How to plan your wedding in the era of COVID

You’ve been dreaming of this day forever, and probably even considered what to do in case of rain. And then there was global pandemic. All of your plans were put on hold, and many were forced to change. Weddings are just beginning to happen again, and it’s hard to predict all of the changes the virus will have on wedding trends.  We’ve spoken with our Covid-era couples and have some tips for how to plan your wedding in a COVID world.

Shorten the guest list.

With fewer guests, comes less exposure, not to mention many states still have a limit on the number of people allowed to congregate. In Virginia, for instance, the limit is 250.  So, to keep things running smoothly, pare down your guest list to only include close friends and family. A bonus, this will save you money in catering!  

For those weddings taking place AFTER the guest invitations were sent, we’re seeing many out of town guests passing on the opportunity to attend your wedding.  Don’t be offended.  Everyone is entitled to do what they feel most comfortable doing and we must accept and understand their choices.

You’ve sent an announcement to your master list of everyone you know and you want to attend your event.  Once the announcement has been sent, think about taking a brief survey of your potential guest list asking if they’re comfortable attending your event. (And ask them to be HONEST!) This will give you an idea how much your guest list can be pared.

Reassure your guests.

Your venue should help provide some assistance in comforting guests.  When guests arrive make sure your venue has a plan in place to create a contact tracing list for everyone in attendance.  While we certainly hope no one becomes infected, having a list of all guests will help in alerting everyone should something unfortunate happen.  Again, our experience is – guests like this effort!

Move things outside.

Open air helps decrease germ exposure, which makes all of your guests feel better. Ceremonies are often outside, so this isn’t a huge change to wrap your head around, however receptions are often inside. If you’re concerned about weather, consider adding a tent (without walls), or venue with lots of air flow, such as a barn.

Look at your table arrangements.

Work with your planner or caterer to determine different spacing of tables with more space between, and assign table seating so family members are at the same tables. If your table of choice can seat 8, change things up so a family of 5 can take one table while a family of 3 sits at another, perhaps smaller table.  This helps your guests feel more comfortable.  You don’t need to seat 8 people at every table.

Eliminate the buffet.

Charcuterie trays were a growing trend, that we don’t see happening again anytime soon. Self-serve anything is frowned upon anymore. You don’t have to eliminate the food, just ask your caterer to serve individual portions. And know that there will be no more self-serve food at the buffet.  Food should now be served by catering staff, and guests should touch the plate ONLY AFTER the gloved and masked server has filled it.

Reconsider your cake.

This baker made a gorgeous fake cake, with a small section of real cake, just for the pictures.

A traditional wedding cake, with multiple tiers, on display all night while your guests walk around it is definitely something to reassess. You can add a plastic sneeze guard, but we think you’re better off just having a small cake on display which you cut only for pictures. Or you can ask your baker to decorate a fake cake -usually Styrofoam inside, except on one tier. Then you can cut into the real tier, and have a real sheet cake in the back to serve your guests.  Again, cutting a cake and leaving already cut slices on plates self-served is a no-no.  Think out of the box.  Perhaps a dessert or ice cream truck will work better.  AND, it’s a quite different experience your guests will remember!

Splurge on the photographer/videographer.

If there’s one thing the pandemic has reminded us, it’s that life is short and time with friends and family is priceless. So, when you are together, it’s important to document the event with incredible photos and videos.

Even though it may not be exactly what you’ve imagined, it’s important to remember your wedding is about your love, and even with unforeseen circumstances, it’s a reason to celebrate. Please let us know if we can help you ease your concerns when you’re wondering how to plan your wedding in the era of COVID.