stages and over a long period of time. If you are involved in a wedding over the next year, you will probably have to operate under some type of restriction.
Social-distancing measures are likely to make big wedding celebrations virtually impossible at least for quite some time. Naturally, the idea of a smaller, more low-key wedding is now starting to look more and more appealing to the couples. Many couples beginning to plan a wedding right around now might well find that the venues and vendors they want are booked through the end of 2021. Given that most weddings this year will be postponed to 2021, on top of the weddings that were already planned to go ahead next year, suppliers and venues might have limited dates available. And this by itself would be enough to push some couples toward a simpler, more scaled-back, easier-to-plan wedding day. There is also likely to be a surge in mid-week and winter weddings thanks to the coronavirus backlog.
Couples getting married this summer are opting for a small intimate wedding and a little celebration that complies with government rules on social distancing. The intimate celebration will most likely take place at home in the back garden with only the nearest and dearest in attendance and thus creating a celebration of connectedness. The big reception party can always take place when the dust settles. With more intimate weddings becoming the norm, couples can focus on making the guest experience all the richer. A smaller guest list doesn't mean less of a celebration. In fact, you'll have more budget to play with, which means you can go big on the guest experience and splurge on your priority items like fantastic food, a free bar, live entertainment or floral displays.
With more intimate weddings becoming the norm, couples can focus on making the guest experience all the richer. A smaller guest list doesn't mean less of a celebration.
If you are getting married this year, then with sensible precautions, you and your wedding guests should be safe from COVID-19. Here, we have put together a list of a few helpful guidelines to help you plan your future covid complaint wedding.
1. Add sanitising stations
To begin with, please make sure that there are adequate hand wash and sanitising facilities available to your guests. Hand washing is the best measure your guests can take to prevent the spread. Several large hotel chains and venues have announced rigorous steps that they are seeking to help combat the spread. These measures include increased presence of hand sanitisers, more thorough cleaning measures and keeping in line with the latest advice from public health organisations. Your guests will be opening doors, picking up glasses, touching chairs and shaking hands. The best way to contain any spread of germs is to have lots of hand sanitiser and wipes available for your guests to use and display them in a creative way. Customised hand sanitisers can also be added to the wedding favours.
2. Provide gloves and masks
Let your guests know from the start if you expect them to wear gloves and masks so they can provide their own if they wish. Otherwise, decide how you will distribute gloves and masks to your guests, such as leaving them in an organza bag on each seat in the ceremony room or have ushers handing them out as guests arrive. You may even choose to buy customised fabric masks that fit in with the theme and design of your wedding, and guests can take home.
3. Use outdoor spaces
Wherever possible, use outdoor spaces for the different sections of your day. Find ways to incorporate open-air elements, like an outdoor ceremony, photographs and reception drinks on the grounds, and an outside sitting area with fire pits for guests to mingle in the evening.
There are so many fab choices which work beautifully for an intimate back garden wedding such as adding in some Instagram-worthy throws, cushions and eye-catching decor or lighting. You can socially distance in style! Adding rental furniture lets you create multiple seating options while keeping guests at a safe distance.
Come rain or shine, a marquee is always a welcome break, whilst also providing the perfect area for a dance floor and your seating arrangements. If outdoor isn't possible, speak to your venue about using the largest rooms, they have available, so everyone is not crammed in.
4. Do not invite high-risk guests!
Anyone who falls within the high-risk category or with cold and flu-like symptoms should not be attending the ceremony. It can be a painful decision as many elderly guests and grandparents may not be able to participate, but one which is going to keep things safe. Inevitably a lot of people are going to be upset as the decision to skip a family wedding isn't necessarily as easy as deciding to forego a concert or vacation. It would help if you told them how much you loved them and care about them and would be thinking of them. You could also write a meaningful message for the wedding day, or send a gift to let them know you're thinking of them.
5. Live stream ceremony
Look into setting up a live video link so the guests who can not attend can still be a part of the day from a distance. It can be beneficial for couples who have older family members or guests abroad who want to witness their marriage in some shape or form. There are several different platforms that you can choose from for your virtual wedding — Zoom, Facebook Live, Instagram Live or Google Hangout!
6. Minimise physical contact
It's going to be tricky to keep your guests at least a metre away from anyone outside their household or 'social bubble' at your wedding. Of course, at a wedding, it's always lovely to have hugs, kisses, and handshakes, but once again, the best policy to adopt is the one which most reduces the risk. Place a clear sign at the entrance to your venue stating that you'd like everyone to maintain the one-metre plus social distancing rule. It will at the very minimum make your intentions clear.
7. Layout & Seating
The social distancing rules are going to majorly alter your traditional wedding seating. Utilise long tables rather than the traditional round ones and be careful about spacing guests out by household and find creative ways to arrange your ceremony and reception spaces. You still want your guests to feel like you've gathered together — without actually gathering too close together.
8. Serve Plated Meals Rather Than Buffets
Buffets have been a very popular option at weddings, however, they're likely to lose favour as stringent safety measures come into effect. Plated sit down meals will be the standard way of serving, where guests aren't touching the same spoons or getting too close to the food. During cocktail hour, drop appetiser stations and have hor's d' oeuvres passed out on individual plates. Choose a multicourse, plated dinner instead of having guests line up at a buffet or digging into family-style entrées and sides at the table.
9. Clean the mic
Small tech devices like phones, computers, and car keys harbour tons of germs in general, and that goes for microphones too. Make sure your DJ is armed with wipes to clean the mics between speeches and performances, as this can be an easily overlooked detail. You can also order disposable microphone covers from Amazon for your event. This goes for photo-booth props too, which will need to be cleaned between groups to limit exposure when guests don those funny oversize sunglasses.
10. Be careful using the restroom
People tend to be pretty close together when they're in a public restroom, and that's a prime opportunity for the virus to spread, If you can wait until other people leave before you go in, and don't linger after you've used the bathroom.
11. Personalise, personalise, personalise
With fewer guests and more time to plan, you might want to think of micro ways you can customise and personalise your wedding for guests. Because you may not have the same level of physical contact with the people you love, you’ll want to find different ways to connect, laugh, and communicate your gratitude to them. Write notes to each of your guests and leave them on their place settings. Mail welcome bags to your guests, in advance, and include a small personalised bottle of sanitiser and a mask. How about thanking your bridesmaids with a name bracelet or a personalised ring or a totally bespoke pair of earrings?
12. Keep smiling
It's a standard piece of advice to go with the flow on the wedding day as unexpected things can happen. Just stay safe and keep smiling. Don't let a virus steal this amazing life experience from you. It might be different than what you planned, but you might discover that it's even more meaningful and romantic.
If you have found this blog article useful, please share it with friends and family who are planning to tie the knot soon!