Photograph: Pharris Photos + Philms
There’s no denying that this year’s weddings are looking a lot different than your average celebration. With COVID-19 continuing to impact the industry, many couples and their event teams are deciding that the show must go on — with the proper health and safety guidelines, of course. On a day that is typically marked by long embraces and jam-packed dance floors, planning a socially distanced wedding can seem like quite the challenge.
Fortunately, wedding pros across the industry are getting creative and finding new solutions to enhance the guest experience, despite the need for physical distance. Although we all need to adjust to the ‘new normal,’ these ideas offer unique ways to preserve the joy and excitement of a wedding while ensuring everyone remains safe and carefully distanced.
Get Creative with Decor
“Like with the ceremony, you’ll be grouping guests into household tables,” details Jamie Chang of Let’s 'I Do' This!. “Since these will likely be smaller tables, you have the opportunity to play with different shapes, layouts and décor. You may end up with a bunch of sweetheart tables which you can decorate differently since using the center of the table isn’t necessary. It also allows guests to be oriented so that they can see everything, which really elevates the guest experience.”
#2 “In this case, skipping action stations and buffets may be your best bet to ensure that guest health and safety is prioritized. Don’t worry about the fear of nixing the interactive touch – in its place, have your menu coursed-out and individualized. Guests will appreciate the personalized, thoughtful gesture!” notes Eddie Zaratsian of Eddie Zaratsian Lifestyle & Design.
Be mindful of your meals
Let your Guests Decide
“We have clients ordering wristbands that are color-coded for their guests,” shares Laura Maddox of Magnolia Celebrates. “One color says they would like to remain 6 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.”
Explore alternative entertainment options
“I think dancing will be limited by the guests’ comfort level,” states Janice Carnevale of Bellwether Events. “You can explore different types of entertainment if you think your guests won’t be interested in dancing too much. You could consider a comedian or an illusionist. You could put together a slideshow that not only chronicles your relationship, but features the guests who are in the room with you. You could also get a sultry jazz band to play love songs and have a lot of slow dances.”
Kylie Carlson of The Wedding Academy adds, “We also love the idea of hosting open air picnic areas for the reception, that way guests can mingle and gather at their own comfort level – all while being serenaded by a roaming band or entertained by a late-night firework display.”
At the end of the day, our priority must be the health and safety of our guests as we navigate the pandemic. We can—and should—still celebrate love and marriage, but with a few extra safety parameters in place, you can limit the risks by taking all necessary precautions for a healthy and happy start to a long-lasting marriage.
Rearrange the ceremony layout
Photography: Jenny DeMarco Photography
“Have your guests watch your ceremony in a circle formation instead of a traditional theater-style formation,” says Emily Loxtercamp of The Renaissance. “This will allow guests to spread out and be 6-feet apart while not being too far away from seeing the newlyweds tie the knot! Provide customized masks for your guests to wear. These can have your wedding date on them or, if you’re really looking to get fancy, send your guests their masks in a goodie bag before your day approaches!”
BREAK UP THE DANCE FLOOR
“Consider several dance floors,” encourages Nora Sheils of Rock Paper Coin and Bridal Bliss. “No one says you all have to dance together. Collaborate with the band or DJ to make sure the sound is top-notch and make each area special so there isn’t one ‘main’ dance floor. This is not only a unique experience, it will keep guests spaced apart and is also fun.”
Photography: Amy Kolo