November 11, 2020
When our children’s children read about 2020 in their teenager life in school, the first word that will likely come to mind the Pandemic. Covid-19 has shaped and changed how the entire year would look like. It’s affected jobs, businesses, mentalities, and a whole lot of other things. Well for us, being event planners, it has completely restructured the way we think of events, at least for this year.
We’ve had one event every month since July, when normally we have 4-6 events per month. So even though it’s not as busy on the weekends for us, we’ve wanted to provide as much knowledge for our couples who are still deciding to get married this year. Whether that’s a downsized wedding or changed locations (to be outdoors) based on restrictions through the state.
Our couples, friends and colleagues have been creative in this environment to think of ways for couples, guests and the vendor team to feel more comfortable while Covid-19 is still in the air. We wanted to share some of those ideas with you so you can be as safe as humanly possible, all while still celebrating such a wonderful occasion, whatever that occasion may be.
When we had our first wedding after Covid-19 took our country for a spin, they told us they were making custom masks for their guests. You could go very simple with masks by just providing the same color so everyone matches, or you could go the extra step to embroider or customize your masks. Allison’s aunt crafted light blue floral masks for all the women and a less-patterned darker blue for the men. All of the masks had Allison and Thomas’s initials on them. They even provided these masks for the vendor team which we absolutely loved because we felt included and part of the wedding.
This means there are less hands opening and closing the doors which lends itself to less contact and less spread. Also a nice fresh breeze never hurts for air flow!
What does this really mean? We know that group photos are important for some couples and there are a few things to consider when putting together a large group of people.
– When guests are transitioning between photos, it’s very important they wear their masks. If you’re breathing, talking and walking all to move in/out of photos, that’s when potential contaminated air will be flowing the strongest.
– Space out group photos when you can. If you’re restricted to a small space like a set of stairs, make it quick. If you have the option to space out (by couples/families) that will ultimately be your safest photo option.
– Don’t ever force someone to remove their mask or get in a photo. Everyone has different comfort levels and the last thing you want is a guest to be stressed out or feel they’re in harms way. If someone specifically does not want to be in a group photo, ask if they will take an individual photo with you later in the day.
Ironically after putting together this article, we went to vote for the Presidential Campaign. We noticed they had clean and dirty containers as well! For any guest book or situation where guests all have to sign something, use disposable pens and organize them by “clean” and “dirty”.
This is very similar to keeping front doors open and not using dirty pens. The less number of times your guests have to touch something someone else did, the safer it will be. This example is of a couple who had guests all sign their own individual pictures (of the couple) and the couple later compiled them and put them in a book.
Most photo booths have to be touched at some point. To take the photo, to send the photo to your phone or email, or print the photo, etc. You can lessen all contact if you have an attendant (or someone assigned to the photo booth) manage the booth for your guests. Then if there is a place to sign, you can use “clean and dirty” pens/markers as suggested above.
I think by now all vendors know that they have to maintain safe practices but it’s hard to say what everyone actually implements. The most important is to make sure the vendors wear masks. If you have wait staff, I think it’s reassuring when they wear gloves. Those can be as simple as disposable, or if it’s a very high-end event, you could have fabric gloves. Hair stylists and makeup artists should especially wear some sort of shield or mask because they’re so close to your face (and make sure they wash their brushes in between attendants!).
Let’s face it, children are carefree. They will be the first to run all around, hug and kiss all their family, and laugh/dance/have fun. That isn’t necessarily what you want at events. If kids are attending your event, we’ve found keeping them occupied or giving them things to do is the best course of action. Maybe providing them their own coloring books or even having video games in a side room. The less running around the better.
Not that we’re great at it, but we’ve been part-DJ all season long. Especially for our smaller weddings, having one less person in the event space can make a difference. That could be a guest playing songs for your reception or your planner pinning on/distributing all personal florals to eliminate the florist’s attendance.
We feel one of the most awkward situations is when two acquainted guests walk up to one another and they don’t know if they should handshake, if they are expecting a hug, or other way to say “hi”. Either in your ceremony programs, on a sign when you walk in the event, or even an announcement from the start, we’ve seen such success when our clients acknowledge the “event greeting” from the beginning. Most have been “elbow taps” but we’ve had some couples get creative on funny ways for everyone to say “hi” to one another so no one is uncomfortable when meeting others for the first time that day.
We know this isn’t always possible, especially if you have a wedding party. But if you have a car to drive around the bride/groom, it will be more comfortable for them. If they are planning on a honeymoon, you want to keep the “stranger” list as low as possible, including drivers where you’re in a small enclosed space.
Never has hand sanitizer been more popular or widely used! Most of our couples have made customized hand sanitizers as the gift for their guests at their event. We recommend handing these out earlier in the day rather than a departing gift. You can never be too sanitized!
Enlist one or two of your guests to help distribute any ceremonial items, with gloves! It’s actually a very fun and formal touch that helps stop the spread.
From cute glasses with lids and straws to walls with drawers containing appetizers, you can get SO creative with food displays while keeping it all preserved and safe. The biggest thing to remember is when food is sitting out in the open, that’s when it’s more susceptible of containing germs. So individually packaged items (see below) and displays that properly separate food/drinks is ideal.
A simple solution to any food distribution is individually served/packaged! Allow your guests to take home favors pre-packaged so they can unwrap and eat any goodies later!
Make sure your guests know that IF someone tested positive after the event that everyone would get an email or notification saying this so everyone else could get tested too. Sometimes the “unknown” is what makes people stressed out so as long as they’re aware that IF someone tested positive after the event, they would get that information so they could respond accordingly.
No matter the size of the event, it’s smart to still pair up families to sit with one another, at least pairing up groups that live in the same household. Tracy and Bob set up rows with 2 chairs in each (besides the front row of 4 chairs) so couples could comfortably sit together. Guest seating can also be spaced out and grouped in families.
In a perfect world, all of your guests would quarantine the two weeks leading up to your special event. It’s truly not possible for so many, especially those that are working out in the field and see other people every day. So remind guests to please be safe and if they’v been in contact with anyone that tested positive or if they don’t feel well, send their wishes from afar. If guests can take a Covid-19 test prior to the event, even better!
We hope that everyone continues to think creatively on how to stop the spread. We’ve thoroughly enjoyed all of our events this year and have appreciated the safety our couples are instilling in their big days. If you have any other recommendations on ways to stay safe (other than CDC guidelines), please let us know!
Photo credit in order: Ramsden Photography, Gerber & Scarpelli, Ramsden Photography, Lauren Ashley Studios, Gerber & Scarpelli, Lauren Ashley Studios, Ramsden Photography, Katherine Salvatori, Cattura Weddings