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Top 10 Wedding Social Distancing Guidelines
Planning a wedding is hard enough during the best of times. It has become an even more significant challenge as COVID-19 continues to spread. Many brides have decided to postpone their wedding, which is an entirely reasonable option. Just don’t make the mistake of thinking it’s your only option.
Weddings are carrying on in the face of the coronavirus pandemic, which means there’s no reason why you can’t keep your original wedding date. You just have a little extra planning to do to keep everyone safe and healthy.
Here are the top tips on how to plan a COVID wedding that follows social distancing guidelines.
1. Plan Seating With Social Distancing in Mind
Weddings that are carrying on the face of coronavirus have to rethink seating arrangements. Instead of row after row of chairs at the ceremony and packed tables at the reception, COVID wedding etiquette calls for a lot more space.
Standing ceremonies allow guests to stand near others as they feel comfortable. Don’t mix families and friends at the reception. Instead, have smaller tables that are spaced apart so guests can maintain six feet of distance between themselves and others they don’t interact with on a regular basis.
2. Pass Out Favors That Keep Guests Safe and Healthy
The Knot expects to see more and more wedding favors that are targeted towards keeping guests safe and healthy. Popular COVID-19 wedding favors will include individual bottles of hand sanitizer that are passed out to guests, as well as small bottles that are served on silver platters for an upscale look.
COVID wedding koozies are also likely to be a hit. As a traditional wedding favor gift, they were once a fun way to share the details of your wedding date. At a COVID wedding, each guest can use their own koozie so germs aren’t passed back and forth when handing out beverages.
3. Get Creative With Catering
You definitely want to skip the buffet, as it can be a breeding ground for germs, but don’t think you’re stuck with a plated dinner at your reception.
Catering pro Abby Borden expects catering is going to get much more creative at socially distanced weddings. From food trucks to Bento boxes, food at a COVID wedding will be all about serving dishes with a few hands involved as possible.
Follow your caterer’s guidance when it comes to COVID wedding food ideas. They have guidelines that they must follow in order to remain operational, so they can tell you what your options are.
4. Safe Fashion
Fashion at a COVID wedding will be different. Beth Chapman, a stylist and founder of the White Dress Society, says you can expect virtual appointments when COVID wedding dress shopping, as well as at-home try-ons during the alterations process.
Expect COVID-19 wedding masks to be the norm. There are many stylish masks for the bride, groom, and bridesmaids to choose from, but you may also want to consider having masks available for guests at your wedding. You may also want to pass out gloves to guests.
5. Safe Beauty
You may have planned on having your makeup professionally done, but at a COVID wedding, the fewer people you involve in your big day, the better. That means doing your own makeup and hair or asking a bridesmaid to help you.
Daniel Martin, who was responsible for Meghan Markle's royal-wedding makeup, has a lot of great tips to make your wedding day makeup a breeze. Just make sure you practice before the big day so you have time to perfect your technique.
6. Contactless Greetings and Interactions
Shaking hands and hugs are no longer the standard greeting between acquaintances and loved ones. Following COVID wedding guidelines means coming in contact with as few people as possible, which means you’ll have to focus on contactless greetings and interactions at your wedding.
Dr. Lillian Glass, the self-proclaimed "Queen of Communication" has heartfelt suggestions that include putting your hands together and doing a small bow or laying your hand on your heart when greeting guests. Thumbs up, clapping your hands, and vigorous waving are also options for communicating happiness and excitement without physical contact.
7. Rethink the Dance Floor
At a COVID wedding, no dancing is an option. Melanie McAfee, owner of Barr Mansion, Ballroom and Farmstand recommends incorporating, "outdoor elements into the wedding celebrations, such as small, carefully placed lounge furniture vignettes among blooming gardens and ambient lighting displays" that enable guests to follow social distancing guidelines.
If you really want to have music and dancing, consider smaller dance floors instead of one large one. Line dancing is also a great option, as it requires guests to be evenly spaced apart!
8. Take up More Space
Melanie McAfee has more tips when it comes to spreading out.
"Wedding venues that have more than one space dedicated to weddings—perhaps a tented outdoor site along with an indoor ballroom with an adjacent open-air terrace—may opt to leverage all the spaces on their grounds for one celebration, allowing couples and their guests to spread out more than normal."
Don’t be afraid to ask your venue what additional spaces they have available for your wedding date and whether they can be included in your package.
9. Decoration Options
Abby Ewing, a wedding venue owner and event coordinator at the Emerald Hills Events venue in Promise City, Iowa, says that COVID wedding signs are going to be a staple at coronavirus weddings. Signs can respectfully request guests to wear masks in certain areas, show guests where they can find hand sanitizer, and more.
It’s also a good idea to buy items instead of renting them so you don’t have to worry about germs or sanitizing items. Decorative elements, like linens, can be surprisingly affordable when purchased instead of rented, while decorative candle holders can be reused in the home after the wedding is over.
10. Provide Live Streaming of the Ceremony
Don't feel bad if you have to cut your guest list. "Your need to whittle down your guest count will most likely not come as a surprise to your guests. They might even be expecting it," says event planner Lauren Schaefer of Your Wedding by Lauren. However, you can still include them in your big day virtually. A COVID wedding on Zoom is better than no wedding at all!