Updated: Aug 17, 2020
COVID-19 has changed the way we do things in our everyday life because no one has experienced a pandemic of this magnitude in a very long time. Our lives have been turned upside down and when we go back to "normal", if ever at all, is a question that still remains uncertain. While we are all still optimistic and continue to plan for the future, we risk having to cancel or postpone the things we have put so much thought and effort into. One of these things is a wedding. Because of the amount of detail that goes into these, weddings aren't something you can throw together overnight; they require a lot of planning. However, with the new restrictions and guidelines evolving every day, it may seem impossible to plan this far in advance because "what if the restrictions aren't lifted by the time my wedding comes."While you could cancel or postpone, we understand that this could be very disappointing. To avoid this, we have come up with "what if", "Plan-B" solutions to keep in mind so that you can still celebrate your wedding the day you planned to. Although these options do have modifications (we wish we were miracle workers), one of the options still allows you to almost have your wedding exactly how you imagined it.
Photo by: Cotton Bro
Have a Micro (small) Wedding ceremony and postpone the reception
One of the most important things to remember when having your wedding is that you must follow the restriction guidelines that are in place in regards to how many people can attend. In British Columbia, you are allowed to have gatherings of up to 50 people and this limit can differ between provinces and countries. Remember that this capacity limit does include your photographer(s), caterer(s), wedding venue staff, band, your officiant and any other vendors, so you will probably only be able to have 35-40 guests at your wedding. The other thing you need to keep in mind is that there is currently a travel ban and depending on when your wedding is, the guests from outside the country may not be able to attend.
For this reason, couples have chosen to have a micro wedding to become officially married and then simply postpone the reception. This is our first Plan-B solution for you. If you still want to have the full wedding experience later on, you can have a vow-renewal ceremony in front of your guests right before the postponed reception.
Although a micro wedding does mean a small wedding, they can vary in size. They can be as small as just having the couple, the officiant and two witnesses (the minimum requirement), or it can be as large as your large restriction capacity.
Photo by: Emma Bauso
Have a Micro Wedding and Reception - up to 50 people in total
As mentioned earlier COVID-19 in unpredictable and the future is uncertain. It is unknown when the maximum gathering limit (currently 50 people) will increase and if it will by the time you decided to have your postponed reception date. In order to keep yourself from constantly postponing, why not just opt for a smaller wedding in general? This is not to say that you now have to limit the amount of people you share your wedding day with, because you don't! With technology being so handy these days, you can invite a certain amount of guests to the in-person wedding and have the rest join you by Zoom or any other video-chat platform. Although this may seem impersonal, some guests may not be comfortable to gather even only in groups of 50 so this may actually be their preferred method.
Photo by: Andrea Piacquadio
The loophole way to celebrate your wedding with more than 50 people
That’s right, there is a way to have more than 50 people celebrate your wedding day with you, live and in-person. "Isn't there a limit of 50 people though?" Yes, there is. There is a limit of having gatherings of up to 50 people -at a time-. This means you can have your guests come in two shifts: One for the ceremony and the other for the reception.
Here is an example:
During the wedding ceremony, you will host your first shift of guests while the rest can join you over Zoom or another video-chat platform. After the ceremony, you can allow some time to interact with the first shift while they eat a light meal. Your second shift can arrive at any point before the reception but to ensure a smooth transition, we suggest having at least a 30 minute safety zone between shifts (Shift 1 must leave before 4 and Shift 2 cannot arrive before 4:30).You will then be sure to stay within your capacity restrictions and it can give the wedding staff time to disinfect areas, if needed.
A good idea would be to give your guests the option of what shift they would like. You can have some guests attend both, such as family and close friends, but just keep in mind you can only have a max of 50 people (including vendors and staff) in each shift.
How to keep your wedding COVID-Friendly
Although you are staying within the capacity restriction limits, there are other things you can do to promote low-risk of contamination:
As party favours, hand out colourful masks that match your décor and also mini hand sanitizers. You can decide whether or not to have your guests wear/use them, but at least they will be there for them to use.
Try and have an outdoor wearing. Outdoor weddings allow more air circulation and allow the seating to be further spread out. While we’re on the topic of seating, try and seat immediate families together or groups that are in the same "bubble" and interact on a regular basis. Avoid intermingling groups as this will cause an unnecessary risk of contamination. To be mindful of your guest’s preferences, you can also ask them how they would like to be seated. More at-risk individuals may prefer to sit on their own.
Lastly, let’s talk about food. Although usually a staple at most weddings, self-serve options such as buffets are not COVID-friendly and you should consider avoiding them. Opt for individual meals such as plated meals or food trucks!
We hope this gives you lots of ideas and inspiration on how to still have the wedding you want amidst a pandemic. If cancelling or postponing is the better option for you, don't be afraid to celebrate your original wedding date. Take the day off, treat yourself, and celebrate your love and your hard work. Even though there’s a pandemic going on, there’s never a bad time to do that!