As we’re all starting to re-imagine weddings during this time of COVID, here are a few suggestions that we see as thoughtful adjustments for your wedding.
PLANNING ADVICE WHILE EVERYTHING IS CLOSED
Get Ahead of Things - There are many things you can still accomplish in your wedding planning with things being closed. You can create a rough draft of your timeline, determine your ceremony staging, or write your vows. You choose all your wedding songs; order thank you gifts for each other, your wedding party and parents, order any decor you need for your wedding day, or simply finalize your decor list. Just because we’re in a ‘paused’ state doesn’t mean wedding planning is on pause. Use this time to be more on top of your wedding plans.
Embrace Technology - Embrace the new norms. You have this cool advantage to book a venue tour online and invite mom, dad, and grandma to participate. I feel like everyone is a little more relaxed right now on facetime meetings, you can really connect in a way that may not have been possible before. Take advantage of at-home try-on services for attire. Book your lighting and other details that you don’t need to see in person.
Do All the At-Home Prep Work - There are also so many things you and your fiancé can do from home to get yourselves prepared:
Decide on your bar menu by doing a beer, wine, or cocktail tasting at home
Start a playlist with special songs for your processional and recessional, first dance, parent dances, etc. Begin writing your vows.
If you’re still in the early stages of your planning, fine-tune your guest list, start collecting inspiration photos, and work with your planner to find your ideal vendors.
Now is also a great time to start any DIYs you are excited about — they always take longer than you think! Research rehearsal dinner locations.
Work with your stationery designer. Continue to work with your planner via video meetings, or if you don’t have a planner, reach out to one who is offering hourly consulting during this unprecedented time.
Book Your Vendors - Vendors are still booking and running their business, so continue to reach out. Reaching out now to your potential wedding vendors is vital to help keep small businesses afloat during this time. Plus, a lot of them are getting booked up for 2021 since so many 2020 weddings had to be rescheduled. Also, be sure to hire a wedding planner who can bring their expertise and help you navigate everything, including the changes with COVID-19.
Read Those Contracts - If I could only give couples starting to plan during this one piece of advice, it would be this: actually read your contracts. Essentially, in this time of uncertainty, it needs to be very spelled out what will happen if the event were to be postponed or canceled – either by something coronavirus-related (usually defined as a ‘Force Majeure’ event) or other.
While I think most people are not fans of the idea that fees or other restrictions may be involved with rescheduling their wedding, it’s more important to have that transparency from your venue and vendors off the bat. We have had couples in the past need to reschedule due to everyday life factors like a military family member being deployed early or an unexpected pregnancy – not all wedding, and event postponements are due to factors quite this extreme.
Think Beyond the Wedding - This is a great time to plan your LIFE together. While many aspects of wedding planning are put on hold, use this precious time with your partner to make memories and plans that will last you a lifetime.
After months of planning, watching endless news reports on the Pandemic, and most likely adjusting your guest size while you sample your wedding wines once more to make sure they are “just right,” your wedding day is a few months away, and you just want to celebrate! We hear you!
While we wish we could just push it aside, we know the worries of Coronavirus are in the back of your mind. Restrictions and guidelines from the CDC Prevention, the Federal Government, and Illinois State Governor are continuing to change and will play a part in your wedding day. Luckily, your wedding planner and vendor team have been working behind the scenes collaborating these last few months establishing new safety measures and protocols as we work towards the opening of events. We are here for you!
To help ease your mind, we have pulled together a list of ways to ensure your event is safe for you and your guests.
AT THE CEREMONY
Sanitization Stations - Having disinfecting stations throughout the venue is definitely a must to help eliminate the spread of any germs. We’d suggest at least one station at each guest entrance of both the ceremony AND reception, as well as one in the cocktail hour where food and beverages will also be served.
Your station/table should include:
Disposable masks (2 per guest at least) (There are some cute options for custom masks out there that couples can double as a favor!)
More Intentional Disbursement of Mini Hand Sanitizers and Masks as Favors - If a couple doesn’t wish to set up tables designated to sanitizing specifically, they can consider placing mini hand sanitizers, travel pack disinfecting wipes, and masks throughout the seating areas of the ceremony and reception in cute favor bags. There may be times during the ceremony that guests will want to wash their hands but don’t want to get up and ruin the moment! Do them a favor and have the hand sanitizer ready!
Skip the Programs - Encourage couples to use a large sign as their program that guests can take a look at upon arrival, rather than printing physical programs. Programs are one more item guests are picking up and putting down, getting confused with whose is whose, and creating more opportunities for germs to spread on items being handled between guests.
AT THE RECEPTION
Separate Pens for the Guest Book - Place two cups for pens at the guest book area, labeling one as “sanitized pens” and one as “used pens”. Guests can grab a sanitized pen to sign the guest book, then place it in the used pens cup. Have an assistant collect the used pens periodically throughout the event (while wearing gloves, of course) to sanitize with disinfecting spray or wipes.
Cocktail Hour - Typically, during the cocktail hour, the catering staff are walking around passing hors d’ oeuvres and drinks. To avoid food and drink circulating through the guests with the potential of guests coming in contact with more than one piece, consider having hors d’ oeuvres individually wrapped or chef attended stations to hand out plated hors d’ oeuvres.
Eliminate All Self-Serve Food - Although buffets are a popular way that couples have traditionally served food at weddings, during this time, we cannot during COVID. Switch it up and have the waitstaff serve all food. Of course, have conversations with the catering and bar staff ahead of time to confirm everyone is on the same page that any staff serving food will be wearing a mask and gloves at all times. It is not recommended to display desserts right now either, so talk to your couples about a small cutting cake for display while the guests’ dessert can be appropriately stored in the kitchen.