I know this is the question that a lot of us are wondering right now. Our industry has been turned upside down by this pandemic.
But as you know, when it comes to Covid-19, there are certainly more questions than answers. But as countries start to open up and quarantine rules start to loosen, engaged couples may wonder what the possibilities are.
I too, along with colleagues in the wedding and event industry, am wondering this too. And while we are all hopeful that things will return to some level of normalcy, the reality is that we need to be responsible and start thinking about the things that more than likely will have to change.
In Trinidad where I am based, we are yet to receive word on when events will resume in our phased re-opening of business operations. We are also hopeful that official guidelines would be put forward as to how these events are take to place. But until then see below some of the major elements that may need to change for post-Coronavirus weddings:
Guest Count – we can expect for sure that this would need to change. I expect that as places open up more, there will be limits on how many people can gather in one location. Besides legal restrictions, guests too may not be comfortable in large crowds. Wedding venues will likely make stipulations on this based on their own capacities. Couples will also have to consider that their vendors working during their wedding at either the ceremony or the reception will also need to be factored into this maximum guest count. Intimate weddings with only close family members will be more commonplace. Extra guests could be invited to join via Zoom or a similar video service. One advantage of smaller weddings for couples would be that they can now spend more of their budget on décor and details to truly make the day even more memorable!
Food & Bar – Given the nature of how a virus spreads, some of the usual food and drink aspects of a wedding will have to be altered. Self served buffets and live cooking stations will be a thing of the past. These would be replaced by plated service or food stations manned by servers (with masks and gloves, of course). Further to this, a bar area may not likely be included as it is a potential place for gathering so drinks would be provided by servers.
Layout & Décor – Since it is believed that the virus doesn’t spread as much outside, there’s likely to be an increase in outdoor ceremonies and receptions. Many couples may opt to have a legal ceremony prior to their reception with just the witnesses in their place of worship. With a limited supply of outdoor venue options for rent, many homes and backyards may serve as wedding venues. Regardless of the venue, reception layouts would focus on social distancing through spacing tables further apart and limiting the number of chairs around each table. Having a structured floor plan and assigned seating would also allow the grouping of households together. And to avoid long lines at the entrance, these assigned seats would be sent to guests in advance. Table décor may be simplified to minimise multiple touchable surfaces – chargers, cloth napkins, cutlery, glassware. Focus can be placed on non-contact elements of the design such as drapery, backdrop structures and lighting. There is definitely an opportunity to be creative with wedding ceremony and reception layouts going forward.
Activities – Weddings traditionally include a dj and after dinner dancing. In our post-Covid-19 wedding forecast I see interactive activities like dancing being replaced by live entertainment that supports social distancing of guests. Musicians, illusionists, contortionists and comedians may now provide entertainment to guests. Whilst the first dance and cutting of the cake may remain, certain other traditional elements like tossing of the bouquet may be tossed out altogether.
Hygiene – Hygienic practices would certainly be ramped up with guests wearing masks or face covers. In fact some couples may even have specially-made wedding face masks for guests. Hand sanitizer stations would be present to encourage people to keep their hands germ-free. Signage would help guests be aware of the sanitation policies and could be custom made to fit within the wedding’s design.
Wedding vendors will have to look at how they currently operate and make adjustments where necessary. If you are planning a wedding soon, together with your planner (and yes we suggest you get one even for small weddings) develop a sanitation and safety plan that can be shared with all vendors to ensure everyone is a little bit more comfortable on the day.
This list is by no means exhaustive and as we navigate our way through this pandemic, we can certainly expect the norms in our industry to keep evolving.