Interviews with Experts: Post-Quarantine Considerations In Your Wedding Planning with Ashleigh of I Do Beaucoup
You can read this blog or watch the video below!
A couple basic guidelines to start with
First, get out paper and a pen because there are a lot of questions for your venue and vendors and a lot of other things you may need to take action on.
Your state and county will have the guiding regulations for weddings at this time. Check there first. Then check Google “state name” wedding guidelines. Examples: For Ohio receptions are not allowed to be held at a personal home and crowd size limited to 300 people maximum. Check to see if this includes vendors or just guests.
Remain open to virtual meetings with vendors even as things open back up more and more. It helps you to maximizes time and safety and virtual venue tours, home-delivered tastings, gowns fitted at home – up to you if not required.
What do brides need to be thinking about when it comes to their venue?
There’s a shift from trying to maximize capacity in spaces to now trying to ensure safety with COVID-compliance. How does this affect you?
Venues’ max capacities will likely be shrinking in order to fit 6 feet of distance between tables or chairs at the ceremony for people from different households. If you had a venue booked at or close to its max capacity before the quarantine and had to postpone, there is a possibility you may need to shorten your guest list if you want to retain the same venue moving forward. Check with your venue to find out for sure.
Check with your ceremony venue on the seating layouts moving forward. You may want or need to consider the six-feet social distancing rules, spacing guests out by the households in which they arrive. A couple creative layouts some are considering to maximize the space: Circular layout or Half-moon layout.
Check with your reception venue on the table layouts moving forward. Check your current state wedding/event guidelines. An example: Ohio has 6-foot distancing between tables and no congregating or milling about. People have to sit at a table.
Now’s the time to be more thoughtful than ever about your seating arrangements. Pay attention to guests that may be high risk and be careful who you seat them by. Example: elderly relative and friend that travels a lot for work
Dancing may or may not be possible depending on state guidelines at the time of your wedding. As an example, in Ohio currently requires you to be seated at a table. One thing that is in the works for the near future is satellite dance floors to avoid overcrowding. Bottom line: Check with your venue
What do brides need to be thinking about when it comes to all the health and safety things?
Some venues may be adding what are being called Sanitation Stations throughout the venue with hand sanitizer for the guests. Ask your venue if this is something they will be offering. If your venue is not providing Sanitation Stations, highly consider creating your own. You’ll want hand sanitizer and/or wipes available everywhere, and you may need to get inventive about it. At a bare minimum you’ll want it there where people are likely to shake hands (so near the entrance, perhaps?), where they’re moving between rooms (so by the doors), when they’re pulling out seats (so definitely at each table), etc.
Consider providing disposable gloves and masks for your guests. Think about how to most easily distribute them to everyone. Did you know? Historically speaking, fashion gloves were considered an elegant accessory choice (think Audrey Hepburn and Grace Kelly). Now you can adopt them with handshakes in mind.
Consider replacing handshakes with contactless greetings and you can replace the receiving line with a “gesture line”. Examples:
- Thumbs up
- Air high five
- Air hug
Consider placing signs and reminders to keep social distancing. “Spread love not germs – please keep 6 feet apart”. “Thank you for maintaining social distancing – we are taking all necessary precautions to keep our guests safe and healthy” – Etsy printable. Entrance sign: Please – wear a face mask – practice social distancing – do not enter if you feel sick.
Check with each of your vendors to find out what their protocols are and what they’re doing to keep their staff and your guests safe. How do they clean their rented items? Will staff be wearing PPE (personal protective equipment) like masks or gloves? How many touchpoints will each guest have with staff? And any other questions you might have about personal or guest safety
Check with your caterer if you were planning on having a buffet or family-style catering. An example is in Ohio, no buffets unless a waiter is serving you from the line. They may require you to switch to a plated meal option now. You’ll then need to reach out to your guests for meal counts or include the meal count in their invitations
Check with your caterer if you were planning on having hors d’oeuvres display. You may want or need to switch to passed bites.
What do brides need to be thinking about when it comes to providing an excellent guest experience?
When you’re ready to send invitations you’ll want to create an insert card with a few more instructions, so guests know what’s expected of them. On the insert card include:
- Expectations on face coverings
- Expectations on social distancing
- Expectations about food service
- Expectations about any other safety measures you plan to apply to your event.
Be prepared to communicate frequently with your guests. If you hadn’t planned on getting a wedding website, now’s the time to get one anyway. Besides being an amazing place to store everything from your love story to your registry. It’s perfect for setting up a FAQ page that will deflect a ton of the questions you’ll be getting left and right from your guests. Your loved ones have questions on everything from dress code to room blocks. Having COVID related info on your FAQ page will help your guests feel reassured and cared for by you and give them a sense of emotional freedom to help them look forward to the amazing party you have in store for them
Consider registering for a digital registry if you haven’t already. It makes things SUPER easy for loved ones who may not be able to attend out of concerns for the virus. The Knot Registry and Zola have products, experiences, and cash, as well as Paypal / Zelle / Venmo.
Consider live-streaming your wedding – especially important now. This is quite easy to set up for Facebook Live’s in a group page or zoom. There is also a great company called Don’t Let the Day Go By which includes a digital photo booth and other entertainment options for guests as well
The traditional wedding weekend may be thrown out of whack for you; take advantage of the differences. Minimony and sequel weddings, you can have a dinner party for those closest to you before or after the Minimony. Take advantage of the smaller format by having more intimate activities where each guest can share a memory of the couple. Or you can have a joint bach event after the wedding, just a group of your friends celebrating you and marriage itself
If you’re finding yourself with extra free time, consider using it to personalize the day even more by writing personal notes to all your guests, coming up with creative favors or infusing your style, personality, and love story into your wedding in whatever extra ways you can.
How can brides be taking care of themselves in this process?
It’s okay if you want to honor a loved one you lost during the pandemic – or any lost loved one really – in your wedding. You can take a moment in the ceremony to light a candle for them, add photos in a locket in your bouquet, have a memory table with photos and candles and/or have an empty seat saved in the front row, perhaps with photo on it.
If you haven’t already, sit down with your fiancé and process the emotions of having to deal with your wedding being postponed or maybe not looking like you had originally expected. This is grief and it’s real, but it’s also a great opportunity to strengthen your bond together
What do you have ready to offer the brides listening today?
I have my Wedding Budget Optimizer. The benefits are that it helps keep you from overspending and it helps to ease the stress. Features are that it’s a budget tracker and expense tracker and magically tell you once you enter and expense what your budget is now.
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