Restrictions are finally starting to lift and it seems that the light at the end of the tunnel is finally in sight! At least in New Jersey, as of June 15th many in-person retail stores, outdoor dining and curbside pickup are finally reopening, and the maximum number of people allowed in the same space is finally increasing – which means, events are coming back, friends! And… there’s a new normal for weddings.
But, even though things are finally looking up, it is still important to be cautious as COVID-19 still lingers. Especially for large events, such as weddings, there seems to be a “new normal” for how things will be conducted. As we move forward in the midst of this pandemic, we recommend staying alert on the state and federal guidelines as things are subject to change at any moment’s notice.
Weddings post-COVID-19 may look a little different and that’s okay! Embrace the change. Whatever the circumstances may be, know that you will get married and you will have a day filled with lots of fun and friends and family.
With health and safety standards becoming more and more apparent, businesses and venues are surely figuring out how to adjust their spaces. Whether you’re a location or bride reading this article, here are some ideas to consider the new normal for weddings.
Protecting Your Guests
And no, we’re not expecting the bride to be in gloves and a mask (unless they’re feeling extra precautious themselves), but perhaps you have a guest, or two, that feel like they’d be safer wearing such protective gear.
Your venue may already have it covered, but including hand sanitizer stations available everywhere for guests and event staff is an easy way to assert some sort of assurance throughout the event. Additionally, if your venue does not provide, consider having a box of gloves and disposable face masks for guests to pick from. Face masks prevent the spread of COVID-19 from sneezing and coughing on others, but even if you have a COVID-free guest that just feels more comfortable having the option, why not?
Continue to communicate with venues and vendors on their protocol and how they are keeping the guests clean and safe. Also, it is helpful to inform guests of these standards ahead of time as they may have many concerns regarding safety (and you wouldn’t want it to necessarily affect their chances of coming).
Next, it’s important to consider the setup of your event as it relates to food and beverage. Depending on the area you’re in and if it’s a hot spot for COVID-19, try to limit the amount of self-serve stations, and rather ask your venue if they’re able to provide you with servers at each station. This will help to limit the amount of touchpoints shared amongst guests.
The same goes for passed hors d’oeuvres. Your venue may already be way ahead of you, but check to make sure they’ve thought about how their servers will be passing around appetizers during the cocktail hour. It’s preferred that the server hands them to each guest in an almost contactless way, OR ensure that it’s easy enough for the guest to grab off the platter without touching the other pieces.
Lastly, if you have any self-serve beverage stations, these should also be tended by a server. Basically, any opportunity to limit touchpoints between guests is one worth taking while we are still amidst a pandemic.
Layout of the Land
Your venue is already prepared for this consideration, but it’s good for you to know that it is a thought in their mind. Naturally, with needing to keep people safe, your venue is going to consider how to accommodate guests indoors whilst still keeping people at somewhat of a distance. We have heard some venues say though that, “as long as your guests are attending, they are accepting that there’s a risk of being infected.” Meaning… we’re not going to make any changes to your seating layout because, well, they as long as they’re comfortable with attending, they know the chance they’re taking.
Depending on how you feel about such a thing, or perhaps depending on any high-risk guests you have in attendance, be sure to speak with your venue about how to accommodate those concerned guests. And, it might be worth seeing if you can try to separate families and groups of people based on their relationships. For example, a group of friends that’s already seen each other leading up to a wedding would be better seated with each other rather than with a separate group of friends they haven’t met.
Greeting the guests at your wedding is a timeless tradition of proper etiquette for couples. Everyone and their mother (if you’ve invited their mom at least) is going to want to give you a great big hug and kiss on the cheek. Even if you are comfortable with it, consider adopting a different technique just for the protection of the rest of your guests. A polite way to turn down a close hug and cheek kiss could be to go in for the air hug, or even intercept with an elbow bump. Awkward, yes… but safer? Big yes.
Yes! You can still dance!
Alright this is where we draw the line… Yes, we get it. Distance. However, in all honesty, if your guests are already accepting the risk to attend the wedding, they’re likely going to make their way to the dancefloor knowing the possibilities as well. Sure, you want to protect your guests, and yourself, but as long as you’re all aware of the chances, and maybe still practice a little safe distance, we say go for it.
Also, your venue has probably already prepared for a bigger dance floor to allow those that don’t feel comfortable being in a crowd, can easily space themselves away and still enjoy the fun.
The good news is that our country does seem to be coming to a place of hope again, seeing things open back up finally and regulations lift. We’re certainly optimistic that the several months ahead are going to continue to improve and we’ll be able to resume normalcy in no time.
However, it’s still helpful to know that there are options available when trying to ensure that your wedding is a comfortable place for everyone in attendance.
For more support in planning your big day, head to BigDayBox.com to learn more.