How to Plan a Socially Distant Wedding Ceremony & Reception

Weddings are just one of the many facets of life impacted by the COVID-19 pandemic. What should be joyous occasions where friends and family come together to celebrate the union of a loving couple have been postponed indefinitely or canceled entirely. However, some have decided to move forward with a socially distant wedding ceremony and reception. A socially distant wedding requires outside-the-box thinking and planning, so read below to find out more!

Government Guidelines

When planning a socially distant wedding, checking your government guidelines should be first and foremost.  Each country has different guidelines and measures to handle the virus outbreak. For example, the number of people allowed to gather in one place currently varies from country to country. There may also be social distancing guidelines concerning spacing, food service requirements, and limitation on activities such as dancing.

See here for Ireland’s government regulations regarding weddings during COVID-19

See here for the UK’s government regulations regarding weddings during COVID-19

Venue Selection

Choosing the venue is an important part of wedding planning and has become even more so during the COVID-19 pandemic. Outdoor venues can be safer than indoor venues during the current climate. They allow for proper social distancing, and factors such as warm weather, UV light, and open air have been shown to help prevent the spread of disease. 

Possible outdoor venues include a backyard, farm, park, or resort, and most outdoor wedding venues offer shade through pergolas or pavilions or some sort of other indoor area. However, if you do opt for an entirely indoor venue, be sure to provide adequate space or use partitions between tables to allow for social distancing. 

Health and Safety Measures

You should implement health and safety measures at the event to protect guests. To start, anybody feeling ill or showing symptoms of COVID-19 should not attend at risk of exposing other attendees to the virus. You could consider making facial coverings and gloves mandatory for attendees. This would not only keep attendees safe, but you can treat them as a type of wedding accessory. White gloves have long been a regal accessory at weddings and other black tie functions. 

You could also have the wedding party members match and embroider masks with names, dates, or other custom messages. Other possible measures include portable hand-washing stations throughout the venue and temperature checks upon entry. Enforcing these measures will not only increase health and safety, but make your guests feel more comfortable as well. 

Use Technology to Your Advantage

Finalizing the guest list is one of the hardest parts of wedding planning. There have surely been countless friends and family members who have made an impact throughout your life and deserve to celebrate your big day with you. Unfortunately, there are only so many guest slots available and some people will unfortunately not be able to receive an invitation. 

There were already going to be some difficult exclusions on the guest list, and these cuts only grow when planning a socially distant wedding. Unless you were already planning a very small and intimate ceremony with immediate family and close friends, you will likely not be able to invite as many people as you would like due to your governments guidelines regulating the size of gatherings. 

Fortunately, modern technology has come up with an excellent solution to this problem; couples getting married during the COVID-19 pandemic are able to livestream their wedding! This is an excellent way to allow for anybody not at the physical ceremony to witness the fusion of your love as it happens. 

If you opt to livestream your wedding, there are many logistic factors to consider. First, you must pick a specific platform. Zoom, Skype, Google Hangout, and others are excellent options, but you must research beforehand and find the best platform to meet your needs. Certain platforms are better suited for a small number of viewers, and some may require a premium paid service to let a high number of viewers watch at once. Social media sites such as Instagram and Facebook also allow you to broadcast live to all of your followers or friends. 

You must also clearly inform the guests about the stream, preferably in an email or on your wedding website. You need to clearly state the platform, date, and time with specified time zone and provide a link and any passwords to allow for easy access. You’ll also need to make sure your internet and bandwidth can handle streaming to avoid any buffering or lag. 

Food and Drinks

The food (especially the cake) and drinks are a highlight of any memorable wedding, but you need to exercise caution when planning a socially distant wedding. Self-serve buffets are common at weddings but they are not recommended now because you cannot have everybody handling the same utensils, as this could lead to the spread of COVID-19 if a guest is an asymptomatic carrier.

Pre-prepared meals and drinks are an effective route for a socially distant ceremony, as this increases safety by limiting the number of people handling food and utensils. You can still use creativity to make the plates and drinks look festive and beautiful as they normally would!

Planning a socially distant wedding ceremony and reception may seem daunting at first, but it can easily be done with proper planning and a positive attitude. Even though the events will seem different, the end result will remain the same. You are still exchanging rings, taking pictures, and celebrating with the love of your life, and it is still the next step of your journey as a couple. 

WeddingDates Contributors
Win a Bridal Afternoon Tea for up to 10 people at your choice of any participating UK Marriott Hotel!

We have teamed up with Marriott Hotels to offer one lucky bride-to-be a chance to have a bridal afternoon tea with 9 of ..