The New Normal for Weddings and Events
We are in a new reality. We are living through a global pandemic that has completely altered nearly every facet of our lives. Some of the most prominently affected areas are our special events, and most heartbreakingly, our weddings. As we continue to monitor what the entire 2020 event season looks like, it is safe to assume we will have restrictions for gatherings for the remainder of the year. The government has released a plan, including different phases for reopening our economy. Michigan is still in phase 1. These phases all include limits on mass gatherings, with even phase 3 still limiting events at 100 guests and will include social distancing requirements. As floral designers and wedding planners, we’ve created a list of ways to plan ahead and for incorporating social distancing into your big day.
01. Make Alternative Guest Lists in Varying Sizes
Create and A, B, and C list. Create a 50 person guest list, a 100 person guest list and a full guest list or even more options to your comfort level. Keeping in mind, at a 50 person limit event, you’d have to count the DJ, photographer, venue staff, servers, etc. so it’s more like a 40 person guest list, 90 person guest list, etc. This will allow you to have everything at least preliminarily lined up so that if you do have to make a decision to have a smaller wedding you have your guest lists already all set. Hopefully you will have a better idea on the outlook by the time it comes to order and send invites!
– Guest List A: 200+
– Guest Lit B: 120 – 200
– Guest List C: 85 – 120
– Guest List D: 85 – 50
– Guest List E: 0 – 50
- Start having this conversation with friends and family now. It’s best to be proactive in spreading the word that you might have to, unfortunately, make the hard decision to cut people.
- Questions to ask yourself: If your wedding is mandated at a 50 person gathering limit, would you rather have the same wedding you have dreamed of and planned for the last year, but for only that many people? OR would you rather have a small intimate ceremony on that same date so you can get married and have a full guest list reception next year? Vendors are all being very flexible with moving dates without penalty. What is your preferred backup situation? Let your important vendors know right away what your backup plan is and when you are aiming to make the decision.
- Keep in mind, that your guests might not be willing to travel during this time, so don’t be offended if they change their RSVP to “Not Attending” at the last minute.
- Collect email addresses with your RSVP’s so you can easily send email updates with guest list changes/updates or date changes.
- For our clients, we offer a client management system that this process can be done easily! If you don’t have this option, create lists in excel. If you are a current AGE client and would like to add this to your proposal with us, email to find out how!
02. Skip the Traditions
- Wedding party dances, anniversary dances, dollar dances, or anything else that encourages people to touch who otherwise wouldn’t.
- Do not have a receiving line following the ceremony
03. Have a Ceremony Only for Family and Close Friends
- Hire a videographer and offer a virtual viewing space or a live feed it to anyone high risk who should stay home
04. Skip Transportation
- Forgo group transportation so there is not a bus or limousine filled with 50-100 people jammed together and enclosed in a small space.
- Offer a Uber or Lyft pre-paid code to your guests instead
05. Get Silly With It!
- Include hand sanitizers as party favors! You can display them at each place setting, or a beautiful gold shelf with greenery and candles!
06. Layout, Tables, Seating, and Dinner Service
- If your guest list and venue allows for space, increase the amount of tables and reduce the number of guests per table. For example, A 60″ round table can accommodate 8-9 people comfortably, but seat 6 individuals per 60″ table. A 72″ round table can accommodate 10-11 people comfortably, but seat 8 individuals per table. This helps with having your overall vision be more fulfilled. while maintaining spacing amongst your guests
- Skip the family-style dinner service where guests at tables are passing around dishes.
- If you opt for a buffet dinner service, this should be served by staff to guests and not self-served.
- A plated dinner service, while it can be more expensive, is the best route to take during this time.
Remember to communicate well with all of your vendors and guests! Ensure all the necessary information is listed on your wedding website to alleviate the stress of having to tell all your guests important information. Most importantly, sit down and set a date when you will make the decision whether to proceed or not. From experience, all of our clients initially hated the idea of postponing (of course!) but felt an immense amount of relief when they finally made the decision to do so. If this blog post made you feel like you’d rather not have your wedding than have to consider all of the above options then it’s time to start the postponement process to 2021.
We are here for you giving you all the virtual hugs in the world!
Check out our other blog post about postponing your event due to Covid-19!
Please know that a plated meal service isn’t necessarily more expensive! In actuality, a buffet service often costs more because more food must be prepared. There’s no or little portion control on a buffet in which people often take more than they can eat or come up for seconds, whereas with a plated meal, portions are controlled. Buffets = More food = Higher cost! Plated meal = Controlled cost + more enjoyable food service for your guests. 🙂
Thank you so much for your comment, we updated the wording in our blog to indicate that plated meals CAN be more expensive, but aren’t always, definitely event and venue-specific. All of our suggestions were with regards to helping slow the spread of COVID-19 by applying social distancing into wedding and events as much as possible. Thank you for your feedback!
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