How to plan a wedding during Covid-19
The couples who have had their wedding plans compromised by the COVID-19 pandemic are no stranger to adaptability. In the midst of lockdowns, quarantines, and travel bans, engaged couples have had to find ways to host COVID-safe weddings. As a result, nuptials today look and feel a whole lot different than this time last year. From masked brides to micro dance floors, couples are finding creative ways to celebrate their nuptials while keeping themselves and their guests safe.
If you’re planning a wedding in the time of COVID, don’t despair! While this may not be ideal, this situation offers a unique opportunity for couples to stray from the beaten path. Here are some of the precautions you can take to host a COVID-safe wedding that you’ll remember for a lifetime:
Set Expectations for Your Guests Prior to the Wedding Day
While weddings already require a lot of planning, hosting a ceremony in the midst of a pandemic demands an extreme attention to detail and communication. Most planners are recommending that couples set expectations early ahead of their big day. Send out an email a few months in advance explaining any COVID precautions you’re taking for the big day or information your guests should be aware of such as:
- Where mask-wearing is required and where it is optional
- What contact vendors will be having with food and beverage
- How seating will be spaced out and how many guests will be at the wedding ( including who, if any, will be coming from high-risk states)
- What items they need to bring and what will be provided (masks, hand sanitizer, wipes, etc.)
- Ask any guests who are feeling ill or have a temperature over 100.4 F to stay home
Don’t forget to prepare your wedding party for any COVID alterations as well. Check in with each member of the wedding party to see how they’d feel most comfortable walking in the processional and recessional. In our experience, most prefer to walk down the aisle alone and then sit socially distanced or six feet apart with the rest of the guests during the ceremony, but whatever feels most comfortable for your wedding party is great as long as everyone is being safe!
Create a Socially-Distanced Getting Ready Set-Up
The traditional getting-ready process is a very special experience for you and those close to you, however making this part of your day COVID-safe may present some challenges. Because it’s physically impossible to do hair and makeup from a distance of six feet or more, cosmetic teams have had to take extra precautions including wearing masks at all times and changing out gloves between clients. Some hair and makeup teams are even opting to hold the getting-ready process outdoors to reduce the risk of contamination. If you’d prefer to get ready indoors, make sure the space has enough windows for proper ventilation and encourage your wedding party to wear masks whenever possible. You can also host a Zoom or Google hangout to include family members and friends who aren’t able to physically be there in the getting-ready process.
Establish Temperature Checkpoints
Much like going to the gym or a nail salon, many weddings are requiring a temperature check for their guests before being admitted. Establishing a temperature checkpoint ensures that all guests are COVID free upon arrival and reduces the risk of exposure to the rest of your party, especially if you have guests coming in from out of state. Make sure to establish your temperature checkpoint at a location where all of your guests will arrive first such as a bus pickup spot or the venue entrance.
If you’re planning on having any pre-wedding events, be sure to check temperatures prior to these events and then again on the day of the wedding ceremony to ensure everyone is virus-free throughout the duration of your wedding weekend.
Have a Contactless Ceremony
Along with socially-distanced seating, you can implement contactless measures for your wedding ceremony to reduce the risk of spread. Instead of having a program attendant distribute programs, you can offer a program packet at the entrance of the ceremony to limit unnecessary contact. These individualized packets include the guest’s name, table number, a ceremony program, mask and hand sanitizer.
Hire an A/V Professional
Even if you’re having your microwedding or minimony in-person, many of your guests likely won’t be able to attend because of travel restrictions and health concerns. Luckily, Zoom weddings are becoming an increasingly popular way to include friends and family from all over the world in your nuptial celebration.
If you’re planning on having guests Zoom into your wedding ceremony, it may be a good idea to leave some room in your budget to hire an audiovisual professional. Hiring an A/V professional to manage your virtual guests will save you the headache of having to explain how to mute the sound to your Grandpa for the entire day. We recommend budgeting between $1,500 and $6,000 for this vital role depending on your cinematography and sound/video requirements.
Keep Safely Spaced Transportation in Mind
It’s customary to provide transportation for guests when the ceremony and reception are not in the same location, however this has proven to be challenging in the time of Corona. In order to make your transportation COVID-safe, make sure to arrange enough transportation to accommodate your guests with ample spacing between them. We recommend limiting the capacity of transportation to 75 percent max and staggering your guests every other row on busses or shuttles with windows to ensure social-distances and comfort. Because of these capacity limitations, you’ll likely need more transportation, so be sure to budget accordingly.
Customize Your Cocktail Hour
Cocktail hour has proven to be one of the most difficult aspects of a wedding to make COVID-safe because it’s when people tend to do the most mingling. Rather than passing around trays of hors d’oeuvres, consider setting up grazing tables for your guests with individually portioned servings and prepackaged drinks. This is an easy way to limit exposure because it eliminates the need for servers to have direct contact with your guests’ food. In addition to prepackaged individual portions, increasing the seating available at cocktail hours by mixing in soft seating, cocktail tables, and cabaret tables will help your guests maintain social distancing while still being able to take off their masks and enjoy their appetizers.
Group Dinner Tables by Household
Creating a seating chart for your reception dinner may be the most dreaded part of the wedding planning process. Now take that already stressful task and add a global pandemic to it. Finding a way to socially distance your guests during dinner may be difficult, but it’s not impossible! When making your seating chart, group families from the same household together to prevent the spread. Multiple small tables, like Bistro-style tables, have become a popular way to maintain the liveliness of the reception while still keeping your guests safely spaced.
Bonus Tip: Make sure your table layout leaves enough room for 8 feet from the back of the chair at one table to the back of the chair at the next to ensure people can safely distance while roaming about the reception venue.
Opt for Multiple Micro-Dancefloors
Keeping people away from the dancefloor can present quite the challenge since music tends to attract crowds. To solve this issue, instead of one big dancefloor, opt for micro dancefloors – multiple, smaller dancefloors spaced around the room. This gives guests the comfort of being in a smaller bubble while still being able to celebrate and shake a tailfeather!
Keep Guest Info For Contract Tracing
Just because the party’s over, doesn’t mean the precautions end. As the host of the event, it’s important to keep in contact with your wedding attendees in case of a potential outbreak. Following your wedding, send out an email to your guests asking anyone experiencing symptoms post-event to contact you so that you can notify the rest of your guests and vendors.
We recommend keeping track of guests’ information in a spreadsheet to make this situation as seamless as possible in the case of an emergency.
San Diego’s Premier COVID-Safe Wedding Venue
While hosting a wedding amidst a global pandemic is far from ideal, these are just a few of the precautions you can take to ensure a COVID-safe wedding that allows you to celebrate your love safely. Being on the same page as your venue is essential to ensuring your wedding is adhering to CDC guidelines.
Flora’s dynamic San Diego wedding venue is as functional as it is beautiful. Our all-inclusive services and amenities along with the versatile event space is the perfect backdrop for your 2021 nuptials. We’re committed to creating safe and enjoyable experiences for all our guests and love working with couples to customize our space to fit their needs. Get in touch with us to learn how our event team can help make your day unforgettable.
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