Face masks and social distancing orders didn’t stop lovers from tying the knot this past year.
The just-married couples I spoke with had “Love conquers all” attitudes. (By the way, that’s a great phrase to print on wedding favors!) But that doesn’t mean they threw caution to the wind. Their guests’ safety came first.
“We were concerned with protecting our loved ones, but also felt cheated by the universe for what was happening …, explained Leah Burch Moon, who married her best friend, Paul, in Georgia in September. “Money was an issue in the back of our minds, but our main concern was making sure no one was put at risk.”
According to The Wedding Report, 49 percent or 1.1 million weddings planned for 2020 were postponed. The Moons didn’t delay their wedding but it wasn’t without anxiety: the governor of Georgia issued new COVID-19 restrictions just 36 hours before they got hitched!
“We were scared and uncertain of what would happen. … We were disappointed and immediately started talking about alternate plans,” Leah said.
Thankfully, the couple had already taken precautions such as reducing their guest list from 300 to 75 and planning outside activities. They also placed hand sanitizer at each seat and created several washing stations.
“In the end, we had added expenses to ensure safety, we missed out on lots of loved ones including immediately family not being able to be there with us, and we still haven’t taken a honeymoon, but we were able to get married and no one got sick,” Leah said.
Tips for a COVID-19-era wedding
Overall, COVID-19 cases in the U.S. have continued to fall this year. That’s great news for couples planning 2021 nuptials! If you don’t feel totally comfortable with your wedding plans, here are a few tips from real brides and our Totally Wedding team:
- Plan a virtual bridal shower and bachelor and bachelorette parties. The Knot has great ideas for making these long-distance events quite special. We like the “share a drink” suggestion. Prior to the event, send each guest a customized can cooler to keep their beverage of choice cold while they dance!
- Cut your guest list. I know it’s not a pleasant idea but people will understand. Nearly 60 percent of couples slashed their guest count in 2020. Use social media or your online wedding site at WeddingWire to let everyone know your decision. On a positive note, you can pocket the savings and use it for an amazing honeymoon!
- Don’t assume restrictions will disappear or lessen as coronavirus cases decline in your area. State and local rules are often based on several factors, not just overall case numbers. Also, keep in mind that venues may have their own set of COVID-19 regulations. Sign up for notifications from your local and state health departments for the most recent updates. Check-in with your vendors frequently the last few weeks before your wedding and be sure they have your contact information.
- Make it easy for guests to social distance during the ceremony and the reception. Instead of roping off pews, place flowers at the end of church pews to indicate which are available. Space tables 3 to 6 feet apart and position chairs in clusters so couples and families can sit together.
- Have wedding face masks and hand sanitizer available as guest favors. Personalize these items with a design or phrase that reflects your wedding theme.
- Select an outdoor setting such as a beach destination or an open barn. Everyone will love the fresh air and you’ll get plenty of fabulous photos with natural lighting!
- Forgo buffets and any food options that allow guests to serve themselves. Prepackage and individually wrap sweet treats, snacks and other goodies to send home with family and friends.
- Live-stream your wedding ceremony. This is a popular way to give all guests a “virtual seat” at your wedding and still feel like part of the celebration.