Many couples with 2020 weddings saw their plans shot down by the pandemic and, as a result, decided to postpone their nuptials until 2021 with the hopes that COVID-19 would no longer be a concern. Unfortunately, we aren’t quite there yet; however, wedding professionals have spent the past year learning how to keep the show going with minimal risk for couples and their guests.
We spoke with wedding vendors from around the industry about the top things that couples should know as they approach their postponed weddings in 2021 — here’s what they had to say.
COVID protocols will still need to be honored.
“Just because your wedding is outside doesn’t mean you can throw all the safety procedures out the window,” stresses Andrea Smith, founder of The Band Method. “It’s important for couples to think about what happens to people when alcoholic beverages are involved. Guests get very caught up in the fun, especially post quarantine. Quite simply, they forget to follow the protocol. Have a plan! There are many steps that can be taken to keep these safety protocols in place. If you are in fact serious about safety, it is important for you to set an example by wearing a mask on the dance floor and or staying 6 feet apart from your guests.”
Floor plans must be properly spaced.
“Be sure that you have proper air flow and make sure you add more space between tables — six to eight feet is the recommending spacing,” explains JoAnn Gregoli, owner of Elegant Occasions by JoAnn Gregoli. “We also recommend keeping guests at tables with the same household, if you can. If not, then seat less people at a table – instead of table of 10, set the table for 8 or 6 people. Make the tent larger to accommodate the change in seating plan.”
Production and setup will look different.
“The best way to safely set up for your wedding is to stagger vendor arrival and setup times,” encourages Jamie Chang, destination wedding planner and owner of Mango Muse Events. “Let vendors take over a space one at a time in order to prevent any tight crossings that require them to get close to each other. If you have a big setup, allow yourself multiple days to setup in order to give teams both the time and distance they need. If you have to have multiple vendors setting up at the same time, choose ones that won’t need to be in the same area of the space like a DJ setting up in the corner and a florist putting out centerpieces.”
Your guest count may fluctuate.
“Even if you are lucky enough to be able to have the 200 guests you’ve always wanted, you still may not get it,” acknowledges Kristen Gosselin, creative director and owner of KG Events & Design. “So many people have been affected by the health complications and financial challenges that they were not anticipating when they initially said they would be attending the wedding. Expecting that this may happen, and being gracious when guests do cancel is something to keep in mind moving forward.”
Be prepared for anything.
“You must be flexible,” stresses Juls Sharpley, founder of Bubbles & Bowties. “Local, perhaps even the Federal government, could impose stricter guidelines at any point in time. In my local community, we’ve seen that the governing bodies have been setting regulations, and then allowing a 3-4 window for businesses to transition and prepare for stricter guidelines, but they could at any point come in and impose measures immediately.”
Communication with guests will be crucial.
“I think the best way to approach communication is multi-faceted,” shares Kimberly Sisti, lead designer and owner of Sisti & Co. “Just as we tend to prefer one type of contact over another, keep that in mind for your guests. If you know that all your friends prefer a text, send those out. But if you know your parent’s friends and your relatives prefer an email so they have a “paper trail” of sorts, then do that as well. No one is going to be annoyed that they receive a wedding update from you a couple times, but they will be more than annoyed if they didn’t receive any communication to begin with.”
While there may still be some details that are up in the air, rest assured that your event team is there to support you and help you to make the best decisions for your wedding day. Wedding professionals are experts at their trade, so don’t hesitate to look to your planner, caterer, photographer, and other vendors for advice regarding anything from guest lists to safe food serving to entertainment ideas.
Meghan Ely is the owner of wedding PR and wedding marketing firm OFD Consulting. Ely is a sought-after speaker, adjunct professor in the field of public relations, and a self-professed royal wedding enthusiast.
We’ve partnered with OFD Consulting to bring you this great advice from their collective of wedding professionals.