A COVID-Safe Marriage Ceremony: The Coronavirus Wedding Checklist

Getting married in a pandemic is scary. But, if you’ve already postponed your event a few times, now might be the time to have your event. You’ll want to ensure you do everything possible to keep your guests — and vendors! — safe through the event. Here’s a checklist filled with items you’ll want to complete or have on hand to make sure you’ve done your best to keep everyone healthy.

Create a wedding website. It can be costly to keep sending out date-changes, new invitations and RSVP cards. A wedding website makes it hassle-free to present new information to your guests, such as the location, date and time.

Avoid the diamonds for now. While you might be tempted to show off the beautiful diamond and its accompanying band at your wedding, the divots in diamond rings can hide harmful bacteria and germs, even if you clean it rigorously. Instead, consider wearing one of the women’s unique silicone rings to your event. With so many people touching your hand to admire your ring, this is a much safer alternative. You can bring the diamond to wear in bridal portraits, and then share them on social media for everyone to see later!

Restrict your guest list. As much as it might pain you to ask Great-Grandma Betty to stay home, restricting your guest list to attendees who have either been fully vaccinated, have little-to-no pre-existing health conditions or are under 65 can give you peace of mind about the health and safety of your guests. Instead, send all the guests you weren’t able to have present a fun photo of you and your spouse showing off your newlywed glow!

Order and book well in advance. Couples who got engaged at the end of 2020 might be disappointed to find out they won’t be able to get married until 2022. Many 2020 couples postponed their weddings to 2021, filling up the weekends that typically end-of-the-year engagements would reserve for the following year.

If you’re set on getting married in 2021, consider having a weekday wedding. You can have your event around dinner time, and then have a light cocktail hour for mingling. Guests probably won’t drink as heavily, and you’ll save money because venues and vendors tend to be less expensive on weekdays. This also goes for booking your other vendors, as well. Special ordering your wedding bands can take months, with manufacturing delays, so ordering silicone rings for men can serve as place-holders for the wedding.

Have sanitizers and face masks available. By now, most guests will arrive wearing a mask. However, there’s always one person who still doesn’t believe they work — and having guests not wearing masks could potentially pose a health risk for other guests, as well as financially for you and your fiance. Many venues have new requirements for attendees, especially if they’re run by local governments. These requirements, if not followed, could result in fines or fees. Having additional masks and sanitizers available for guests to take with them or use at your event can give peace of mind to everyone. Plus, they make great favors!

Get rid of the receiving line. While not used often anymore, the receiving line typically was meant for newlyweds to receive well wishes from their guests. Avoid having the receiving line at your wedding to ensure everyone stays socially distanced.

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Space out chairs and tables. Spacing out chairs and tables can really make a difference in your wedding to keep everyone healthy. That’s why outdoor venues are preferable for a wedding ceremony during COVID — you’ve got more space to place people without crowding them.

Sit families together. Create a seating chart to have only people living in the same household or who frequently see each other, such as homeschooling or family pods, sitting together.

Skip the buffet. A plated dinner will reduce the number of people up at one time, crowding around the buffet. Instead, masked catering staffers can bring plates and bus tables to ensure there’s no trashy plates lying around. If your chosen catering company doesn’t offer serving and bussing as an option (looking at you, BBQ restaurants!), either find a new caterer or hire a serving staff. Trust us; you won’t realize how important it is until the day-of.

Host a wedding brunch instead of a dinner. Not only are brunch weddings more budget-friendly, they can make for less potential exposure at your wedding. If you host a brunch wedding, you probably don’t need a DJ — your wedding can wrap up by 2 p.m., and guests can go on to spend the rest of the day doing whatever it is they need to do!

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Skip the open bar. Instead of an open bar, opt for a cash-bar or a dry wedding. This will eliminate the long lines and crowds at the bar, especially at last call. If you still want to have an open bar, consider establishing a cap — when the tab gets to a certain point, the bar converts to cash or serves non-alcoholic drinks only.

Invite guests to the ceremony but postpone the reception to a later date. Guests don’t need their masks off for the ceremony! The ceremony is the whole point of the event — it’s about the joining together of two individuals who are in love. Invite your guests to the ceremony and postpone your reception to the following year. How cool would it be to celebrate your first anniversary with all your friends and family? That way, you can wear much more informal clothes and have a huge party, no stuffiness required.

Live-stream your wedding. A virtual wedding is a great alternative to an in-person event. You can have your local guests attend the wedding, and then have your wedding live-streamed to friends and family through an online platform. It’s a great way to keep them involved while keeping them safe!

Forgo the bridal party. Having a bridal party can mean more people in close quarters getting ready than need be. Plus, the getting-ready hours before the wedding can involve a lot of eating, drinking and laughing — not really socially distant, right? Your bridal party can still attend as guests, and you can honor them during the reception by having the DJ give them a shout-out or have them introduced at the beginning.

By following these guidelines, you will keep your guests and servers safe so they can attend many celebrations in the future.

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