Call me crazy, but I went through with my wedding amidst the COVID pandemic, and it was an unprecedented (*word of the year*) experience.
Early in the year, when there were (and still are) no real signs of COVID control; we were faced with the question – do we do “I dos” or find a new plan?
Sometimes love just can’t wait – and for us, it couldn’t. Spoiler alert: We’re a month past the wedding with no reports of anyone getting covid, so I have a bit more confidence passing along these five planning tips for anyone else who may be planning a personal event, wedding or otherwise.
See if it’s legal.
This seems like a no brainer but with local and state health mandates changing every couple weeks, keeping up with what is or is not allowed can be tricky. The worst possible scenario is getting far into the planning process – even making a few investments – only to find out you’re not legally allowed to move forward with the event. So do your homework ahead of time to make sure you’re a law abiding citizen hosting a legal event.
Get a feel for your guests’ comfort level.
We polled our guests back in March with three simple choices for a mid-July wedding: 1) Comfortable attending, 2) Comfortable attending with social distancing, and 3) Not comfortable attending.
With the poll, we included the caveat that this did not count as their final RSVP as things could turn on a dime. When our poll results came in, most guests were still on board (with social distancing) and that helped us decide to keep our original date.
Clearly set expectations for you and your guests.
For any wedding or special event during COVID, clearly define what people can expect from you and what you expect from them. Are masks required? How will food be handled? Will transportation to/from the event include sanitization and safe social distancing? The list goes on and on – as it should.
You can’t over-communicate these details enough! If people understand expectations prior to and upon arrival, things will run so much more smoothly.
And, set expectations for yourself. This is important. Of course this wasn’t how you’d envisioned your wedding day, but the sooner you come to terms with that, the more fun you’ll have.
Provide space – lots and lots of space – and hold events outside if you can.
The easiest way to make people feel comfortable during this pandemic? Put them outside. Then, plan for every weather situation imaginable. Rent tents (and more tents), have umbrellas on hand, splurge on another bar, include space heaters if necessary – do whatever you can do to make people feel separate-yet-together, safe and comfortable while being outdoors. And even though six feet apart is the CDC social distancing recommendation, it doesn’t hurt to add a few extra feet here and there.
A little silver lining with this one is wedding venues are more accommodating than ever before. See what they can do to provide more space and get creative.
Look COVID right in the eyes and say “I See You”.
The more you let people know what measures are being taken for their health and safety, the more at ease everyone will be. We had monogrammed wedding masks made for all of our guests and they came in individually wrapped bags with personal hand sanitizers. Before my wedding, we had the most sterile, at-home assembly line setup between me and my parents.
And then all the extras: we had single-use gloves for writing in the guest book, plastic glasses for all drinks (not eco friendly but definitely germ-friendly) and hand sanitizers at every bar. It’s little, easily accessible accents like these that put people at ease so they can celebrate the occasion with you.
So there you have it – five ideas to get you started if you’re going forward with your COVID-era wedding. It’s not everything, but it’s a good start.