Weddings in the Time of COVID
Updated: Jul 16, 2020
I had the privilege of officiating a beautiful, intimate wedding in the caboose of an historic train in WIlmington, Delaware. It was like other small elopements, except that it was taking place during the COVID pandemic, so we were practicing social distancing, wearing masks, and sanitizing everything!
COVID has wreaked havoc on wedding plans. Couples have had to cancel and postpone ceremonies. Venues closed to business. Guests chose not to travel. What can you do to salvage some of your wedding plans?
Don't worry, I have some suggestions, so read on!
Save the Date
Maybe tying the knot on a specific date is important to you. It might be that you planned to marry on the date that you first met, or got engaged. Perhaps you're bumping up against a deadline, such as for health insurance reasons. Whatever the case, you don't have to abandon that special date.
Trim the Guest List
With COVID precautions including social distancing and limits on the numbers of people who can be in a space, the hard reality is that you will probably have to cut down the number of guests you invite.
Limiting the number of guests helps in several ways. The first is that where smaller venues are all that are available, it very well may simply impractical to hold a 200 person wedding. Reducing the number of guests means everyone can fit comfortably. The second way this is beneficial is that it allows for social distancing. Fewer people in a room means your guests can spread out more. But, how many people to invite? I like four family and four friends when the wedding is a micro wedding, although I have officiated when there were only two quests. The third reason is to control costs. I hate to bring budget up, but if you are planning a second, larger ceremony later, you may be cash conscious. With a small party, you may be able to go out to eat at a restaurant after the ceremony, rather than having to bring in caterers and rent a hall.
You could stream the wedding if you wish. However, I like the idea of the intimacy that comes from being unplugged with just a few close people.
Change of Venue
Why not hold your small ceremony in a gorgeous setting--even one that you really wanted but couldn't accommodate your originally planned ceremony. You might know of a romantic garden or stunning beachside spot that would be perfect for an intimate gathering. You could even tie the knot in a backyard for a super personal experience.
When booking your smaller venue, be sure to ask about their COVID procedures. Do they cap the number of people who can be in the space?
Follow your local public health guidance at all times--after all, this is a happy time and you don't want anyone to get sick.
If you and your officiant will wear masks, it may be necessary--even with a small gathering--to use a microphone to overcome the muffling caused by the masks. Think about acoustics of the space. You may want to bring in a DJ specifically for this as he or she will have ideas about how best to arrange sound equipment.
And speaking of masks: they are an opportunity to reflect the theme of your wedding. Think about masks--even custom made--that use your colors. On the other hand, solid white masks are befitting a wedding.
If you choose to go ahead with a ceremony on your original wedding date, I know it will be beautiful. Relax, have fun, be safe, and it will be a day you look back on fondly forever.