It is a wedding planner’s job to expect the unexpected – and, yet, no one could have prepared for the present-day state of weddings. Now, with ambiguity and insecurity surrounding social gatherings for the foreseeable future, couples and planners are being forced to make a crucial decision:
- Either postpone their planned wedding celebrations
- Or pivot to marry in a new, ‘socially distant’ way.
No matter how long a planner has been designing or planning weddings, we are sure that the majority of them would have never even imagined that the word ‘social distancing’ would become a regular part of not just their vocabulary but also their planning practices.
Even so, many wedding planners and couples planning weddings during the pandemic, whether by choice or obligation – hiya, non-refundable deposits! – has embraced the age of socially distant weddings.
There is no doubt that wedding planners have to face and deal with more than their fair share of challenges throughout the course of their careers, and planning a wedding during the pandemic is yet another grave challenge.
Therefore, to ease out the wedding planning process a little for both couples and planners,
…Here we have eight tips and ways to encourage social distancing at a wedding
The challenges of planning a wedding during the pandemic are ever-changing because rules and regulations are often modified and can vary by location. Nonetheless, one thing is certain: For 2021, social events and weddings will continue to ‘feel’ and ‘look’ differently.
This is the time to reel whatever original daydreams you might have had related to your special day into a version that’ll work with our prevalent pandemic climate.
If you want to celebrate in the near future or now, it is time to accept this as a fact and move forward to accommodate accordingly. Both couples and celebrants will have to be okay with new socially distant practices and should begin to plan their event with a more personal and more intimate encounter in mind.
Amid all the chaos, flexibility, and openness to change is the key for planners and couples – with their guest list as well as their wedding vision.
To help you plan a socially distant celebration, we have come up with some creative solutions and ideas, that might help you see a silver lining!
Tip #1: Provide face masks, of course
We are sure by this time, you must have understood the importance of wearing face masks in all social gatherings happening in the current pandemic, and a wedding is no exception. Thus, first and foremost, to ensure a socially distant wedding, encourage your attendees to wear a face mask.
While some invitees might choose to bring their own masks, but what about those who do not? To solve this issue, make face masks readily available at your COVID wedding.
That way, nobody will have an excuse for not wearing one. If you’re extending the invitation beyond your immediate and close family, you might want to consider ordering custom masks for all guests and conduct temperature checks.
Tip #2: Introduce a ‘comfort’ hand band system
Apart from conducting on-site rapid COVID-19 tests and seating attendees by pod or family, our new favorite party trick is color-coded wristbands that outwardly display ‘comfort levels.’ This system will quite literally allow your guests to read the room. Here is a breakdown of the proposed colors and their meaning.
- Pink or Red: ‘Kindly maintain your social distance, but I’m smiling behind my mask!’
- Yellow or Blue: ‘I’m comfortable in a group, but kindly refrain from hugging!’
- White or Green: ‘I have antibodies and am vaccinated, we can easily celebrate!’
You can also call this system’ comfort color signaling concept,’ and it does not necessarily have to involve hand bands. It can work equally effective with masks, ribbons, boutonnières, pins, or bracelets. The options are limitless with how you’d like to allow your guests to signal their comfort preferences amiably.
Tip #3: Plan unique seating arrangements
Even with a smaller guest list, we suggest you be intentional while planning seating arrangements. For example, for your wedding ceremony, you can opt for soft seating where families are on sofas and banquettes that seat only two to three individuals at a time, ensuring that the groups are socially distant.
On the other hand, for the reception seat households together with no more than five to six individuals at a table. This way, families are amid their loved ones and would feel more comfortable throughout the festivities.
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Tip #4: Make sure to communicate your expectations
One of the best ways to encourage social distancing at a wedding is through active and clear communication. Especially while encouraging your guests to take certain precautions such as sanitizing their hands or wearing a mask. In fact, you should ‘over-communicate’ with your guests by elucidating safety precautions ahead of the wedding day and instituting clear signage at the venue. Setting expectations in advance for guest behavior is critical to keep all guests and vendors safe.
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Tip #5: Create safe spaces for attendees
Just as it is vital to advise attendees of any suggested safety measures, it is equally essential to provide them room to heed your advice. For this, you should get creative and lucidly describe safe spaces for all your guests. For example, you can hire a chalk artist to form floral markers of 6 feet apart to indicate where guests could safely stand.
Additionally, you can even design individual care kits to encourage similar practices. For instance, provide guests with small bags that contain a note asking people to wear their masks, sanitize their hands, and respect social distancing rules. You can also add face masks and a small measuring tape to remind everyone that a distance of six feet ought to be maintained at all times. Believe us, not only will your guests have a good laugh, but it will also greatly help in maintaining social distancing practices.
Moreover, make sure that the wedding venue you select provides you adequate space to ensure and uphold sufficient social distancing standards.
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Tip #6: Consider a plated menu
The way dinner is served at your wedding can greatly contribute to the reception’s overall pacing and atmosphere. Moreover, it can also be altered to influence the behavior of attendees. Plated menus are the most effective and simplest way to avoid problems in the wedding meal.
That said, if you are adamant about buffet-style services or family-style platters, we suggest you enlist the help of a catering staff as self-service is no longer a feasible option.
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Tip #7: Limit trips to the bar
Just as wedding planners are revisiting dinner plating, they are also reimagining how drinks are to be served. There is no denying that the bar is one of the most populated spaces at a wedding. Hence, we advise couples and planners to limit contact by being creative with the beverage planning.
You can consider a tableside beverage service by an attendant who’s assigned to serve a particular table to reduce contact. However, if you do not have the budget for additional beverage staff, one other option is to provide sealed carafes in different shapes to add some personality to the tables.
In addition to this, we also encourage planners and couples to opt for table service. The staff can serve beverages directly at a table instead of attendees approaching the bar and standing in a queue. To take it to the next level, make sure fresh glasses are used for each served drink.
Tip #8: Throw your own concert
Several social distancing rules and regulations include the congregation of guests, and that is exactly what dance floors are made for. Thus, as a substitute to the tradition gathering, we have come up with a fun and innovative solution for you: Have the couple first dance to their song and then allow the band to throw a concert! Seat everybody strategically in groups of three to five throughout the space, and let them enjoy the show while dancing in their designated area or their seats like in any concert.
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Lastly, while some social distancing practices might perhaps be unfamiliar—that does not mean you should not welcome the new, especially when gathering your dearest and nearest. Remember, this is the best time to be creative as we see a different style of celebrations that we have not seen in a long time or either we have not seen at all. Thus, do not miss the moment!
The above tips are just a few of the many ways to encourage social distancing at a wedding, so do not be afraid to let your creative juices flow and come up with your own!
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