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How To Plan A Socially-Distant Wedding Day
Planning a wedding can be stressful in the best circumstances, but doing it during a global pandemic can be even more difficult. Not only do you want to enjoy your special day, but you also want to make sure your guests feel safe and included, even if they can't attend in person.
This might seem impossible at first, but there are many things you can do to make your wedding special while reducing the risk of spreading the virus.
Provide pretty face masks
Besides social distancing and hand sanitising, the World Health Organization recommends wearing face masks to reduce the chance of spreading COVID-19, so all your guests should wear one. Although many may choose to bring their own, provide some in case anyone forgets.
Make this restriction more fun by supplying a cute cloth face mask for each guest that goes with your theme. You could even give personalised masks that include your guests' names and their relationship to you.
Before letting your guest know when and where they should wear masks, consult with your wedding venue and your state's laws. You can also strategically place hand sanitising stations so guests can always clean their hands. Decant sanitiser into attractive dispensers, so they blend with the wedding decor.
Include guests virtually
With travel restrictions in place and the need for social distancing, the most significant change to weddings many couples have is reducing their guest list. However, just because not all your friends and family can physically attend your wedding doesn't mean they can't be a part of your special day. After months of virtual get-togethers and Zoom parties, we are used to taking part in virtual events.
You want the wedding to run as smoothly as possible, so make sure you try out the hardware and video call platform beforehand. Assign someone at the venue to be in charge of the call, so if there are any problems, you won't have to deal with them yourself.
Set aside sometime after the ceremony or at the reception to talk to your virtual guests, individually if possible, to ensure they feel as included as possible and encourage them to dress up for the occasion.
Establish a comfort-level system
One thing we have all had to learn during this pandemic is how to respect each other's boundaries. When it comes to social distancing and other COVID-19 precautions, everyone has their limit to what they feel comfortable with.
This may be because they are more vulnerable to the virus or live with someone else who is. Whatever the reason, it's essential that everyone who comes to your wedding feels safe.
Establishing these boundaries can be difficult, especially between guests who don't know each other well. That's where the comfort-level system comes in. Before the wedding, purchase coloured wristbands and assign each colour a meaning. For instance:
- Red: I'm excited to see you, but please keep your distance.
- Orange: I am happy to stand together in group photos but would rather not hug or shake hands.
- Green: I have antibodies or plan to isolate after the wedding, so I'm happy for a hug.
These visual aids help avoid uncomfortable situations and give your guests agency over their experience at your wedding. Before setting up a system like this, please consult your state social distancing guidelines.
Embrace unique seating arrangements
We're all used to weddings where guests sit close enough to chit chat and pass each other tissues when things get emotional, so walking into a room where the seats are spread out can feel a little strange.
However, the space also allows you to get imaginative with some creative wedding photo ideas.
Create seating pods for families with banquettes or attractive sofas and set up little side tables decorated with flowers so they can set down drinks.
This is also a good place to include a bottle of hand sanitiser. For the wedding reception meal, sit immediate families together, and limit the number of people at each table.
Buffets are a popular way to serve food at weddings and other gatherings. However, they're not the safest option. Instead, opt for plated meals where guests are served food at their table.
To further minimise risk, assign individual servers to each table or limit the number of tables each server attends. Use your servers to avoid people gathering at the bar by having them take drink orders at the table.
Opt for a playlist over a band
You can reduce the number of people in your wedding venue by opting to play your own music instead of hiring a band or DJ. Prepare a playlist in advance, or ask a music-loving friend to do it for you.
Whether you use Spotify, Apple Music, YouTube or another music streaming service, make sure you sign up for a pro account to avoid interrupting ads and invest in some decent speakers, so you don't compromise the sound quality. Share your playlists with virtual guests so they can join in the party at home.
Send party favours
The tradition of giving wedding guests party favours allows the couple to thank their guests for sharing this special occasion, and just because not all your friends and family can be at your wedding doesn't mean the tradition has to be forgotten.
Sending small gifts to those people who cannot attend is a wonderful way to include them and show your appreciation. Why not opt for wedding-themed gifts such as funny wedding socks or novelty t-shirts?
Share your special day
Besides setting up a video call that allows guests to watch the ceremony and chat with the happy couple, there are other ways you can make your remote guests feel part of your ceremony and reception.
For instance, after the wedding, you can prepare a summary of the event by asking guests who attended to write a few lines about their favourite part of the day. Compile this with videos and photos to create a digital memory of the wedding you can share with loved ones.
You could take this one step further by sending care packages, including a photo, a handwritten card and a slice of wedding cake.
Remember communication is key
You can't expect all your guests to know what precautions you are taking at your wedding if you haven't clearly communicated with them first. Contact each guest before the big day and provide them with a written guide of the restrictions they will need to adhere to. On the day itself, include signage reminding people of the precautions they should be taking.
Weddings mean different things to different people. For some, wedding ceremonies, religion, and tradition is the most important part of the day; for others, they provide the opportunity to gather with friends and family. But most importantly, weddings are about love.
You can show your guests how much you love them and include them in your big day by organising a safe wedding. Use these suggestions to embrace the spirit of a socially-distanced wedding and make your day truly magical.
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