The purpose of this blog post is to offer some encouragement, warmth, and guidance for couples and vendors with ideas on how to host your wedding and continue your scheduled wedding during this Pandemic of COVID-19.
Please note that Marcella Camille Events is not a lawyer, virologist, doctor, or insurance professional. All couples are encouraged to seek their own legal counsel regarding postponing or canceling their wedding and should decide on their own if they are canceling postponing or pairing down their wedding size.
As an event planner with over 12 years of experience in the industry, I come with earned knowledge and experience with many events needing to move to a Plan B.
To All the Dear 2020 Couples Planning Their Wedding During this Pandemic,
First off, my heart goes out to you in the tumultuous time of uncertainty and continuous change. This pandemic is new to all of us and we are all learning the best ways to move forward while considering the health and safety guidelines of the CDC. But know this, we in the events industry send so much love to you and would never wish your weddings to be thwarted in this way.
Second, BREATHE. In such a time of added strain + stress, now more than ever, it is important that you take care of yourselves. And I don’t mean just washing your hands all the time, eating, exercising, and sleeping well. Now is the time to make sure you are taking care of yourselves emotionally and mentally.
Bring out your journals and write down your thoughts + emotions. But also write down all the good that’s happening right now. Write down 10 things you are thankful for every day. Write down a good thing that happened. A bad thing that happened. A God thing that happened.
And know that while you can’t control what’s going on in the world, you can control your thoughts, your emotions, and actions.
And then remember to BREATHE. Breathe in for four deep seconds. Breathe it into all the stresses deep into your belly. Then breathe all that stress out of your system. Try your best dear friend to not carry your stress in your body.
Third, remember you are getting married! You have found the one your soul loves and regardless of the guest count, world health status, or your wedding date, you are getting married. And nothing can or should take your joy from that fact.
As a representative of your local vendor team + industry professionals, please know that this crisis has had a devastating effect on their welfare. Many event professionals are family owned businesses and rely on the completion of scheduled events to provide not only for the health of their businesses but also to provide for their household income; to feed their children and keep their mortgages paid. On behalf of all event industry vendors, please consider working with them on rescheduling before asking to cancel. We love you, our clients, and will do what we can to make your day as gorgeous, as celebratory, and safe as possible.
This is a scary emergence that is new to all of us and is challenging us in ways we’ve yet to see. But I believe we can come together and elevate each other and help find solutions to these new problems so that we can best take care of one another and we all win. #allinthistogether#covid19weddings
Your vendors LOVE you and we want you to have the BEST day ever. And you will, regardless of whether you decide to postpone or are moving forward with your plans. Remember, at the end of the day, you have found the one you love and you are getting married! No amount of COVID-19 is going to steal that joy.
Now down to the details:
Below you will find suggestions for how to best implement changes to your wedding broken down into categories that will allow for CDC Health and Safety Recommendations and allow for you to have the most amazing wedding celebration.
As of March 15th, 2020 the CDC.gov has updated their recommendations to cancel or postpone mass gatherings of guest lists over 50. This is a recommendation, not a mandate and each wedding + venue will need to follow their local area guidelines.
Again, we know this is not the ideal dream you’ve envisioned for your wedding day, but it can be just as gorgeous and grand an affair and I hope these ideas will help you to do so.
Considerations for Your Guest List + Venue:
For Guest Counts Over 50:
With your wedding planner, consider seeing if you are able to partition the venue into separate areas of guests equaling 50 or less.
One set of 50 is at the ceremony site, the others are live-streamed into the ceremony at the reception site.
Perhaps inviting the elderly 50 to attend the ceremony in-person with your family and wedding party so they can witness your celebration and then leave. Consider talking with your catering team and florist about sending them home with a boxed meal, dessert, and florals from your wedding.
For Guests Counts 50 and Under:
This will indeed be a difficult discussion to have when it comes to pairing down your guests. Consider getting together with your key wedding decision-makers (your fiance and parents) and determine who those 50 guests will be. Admittedly, some of the most delightful weddings have been a most intimate affair.
Then share the news of the changes to your wedding in one of the following ways:
- Updated your website and RSVP capabilities to allow only those on the new guest list to RSVP.
- Reaching out to your guests via e-mail
- Splitting the guest list up among you, your fiance, and family to communicate the updates to your wedding.
- Creating a Private Wedding Facebook Group + designating a guest to live stream the wedding with a facebook live.
Consider sharing something like the following:
UPDATED DETAILS REGARDING OUR WEDDING
Due to recent events, we have made the difficult decision to hold our wedding as scheduled with only 50 of our closest friends and family. We have made arrangements for our other beloved guests to join us in celebrating our wedding remotely. We are taking precautions as necessary and we know that the news is changing daily.
Please visit our website for instructions on how to celebrate with us remotely and for the most up-to-date information.
For further ways and ideas on how to share your updated wedding news with your guests, please visit my friend, Ciarra Claire’s Website for free digital downloads to send to your guests.
Considerations for Rescheduling:
There are a lot of factors to consider when it comes to postponing your wedding and it, of course, is not an easy one to make.
First, reach out to your VIP wedding team (planner, venue, photographer, videographer, DJ, caterer, florist, dessert, hair, and makeup artist) and see what their policy is on rescheduling and what dates they have open. Know that some will have a rescheduling fee. Also know, you may have to decide who your most important vendors are and choose to sync with the ones that are most important to you to all get on the rescheduled date.
Second, determine if you are looking to reschedule to later in 2020 or are wanting to hold off till 2021. If looking to postpone till the summer or fall of 2021, know that September is the busiest month industry-wide so that will be a difficult month. Consider being willing to move your wedding to a Friday or Sunday. Or even a Thursday. These will likely be dates of the week your vendor team doesn’t already have booked and will be glad to work with to throw you the celebration of your dreams!
Third, check with your key family, wedding party, and vendor team to confirm all are available for that and proceed with moving your wedding to the rescheduled date.
If the thought of needing to postpone your wedding until later this year or even next year is too burdensome for you, consider pursuing having your wedding with a guest count of 50 or less, or eloping and celebrating at a later date. Many military members do just this. As they sacrifice for the good of the many, we are now being asked to do the same.
Considerations for Catering + Dessert:
Industry professionals are now recommending to move any buffet or family-style meal plans to plated meals which will help with sanitary standards. A benefit of moving your guest count to 50 and under is being able to still afford plated within your budget. Also, consider asking your caterer to send boxed meals home with guests. Or if that is not an option, ask them to please donate the remainder of your food to local food banks or homeless shelters.
If you are under contract to spend a certain dollar amount on food and beverage, talk with your caterer about ordering some baked goods you can send out to your remote guests as a thank you (and favor) for attending your wedding remotely.
Considerations for Florals:
Consider chatting with your florist about lowering your floral budget to accommodate for the lower count of centerpieces. If this is not an option (meaning they have already ordered your florals) ask if they will create more luxury designs for your wedding, create floral bouquets as favors for your guests, or donate florals as bright surprises in your socially distanced friends or loved ones lives.
Other Vendor Considerations:
Your Photographer, DJ, Videographer, Hair and Makeup Artist, and Wedding Planner generally have base prices for their talent and knowledge they provide either before or after your wedding and the amount of time they are performing them day-of. Regardless of your guest size, their service quality remains the same. So there are no reductions to be requested here.
Suggestions for How To Make Your Wedding a Safe Event within the CDC Health + Safety Guidelines:
It is recommended that you request a meeting with your planner to make a plan of action for safe.
The CDC Recommends the following for hosting events of any size:
Consider asking those with high-risk to COVID-19 to remote in to your wedding. Those are risk are:
- Older adults
- People who have serious chronic medical conditions like:
- Heart disease
- Lung disease
- Provide COVID-19 prevention supplies to event staff and participants. Ensure that your events have supplies for event staff and participants, such as hand sanitizer that contains at least 60% alcohol, tissues, trash baskets, disposable facemasks, and cleaners and disinfectants. Clean frequently touched surfaces and objects with detergent and water prior to disinfection, especially surfaces that are visibly dirty.
- Promote messages that discourage people who are sick from attending events. This could include electronic messages sent to attendees prior to travel to the event as well as messages requesting that people leave events if they begin to have symptoms of COVID-19, which include fever, cough, and shortness of breath. Attendees should be encouraged to seek medical advice promptly by calling ahead to a doctor’s office or emergency room to get guidance. See CDC guidance on what to do when sick with COVID-19.
- If possible, identify a space that can be used to isolate staff or participants who become ill at the event. Designate a space for staff and participants who may become sick and cannot leave the event immediately. Work with partners, such as local hospitals, to create a plan for treating staff and participants who do not live nearby. Include a plan for separating and caring for vulnerable populations. If any staff member or participant becomes sick at your event, separate them from others as soon as possible. Establish procedures to help sick staff or participants leave the event as soon as possible. Provide them with clean, disposable facemasks. to wear, if available. Work with the local public health department and nearby hospitals to care for those who become sick. If needed, contact emergency services for those who need emergency care. Public transportation, shared rides, and taxis should be avoided for sick persons, and disposable facemasks should be worn by persons who are sick at all times when in a vehicle. Read more about preventing the spread of COVID-19 if someone is sick.
Other ideas for promoting a safe and healthy event for your wedding are:
- Rent a portable handwashing station or two for your guests so they can wash their hands frequently without needing to use the restroom frequently.
- Provide hand sanitizers for guests to keep with them on your guest book table.
- Post reminders on your website, private Facebook group, on guestbook table, and on your bar, reminding your guests to give air hugs, air high fives, and to be mindful of social distancing during your wedding.
Remember, (If I haven’t stressed this enough) your vendors genuinely want your day to be the best day it can be regardless of challenges. They want this not only because their blood-sweat-and-tears business could be at risk along with their personal income; but because they truly love you and genuinely want the best for you. These are real people with real passion for this moment in your life;. So be confident in their ability, trust their judgment, and work with them on making this day great before moving to cancel.
As more news and recommendations from the CDC emerges, I will be updating this blog post with current information.
For couples without a planner or needing additional support, I invite you to join me for weekly ZOOM calls scheduled on Wednesdays (#weddingwednesday). I will be offering free consultation support for your wedding plans during this pandemic.
I personally love you and hope the COVID-19 situation becomes at the most a smudge on the beautiful diamond that is your wedding day. And that when you look back on your wedding day, you will remember all the love and beauty that was there to celebrate your love story. Your love will endure and so will we.