The COVID-19 pandemic has set back wedding planning for many couples across the globe. With the world slowly starting to open up, couples have resumed the process of planning their wedding, only to find that the world of event planning has changed drastically.
We want you to be able to plan a wedding that is memorable, special, and keeps you and your guests safe from this contagious virus. We will walk you through the basics of planning a COVID wedding.
Before we begin, we just wanted to give a word of advice: you are not the only one whose wedding plans have been thrown out of order. It’s a good idea to find other couples going through the same turmoil as you so that you have someone to talk to who will understand your worries and concerns.
If you’ve only just started planning your wedding, good news! It won’t be as bad as you thought. If you either had to postpone your event or already started booking vendors, then you probably need to come to terms with the fact that most businesses are not likely to return your deposit. Some vendors may, however, fit in your original order onto your new wedding date.
What Your COVID Wedding Will Look Like
For many states, the CDC has set a cap of 50-150 people for events. Even if your wedding is still a few months away, and it’s possible that you might be able to host more guests, it’s a good idea to go for a more intimate wedding. This way, you’ll be able to create a memorable event without making any of your guests feel uncomfortable or unsafe.
Step 1: Hunt Down the Right Venue
Given the number of weddings that have been put on hold because of the pandemic, there’s a bit of a mad rush among people looking for wedding venues. Your wedding venue should:
- Fit your theme and preference for an indoor or outdoor space. If you’re selecting an indoor ballroom but want an outdoor wedding photoshoot, now is the time to look for a venue that makes this possible.
- Be available on your desired date (ideally, you should have a few dates in mind in case the venue is booked for your first option).
- Fit the number of guests you wish to invite while maintaining proper social distancing measures and giving your guests sufficient space to move around freely.
If you’re looking for wedding venues in New Jersey, head on to 360SiteVisit. Here, you can sit in the comfort of your home and perform entire virtual tours of wedding venues that fit your criteria. From indoor ballrooms at The Rockleigh to lush gardens at the Crystal Springs Resort, find the place that is available on your desired date.
Step 2: Prep Your Guest List
Now you have a place and an estimated figure of the number of guests who will be attending your event. From here on, it’s time to write out a list that includes guests from both the bride and the groom’s side. Discuss the guest list with the parents of the bride and the groom in case they have any special guests that they want to invite.
Step 3: Invite the Guests
Here is where you can start getting creative. If you already have a theme in mind, you can incorporate it into your wedding invites. Initially, you can send out digital save-the-dates to all your guests. About a month before the wedding, you can send out the official invites.
If you’ve planned an intimate wedding, you probably have room in your budget to splurge a little here. Create small welcome packages for your guests where you can print out the venue address onto face masks for the journey to the venue, include a small vial of sanitizer, and maybe even a handwritten note thanking them for being a part of your union (you can even send out ordinary invites and give these items as wedding favors instead of welcome packs).
Step 4: Contact Your Vendors
If you started planning your wedding before the pandemic, you probably booked your favorite vendors already. In this case, you just need to let them know your new date and discuss any changes in their rates and in your plans for the event.
If you’ve just started planning your wedding, or the vendors you selected unfortunately shut down their business, don’t worry. If you’re in New Jersey, reach out to 360SiteVisit. We will connect you to different vendors to cover all the basics of your wedding event. This includes:
- A florist for your wedding décor.
- Car service for you and special guests.
- Caterers and cake makers.
- Dance rehearsals, etc.
Before you sign a contract with any of the vendors, make sure you’re 100% satisfied with what they offer. If you’re looking for a photographer, browse through their work and see if you like it. If you’re hiring a caterer, see if they have a tasting menu before booking them.
Step 5: Dress the Part
You’ve already got your wedding event in motion, now it’s time for the bride and the groom to start looking into what they’ll wear at the wedding.
Your COVID wedding dress shopping experience can still be enjoyable. Many bridal boutiques now allow you to rent wedding dresses for a few days so that you can try them on at home and find a look you like. Make sure to have the wedding dress designer and your bridal team on video call when you’re trying them on. Not only will they give a second opinion, but they’ll also be there to compliment you on how amazing you look in the dress!
The groom can do the same thing when selecting his wedding tux.
Step 6: Finalize Your Theme and Seating Arrangements
Buffets are out, sit-down meals are in! Make seating charts so your guests know where to sit and they can find enjoyable company to share their meal with. Keep your nearest and dearest at the same table as you.
Read more about our wedding themes and ideas here. Be as creative as you like and find a theme that suits your and your partner’s personalities. This is the time when you need to take another look at your budget spreadsheet. Once all the major expenses have been covered, see if you have room for any fun extras like a photo booth with props, a chocolate fountain, and so on.
Step 7: Design a Socially Distanced Space
A COVID wedding doesn’t have to be boring! If you want a dancing space for your guests, have a dance floor divided into sections. Everyone will still be having fun together, but with an appropriate distance between them.
Have masks, gloves, and sanitizers freely available, especially if your wedding has a younger crowd.
Step 8: Keep Track of Everything!
You’ve booked your vendors, planned your event, and finalized your dress. In the months leading up to your wedding, reach out to your vendors every few months to make sure everything is on track. This will help you avoid any last-minute disasters or surprises.
Step 9: Accommodate Out of Town Guests
If you have guests flying or driving in for your special day, make sure that their entire stay is comfortable. If the venue you’ve selected is a resort, you can book suites for them there. If your budget doesn’t allow it, these guests can stay with you.
The COVID Wedding Registry
If your wedding was postponed due to COVID, you don’t need to take down your wedding registry or return any gifts you’ve already received. Since you still plan on having the wedding at a later date, this won’t be awkward for you or your guests.
How to Shorten Your Guest List
It’s possible that you created your wedding list before the pandemic, and it included lots of guests who can no longer be a part of your more intimate event. If you’ve already included them in the wedding by adding them to your wedding website or social media page, write out a heartfelt message to all the people who are no longer invited.
If they’ve already sent you a gift, it’s okay to hold on to it, but make sure you reach out to them personally to thank them for it.
Make Your Wedding Special
The important thing is that you and your partner can still share this special day together. If you start planning early enough, you’ll be able to avoid any wedding stress and celebrate your love for each other with your guests at this new-style wedding.