Wedding planning puts a lot on your plate. But if you happen to be planning a wedding during the coronavirus pandemic, that’s another healthy serving of responsibility. You may be lost on where to even begin to tailor your wedding to function during COVID-19.
The truth is, we don’t exactly know how long we will have to worry about COVID-19 affecting our lives. So whether you’re planning a wedding for two months from now or in a year’s time, here are four things you should be aware of. These will help you catch any curveball the coronavirus pandemic may throw at your special day.
1. The Guest List
Your guest list will likely be the most affected part of your wedding. Because of CDC guidelines, many venues will ask you to limit your guest list. This is to keep you and your guests safe in the case of an outbreak. Here are some things to consider for your guest list.
Invite a Smaller Crowd
If you’re still deciding your guest list, you should try to limit the number of invites to the absolutely essential people. Who were the first people you told about your engagement? Who do you keep in almost daily contact with? Reach out to these people to make sure they can make it to the wedding before sending out the invite. After all, with so few spots open, you want to make sure your invites go to the people who can make it.
Other ways to limit your guest list include:
- Eliminate plus ones.
- Cut anyone you don’t talk to regularly.
- Give guests the option to attend virtually.
If you have already sent out your invites but need to readjust to reduce the number of people coming, do so tactfully. Address the COVID-19 elephant in the room as quickly as possible, and regretfully inform them that due to CDC guidelines, they are no longer invited to the wedding ceremony. But, if you do offer a virtual attendance option, you should make that known to them.
While you should take your time to determine if postponing your wedding is the right choice for you, the sooner you can break the news to your guests, the better.
It’s a good idea to give your guests a heads-up about the postponement with a call, text, or email. That way, they can cancel any hotel reservations or car rentals with plenty of time to spare. While it’s not completely necessary, you could also send out an official announcement in the mail.
If you want to still give out party favors and gift baskets as a way to thank your guests for coming, you should find a small and simple gift from a local business. With COVID-19 being a worldwide pandemic, it’s certainly going to delay any cross-country or international shipments.
2. The Decorations
Decorations can be somewhat challenging to pull off even when you’re not wedding planning during COVID-19. But with the limited supplies of many florists and other wedding-decor shops, it’s hard to even get a good base of decoration items.
Use What’s Available
Many florists rely on international sourcing for their flowers, so they may not know what their next few months of inventory will look like. Discuss how you can work with designs that don’t require purchasing new flowers or vases. This will help you come up with a well-designed alternative look for your wedding, rather than just throwing together last minute decorations from who knows where.
Extravagance should be the last thing on your mind for a coronavirus wedding. What’s important is your ceremony and the people around you.
3. The Catering
Many wedding catering companies set up their food to be buffet style. Unfortunately, that is a nightmare during COVID-19.
You’ll need to find a catering company that has adjusted its practices to accommodate these concerns, for example, serving the guests in a line. This ensures they are the only ones who directly interact with the food.
Catering companies usually have a minimum amount of food and beverages they serve, which can be challenging to meet with a limited number of guests in attendance.
Understand your catering company’s policies for minimum requirements. You can also discuss their minimum requirements and ask if they can be lowered for your event. This can help you save money even if you have an unexpected drop in the guest count.
4. The Wedding Venue
This is where it all happens. But for everything to go right, you need to have a line of crystal clear communication between you and the venue.
Here are some questions you may want to ask your wedding venue about their COVID-19-related safety guidelines:
- Are your employees required to wear masks?
- Is there enough space to accommodate our number of guests?
- How will you encourage social distancing throughout the event?
- Do you have sanitation protocols for the bathrooms and other well-trafficked areas in the venue?
- What kind of ventilation is available?
- Can we set up hand-sanitizing stations?
If there is a dispute about any of the above questions, you can hopefully still come to a mutual agreement if the venue is flexible. Flexibility is also important in case of any last-minute changes, whether that be a change of date or having to cancel the event entirely.
Not only will your wedding venue need to be spacious enough to permit social distancing guidelines, but it may need to have a reliable internet connection if you plan on streaming the ceremony.
Even though planning a wedding during coronavirus requires a huge amount of compromises, you shouldn’t compromise on your dream venue. A great option is to find a venue with an outdoor atmosphere that makes it easy to stay socially distant and naturally ventilates the area. You might consider a mountain wedding venue to create a luxury, destination-wedding atmosphere. Your guests might also feel more comfortable in a spacious, outdoor setting where they can practice social distancing.
Do What Works for You
In the end, this is your day. That means you should do whatever makes you feel most comfortable. If that means getting the wedding done when you wanted to, great. If that means postponing your wedding another year so you can have the party of your dreams, that’s fine too. Whatever you choose, we hope you are happy with your special day!