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Despite so much uncertainty in the world, many couples are still certain they want to get married this winter. Even though it may not be exactly as they imagined, there are plenty of ways to host a safe, COVID-friendly wedding ceremony.
The couple could opt for the virtual route, which has the benefit of cutting down on costs, or they could do something as simple as provide socially distant seating, or have multiple dance floors. Scroll down for some smart, creative ideas to safely make your special day happen. This list also includes expert advice from Jeremiah Brent, star of Netflix’s Say I Do, who emphasized that personalization is key to making memories during these times. Keep reading for cautious, out-of-the-box thinking that’s sure to inspire you.
1. Get personalized hand sanitizer and custom masks
First things first: Make sure everyone is wearing a mask and has access to hand sanitizer. Instead of folks arriving with mismatched face coverings (or none at all), or without sanitizer, you could provide festive safety kits or have them waiting at the entrance to the event space. It’s the least you can do for your friends and loved ones.
On top of that, you and your significant other should go all out with your ensemble by opting for matching masks. Etsy has a great selection of personalized hand sanitizer bottles and custom masks that can easily be used as wedding favors and mementos.
2. Spread people out
Sadly, these days the farther apart people are, the better. From the seating area to the dance floor, make sure your guests aren’t clustered together, for their safety and your own.
Design seating arrangements that have people at least six feet apart. Or perhaps consider renting a huge projector and an outdoor venue for a drive-in wedding. That way, your friends and family can be together without putting anyone at risk. How unique is that? You could project the ceremony onto the big screen and then have guests vote on movies they want to watch.
3. Put your guests in control
If you do end up celebrating in person, there’s no doubt the comfort level of those you invite will vary. To avoid any stress, discomfort, or awkwardness between those who are important to you, have bracelets or pins ready that indicate their thoughts and feelings.
“We have clients ordering wristbands that are color-coded for their guests,” Laura Maddox of Magnolia Celebrates shared with Wedding Chicks. “One color says they would like to remain six feet apart, another says they are cautious but more open, and a final bracelet says they are in for hugs and any interactions. These are great indicators for everyone especially on a dance floor, so that your guests can know who to start the conga line with and who may opt out.”
4. Plate and plan ahead
To eliminate unnecessary mingling, individual plates are the way to go. Forget standard buffet ideas and have classy, bento box-style meals ready to go that include everything from hors d’oeuvres to dessert and even drinks.
In fact, no matter how small your gathering is, limiting alcohol is important to ensure guests don’t get rowdy and let their guard down. “Along with the hors d’oeuvres we serve mini individual cheese boards and individual crudités,” David Briggs of Boston Catering and Events explained to Wedding Wire. “We are making sure the hors d’oeuvres are items that can be served with tongs or on its own small plate or in its own vessel. For example, crudités in a rocks glass with the dip in the bottom, or having a hot or cold hors d’oeuvre with the sauce and garnish composed on that small plate or wonton spoon which is then handed to the guest.”
5. Be in the moment and unplug
We’ve all heard that phones are apparently ten times dirtier than a toilet seat, so why not have everyone unplug and leave their devices behind on your wedding day? Just have the professional photographer take photos from a distance. Those shots will be much better than what anyone else can do anyway, and wouldn’t it be nice to focus on enjoying being in the moment?
6. Skip the dress, wear pajamas
For those still embracing their quarantine, WFH look, do the same on your special day. Stay home and rock a pair of pajamas. There are loads of white cashmere pajama sets online that make the perfect alternatives to the conventional wedding dress.
Considering this is the new normal for a while, who says you have to keep playing by the same rules? Other brides might actually be envious of how comfortable and cozy you are as you tie the knot.
7. Go virtual
There’s no shame in a virtual wedding. Having your friends and family there with you in spirit is all that matters, and the upside is, there’s no cap to how many people can tune in. For those concerned about Zoom’s 45-minute time limit, don’t forget to consider Google Hangouts or Skype.
Another option is Wedfuly, a popular platform that can take care of all your Zoom wedding logistics for you. For an affordable rate of $800, the company will run the online ceremony, coordinate guests on up to 1,000 devices, include a virtual photographer, create custom backgrounds, and organize live music. For an added fee, Wedfuly can even hire your favorite artist to perform or get a celebrity to officiate.
8. Don’t forget the little things
No matter what you decide, the personal touches are what truly makes the day meaningful. Whether your ceremony is smaller than you had envisioned, in person, or online, don’t be shy about the details and about really bringing people into your story as a couple.
“I think more than ever, people are realizing it’s not about how much you spend, but how much people will remember the moments,” Brent told MadameNoire. “With Zoom weddings, you have the opportunity to reimagine one thing that was categorically one way or another. For instance, one couple created this beautiful box set with memories about different people that were part of their story and then sent it out and had people join the Zoom link. There was one wedding of people I know who did cutouts in the seats of people tuning in, so everyone felt like they were part of it and that’s the most important thing we can do.”
9. Make it a post-COVID part two
Remember, you can celebrate your love as many times as you wish. If you want to bring everyone together again for what many are calling a wedding sequel, go for it. Just because you have a small or virtual event now, doesn’t mean you can’t do a follow-up gathering when things are safer.
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