Top 10 Tips for a Socially Distanced Wedding
Tips, Wedding | 10 minute read
You dreamed up a hundred different possible wedding themes, and a global pandemic was not one of them! Needless to say, it’s a difficult time to have a wedding. It’s a difficult time to do a LOT of things, actually, but having to drastically change your dream wedding is definitely high up on the list. Needless to say, celebrations are getting smaller, simpler, and more socially-distanced than most couples had planned. But your love is the strongest thing in the world, so you’re pushing through. Remember, your love for one another is what matters most.
The only problem? This is all really new, and “socially distanced” weddings might not be so easy to pull off. The good news is, having a socially distanced wedding that’s fun, memorable, and romantic is doable. And while it might not fit that dream you had of your wedding growing up, it can still be a sweetly unforgettable celebration of love. Without further adieu, check out our top tips for a successful (and safe) socially-distanced wedding below.
10. Consider Virtual Attendance (For some guests)
Social distancing is great for preventing coronavirus, but it isn’t perfect. For at-risk guests like immune-compromised friends, grandmas, and other older family members, consider figuring out a way to allow them to attend remotely so that they can still “be there” without the risk of actually being there. A laptop or tablet with Skype or a similar app is all it takes. Just get everything set up, figure out where to put the laptops for a good view, and give older guests the information they need to “attend” via webcam. You can even have a niece of nephew walk around with the laptop after the ceremony to “meet and greet” and mingle with guests.
9. Circular Seating
A layered circular seating configuration makes it easier to spread guests out and avoid contributing to spread of COVID-19. Set up the altar in the middle and taper circular rows of chairs as far back as you need to, maintaining about 6 feet in between each seat (or pair of seats, for those with plus-ones to sit together). The effect is a beautiful, spiral kind of aesthetic where you’re at the “center” of the wedding setup instead of at the “top.” I was always a fan of circular wedding seating because I love the vibe and sense of togetherness it brings, and now there’s actually a good reason to try it out — and that feeling of togetherness is more needed now than ever!
8. Plated Meals Instead of Buffet-Style
While buffet-style wedding catering makes things easy, it requires that utensils be used and touched by all guests. While it may be a bit more logistically difficult, switch to plated meals instead. This way, everyone only touches their own utensils and food, and there’s no danger of Uncle Jerry sneezing into the bolognese.
7. Provide Sanitizer
Provide hand sanitizer, and set up stations at key spots like entries, exits, and before people enter the dining area. You can get huge squirt jugs of hand sanitizer from big box stores like Costco. Clean hands are one of the best ways to slow the spread and prevent infection of the coronavirus, and having everyone line up at various sinks for handwashing just isn’t practical. Provide disposable masks as well — you’ll want some extras in case anyone forgets, or a guest drops theirs on the floor.
6. Masks in the Dress Code
Make masks part of the wedding dress code. As the bride and groom, you can have fun with yours — they can match your gown and tux, be made out of gorgeous materials like silk, and become keepsakes you can use to remember your unique pandemic wedding forever…reminders that even in the hardest of times, your love persevered against all odds!
5. Create a Digital Guestbook
Covid-19 is upending many of our traditions, and the wedding guestbook is one of them. You don’t want all your guests touching the same pen over and over to write in a guestbook. While one option would be for everyone to bring their own pens, this is sort of impractical and puts an unfair burden on the guests. Instead, opt for a digital guestbook where everyone can input messages online.
The best part is, digital guestbooks allow guests to incorporate images and gifs into their well-wishes, making for a more fun and dynamic multimedia experience for you both to remember. There are a bunch of different virtual guestbook apps; try a few out and pick your favorite one to share with guests.
4. Create Distanced Dance Floors
One of the toughest parts of planning a socially-distanced pandemic wedding is the question of how to handle the reception. Dining has to be spread apart, and dancing can’t happen on one crowded dance floor. It isn’t easy, but consider trying to set up numerous smaller dance floors for 1 or 2 families to share at a time (an outdoor reception with more open space makes this easier to pull off). If you have an indoor reception venue, consider reducing the number of tables to make more room to make the dance floor bigger. Then, divide it into “zones” and limit the number of people in each zone at once. The dancing might not flow as naturally as when there’s one big dance floor to share, but at least everyone will stay safer and still gets a chance to let loose and rock out after the ceremony.
3. Work With a Wedding Planner
With even more to consider than before, pandemic weddings are overwhelming. Hiring a wedding planner can help a TON when it comes to keeping everything organized. It’s easy to miss details when you’re so focused on making sure your wedding is safe, and a little help can go a long way. When you already have so much to stress about, spending a bit more on a planner is well worth it. If you already had to reduce your guest list due to Covid-19, you can put some of those savings toward a planner and still stay within budget!
2. Distanced Wedding Party Photos
Getting great photos of the wedding party is a special challenge requiring a lot of extra cleverness and creativity from your photographer. Staggered groups are one option, and with certain angles it won’t look like everyone is still 6 feet apart. You could also do a circular configuration and shoot the group from above, or have a drone fly-by where everyone does different poses. If anything, forcing socially distanced photos will make you come up with more unique ideas than you otherwise would have!
1. Embrace It!
Easier said than done…but when life hands you lemons (or a pandemic), make lemonade. The best you can do is embrace the unknown, do what you can to ensure a safe and happy wedding, and be grateful that you found your soulmate before everyone was ordered to stay inside for 6 months straight. We have no choice but to adjust our expectations and go with the flow as best we can, and while it can be upsetting and stressful, we can always come back to the important things — like the blessings we have and the people we love.