Updated: Aug 19, 2020
I guess we could say life has changed a little for us in 2020. Some areas are quarantined, some areas are not. Most people are worried about going out, but tired of staying home. Everyone is supposed to be wearing masks, or are they? I guess it depends on which state or even county you're in. These are some crazy times we live in!
If you're reading this article, you've probably either already seen the affect this pandemic has had on weddings and you need to adjust your plans or you've just started planning and need some advice. Here is my 2 cents:
Don't Panic. We're living during a pandemic at the moment; everyone knows it. No one will be mad at you if you need to make adjustments to your plans or even put your wedding on hold. It's OK. Stay focused and remember that your wedding is your special day (sorry, I know you've heard that before). You have every right to adjust your plans as you see fit to ensure that your day is perfect as it can be.
Don't be Afraid to Reschedule. So you've booked your DJ, the caterer, the florist and your photographer. You put a deposit down with everyone to secure the date. Out of the blue, your venue calls to say they can't accommodate your wedding because they don't have enough staff members available to work. What do you do? Most service providers should be willing to work with you to change dates. You should be mindful though, many may have several other clients in the same situation, so choosing the best date may be a bit tricky. The key though, is communication. Reach out to your service providers early and often to keep them updated and check their availability. If one of your service providers pushes back or seems to be unwilling to adjust - don't be afraid to look for other vendors - there are plenty who have had clients cancel or reschedule. I'm sure they'd welcome new business from you and some may even offer a discount! Of course, you'll need to read through your existing contract(s) first to be aware of any clauses that may result in a loss of your deposit. If you're worried about upsetting your guests, don't be. As I stated above, everyone knows that things are uncertain right now - they will understand!
Reduce the Guest List. OK, I know, this one can get a little tricky. But remember, some people will naturally bow out to avoid potential exposure to COVID-19 anyway. Fewer guests makes social distancing easier and reduces the potential exposure for everyone. Reach out to those guests who may be considered high risk (see the CDC Guidelines here) and give them the option to stay home. Some will still want to come, but many will opt out to limit their exposure.
Consider Where Your Guests Are Traveling From. With travel restrictions and "required" quarantine rules in place, don't forget to be mindful of where your guests are coming from. Many states and localities are still requiring out-of-town travelers to self-quarantine before going out in public. There are several states who are completely banning travel from other jurisdictions. This is especially an issue if you live in one state (or jurisdiction), but your wedding will be in another. Make sure you're aware of what the rules are regarding in-bound travelers in the area of your wedding (they may differ from your home state or locality).
Most Places Require Masks While Indoors. Confirm with your wedding / reception venue of course, but most facilities are requiring patrons to wear a mask while inside. Obviously, it's not optimum, but it's always good to "follow the rules" so you aren't asked to leave your own wedding! If your facility does require masks, ask your entertainer / MC to make frequent announcements reminding your guest to dawn their masks.
A New Twist on Wedding Favors! Out with the old, in with the new? Why use the old stand-by's for wedding favors - fancy bars of soap with your initials, lacy pouches with candy in them, etc.? Instead, buy masks for your guests and put them at the tables! You can choose from many options from inexpensive single-color masks like these, to something more dramatic. You can even have some custom made with your own message!
Speaking of Masks... Here are some fun masks for your bridal party and family members (and the perfect way to help people recognize who's behind the mask!): "Bride to Be" "The Bride Tribe!" "Mr. & Mrs." "Mother of the Bride" "Father of the Bride" "Groom" ...There are literally hundreds to choose from... like these!
Have Fun With It! Ok, so you have to wear a mask - big deal. So it's not the most comfortable thing in the world, and it may not be the most fashionable (although some of these masks are a bit more fashionable), but you can still have some fun with it. Put together a fun "mask" photo shoot with your friends and family members. Years from now when your children are looking at your wedding pictures, they may not be able to tell if you were smiling or not, but it will definitely be an opportunity to share some stories of the 'Rona Virus of 2020!
Social Media to the Rescue! So let's say you've decided to reduce the number of guests at your wedding, but you'd still like to share your day with close friends and family who will be unable to attend. Create a "hashtag" and ask your guests to post pictures to Twitter and/or Instagram using that hashtag. The folks at home will be able to see pictures in (almost) real time! Of course you'd need to select a hashtag that is unique so that your photos aren't lumped in with #SaturdayNight or something like that!
Virtual Meetings and Live Broadcasts Most of us are working from home, so virtual meetings have become our "new normal" (so tired of hearing that phrase...). Why not use something like Zoom, Facebook Live, YouTube or Twitter to broadcast your wedding LIVE to those who aren't able to attend in person? Of course, you'll need to make sure your wedding venue has wifi or is in an area with strong enough cell service to support live streaming. But if you can do it, go for it!
All in all, the main goal is to stay calm and focused and don't let yourself become stressed out. Planning a wedding by itself can be stressful enough - adding all this worry about pandemics and masks and social distancing can push you over the edge! Take a deep breath, relax and work through it step-by-step. Ask for help when you can (don't try to do it all by yourself)! You will get there!