Whether you’re already partying like it’s the roaring 20s or this too is your first big event of the year – for some of your guests, your wedding may be cause for some COVID-era anxiety.
And, that’s okay! We all have been faced with different levels of social & “re-entry” anxiety. As states & countries reopen at different paces, we’re all in different stages of re-entering society. That first big step into a social gathering or event can be a scary one. But luckily, with a little extra planning & care, you can ensure your guests they’ll be safe & don’t have to worry.
If this is your wedding guests’ first big event of the year, there are a number of things you can do to help them feel more comfortable. Below are tips to help your guests breathe easy both before your wedding (as the time you spend worrying is almost always worse than reality) and at your wedding day celebrations. From clear communication & rules to attending to how you set up your ceremony & reception space, there’s plenty you can do to help everyone with the big party ‘scaries’.
Our friends at Be Inspired PR have rounded up their team of wedding industry experts to dish their best tips on keeping things safe, clean & comfortable…
Set up a virtual wedding live stream.
“First of all, it’s important to give your most anxious guests ‘an out’. Setting up a virtual wedding live stream will show your guests that you’re thinking about everyone. A wedding live stream offers the most nervous invitees a way to still participate if they’re not ready to join in person. Plus, if anyone gets sick the week of your event, they’ll know they can stay off (thus keeping everyone safe!) and still see you say, “I do!”.
We’ve listed all of the best platforms from DIY to full-service vendors to live stream your wedding.” – Claire Eliza, Editor-in-Chief of Bridal Musings
Build a sanitation station, get clean & cute with favors.
“Yes, you can make wedding safety cute! We’ve seen all sorts of great ideas for sanitation stations on Pinterest & Etsy. Plus, favors that help guests be safe like masks, gloves, hand sanitizer, tissues & more.” – Claire Eliza, Editor-in-Chief of Bridal Musings
Be thoughtful of choices for an indoor wedding.
“With counties and states opening back up, that means weddings are in full swing again. But all of your guests may not be ready to mingle right away, so take the time to add some new features to your wedding to make sure everyone feels comfortable.
An outdoor wedding provides for the most space, but if you choose an indoor wedding, make sure your guests understand masks are acceptable with the dress code. Spread out seating a bit, provide individual meals instead of a buffet, and have plenty of hand sanitizer tastefully placed around the venue.” – Matt Ramirez, SVP of Marketing, Generation Tux
Opt for online options whenever possible.
“When everyone’s used to staying at home, it can be helpful to limit how much in-person interactions you’re requiring of your wedding party. Keep your wedding party feeling safe by utilizing virtual or online options whenever possible, like purchasing groomsmen (and groom’s!) attire online.” – Matt Ramirez, SVP of Marketing, Generation Tux
Be thoughtful in your layout.
“Place your ceremony chairs further apart, or group people together by household. The same applies to your reception! It’ll be an instant source of comfort to your guests to know they’ll be closest to the people they’re already regularly interacting with on your wedding day.” – AJ Williams, Founder & Creative Director, AJ Events
Keep groupings small.
“Keeping everyone in smaller groups at your wedding will help address their concerns of attending a big event after so long. Instead of a big group photo, keep the shot list to individual groups of family and friends. For guests who would rather not be on a crowded dance floor, try to include other forms of entertainment such as a photo booth or lawn games.” – Lisette Gatliff, Lisette OC Photography
“Share your plans, expectations, and safety measures ahead of time with your guests! If you have a wedding website, you can list ahead of time any requirements for guests, such as negative COVID tests or wearing masks, as well as mention safety precautions your vendor team will be taking, like social distancing for the reception or providing hand sanitizer stations throughout the event. Sometimes the best source of comfort is just the knowledge of what to expect – your guests will feel peace of mind knowing you’re already prioritizing the things they’re worried about!” – Michelle’s Catering
Include signage on the wedding day.
“Communicating with guests ahead of time is important, but it’s also helpful to have guidance on the wedding day itself as a reminder to all of your guests! Include signs for things like directing traffic flow in a specific direction to maintain social distancing, locating hand sanitizer stations, and reminding everyone to wear masks if required.” – Michelle’s Catering
Communicate, then let your guests decide their comfort level.
“You will be surprised how excited most guests will be to finally get to attend another wedding! Weddings taking place now are not only a celebration of love but also a celebration of normalcy and resilience through a very difficult time. The comfort level of some might be higher than others, however, those that are not comfortable likely will not attend. The best thing you can do is communicate, communicate, communicate. Let your guests know what to expect and then they can decide what they are or are not comfortable with.” – Nora Sheils, Founder of Bridal Bliss and Co-Founder of Rock Paper Coin
Try a color-coding system.
“Guests love knowing what to expect in terms of comfort before they leave the house so we have been including details regarding any social distancing, masks or other precautions being taken at this time at the wedding venue in the invitations.
At the wedding, set out colored wristbands for guests to take and wear based on their comfort level (red means I’m social distancing, yellow means elbows only and green means hugs and high fives are ok). We have found to have extra green available due to the increasing vaccinations across the country.
Another handout idea is personalized masks with the wedding date. Lastly, at the start of our wedding season, we have seen an overabundance of excitement to be out and about again so make sure to stockpile the drinks and have plenty of refreshing choices available for your guests!” – Valarie Falvey, Founder of Kirkbrides Wedding Planning & Design
Prioritize sanitation and elbow room.
“Offer sanitation areas for those who might be more concerned about the pandemic. Added bonus, it keeps all guests remembering to stay safe and wash their hands more often! Keep your tables on the smaller side. Even though you can have tables of 10 or more guests, if you have space, keep your tables at 8 or less to give everyone more elbow room!” – Jamie & Stephanie, Cape Cod Celebrations
Don’t undervalue the relationship with your planner and vendors.
“Hire a wedding planner to assemble an all-star team! Humans thrive on structure and celebrations with great flow do not “just happen”. Ensure you’ve met with and clicked with every single one of your vendors. The energy they bring to those first meetings with you will set the tone for the entire process.
As you wade through the details with your planner, ensure that the expectation is set for a celebration that keeps guests comfortable and safe (this can include, but is certainly not limited to: following your state and county’s local guidance and mandates, providing extra sanitation to high-touch areas, and providing a color-coded wristband system for guests that relays preference on social distancing.)
Ample signage relaying when and where certain events of the evening will be taking place, seating charts (or place cards), and ceremony/day-of itineraries for guests will take the stress off of those needing to know who they’re sitting by and when.” – Ashley Lachney, Owner of Alston Mayger Events
These tips were gathered by Be Inspired PR, a PR + Social Media Agency for wedding, wellness & lifestyle clients. With over 10+ years of experience, we’re here to take our clients to the next level! Find oodles of stylish wedding inspiration on their Instagram & Pinterest.