Planning a 2021 Wedding around Covid
2020 has been a crazy year to say the least! Against all the odds courage, collaboration and positivity have really shone through in the wedding sector, and after a season of postponements, rescheduling, campaigning, waiting, watching, and in some cases, more rescheduling! We find ourselves approaching the end of the year with little more clarity than we had in March, and looking ahead to what things may look like for 2021 weddings.
I have been quiet on the blog front through the pandemic so far, wary of speculating on what the future may look like. But with a full year of wedding bookings ahead, and knowing that there are lots of excited and anxious couples all over the UK, it's definitely time to start talking about creative solutions on how we can hold Covid safe events, and make sure weddings happen in 2021.
Obviously I am still ever hopeful that couples will be able to go ahead with their original guest list and vision, but there is no harm in pre planning some extra details as back up.
With no roadmap of what lays ahead to guide us, planners and couples across the UK face the challenging task of wedding planning with an ever changing framework. There is still no guarantee about where we will be next year, but listening to couples it feels very clear that everyone is ready to get married, generally another postponement is understandably not an option for most, so I would like to be able to help by suggesting measures we can implement into both our planning strategy, and on the day, that will help keep guests as safe as possible whilst throwing an authentic celebration.
Below is a list of strategies and advice that I am currently working through with my 2021 couples.
Plan B Guest Lists
The guest list is often one of the trickiest elements of wedding planning at the best of times, and I am not suggesting that stripping numbers back will be an easy task, but I think it's well worth spending some time together over the winter months creating a couple of plan B guest lists should restrictions on number still be in place.
I would suggests;
1 micro wedding size - up to 20 guests, and
1 intimate wedding list - up to 50 guests
This may seem impossible to some, but remember that smaller numbers will not make the day any less authentic, and you can always throw a large second event to include everyone should it come to that.
If we are working around Covid restrictions next year, it's very likely that regulations will permit larger groups to celebrate outside, and guests are likely to feel safer in the open air.
Does your venue have any outdoor spaces you can utilise? Many venues have created extra covered outdoor spaces this year as a result of the pandemic, talk to your venue about creative solutions to bring your celebrations outside as a plan B.
Reach Out to Suppliers
Contact your suppliers over the winter and discuss their flexibility around last minute number changes. I am sure most suppliers will be more than happy to accommodate this in the current situation. It has been a very tough time for both suppliers and couples, but there is a keen willingness amongst everyone to do what we can to make weddings happen, and, like you, they will be keeping a close eye on the rules as they are rolled out next year.
Creative Seating Plans
Plan a back up seating plan for both ceremony and reception. If restrictions are in place it is likely you will have a smaller guest list and therefor more space to work with.
Circular or semi circular seating for an outdoor ceremony is a great way to allow enough space between family groups whilst maintaining an intimate atmosphere, and adopting a seating plan for the ceremony will keep guests in their family bubbles.
Carefully placed decor and the use of larger, more lavish seating can create a cosy atmosphere for more intimate indoor ceremonies.
Individual tables for family groups is an obvious solution for the meal, but if you have styled your reception around long tables, think about using statement centrepieces, perhaps greenery and flowers, to create space between guest groups.
Nathan Dumloo Photography
If you have canapés, sharing platers or a buffet planned I would suggest discussing a back up plan with your caterers. Individually plated meals or food trucks may have to be the option for 2021 events.
Raphael Lovaski Photography
Hand Sanitiser Stations
Hand sanitiser has become something of the new norm this year. Having sanitiser stations dotted around will help stop the spread of germs and reassure your guests.
Health is a top priority at the moment, but I can't help but have a little shout out for the planet here too! Antibacterial wipes are basically plastic and do not biodegrade, so best if we can avoid them all together, and disposable plastic bottles of hand sanitiser are no better. Staying safe without polluting the planet further needs to be our priority.
Luckily hire companies are already offering free standing, stainless steel hand sanitising stations with refillable hand sanitiser. They have a simple sleek design and, with a little imagination (and some Pinterest inspiration), you can create stylish areas that compliment your decor. If you are already hiring in furniture or crockery contact your supplier and see if it's possible to add a couple to your order.
I am really hoping it's not the case but masks may still be a requirement next year, and again it would be great to take the environment into consideration here. Anything disposable is never good, and I am sure many of your guests will have their own reusable mask by then, but you could consider providing nice natural fibre masks for guests to keep. These simple hand died silk masks from Lancaster & Cornish are soft and as comfortable as a mask can be to wear.
Again sharing food of any kind may be a problem. Speak to the person making your cake about a creative solution should you need to implement plan B.
You could go for a small cake for cutting and cupcakes for your guests.
Ben Ashby Photography
An extra member of staff to regularly clean surfaces in shared facilities such as the toilets may be a good way forward in keeping events safe, this is part of my daughter's school's strategy and it makes sense. Talk to your venue and see if they have this as part of their Covid procedure.
Multiday Wedding Plan
For those of you who are planning a weekend event and are struggling with narrowing down the guest list, a multiday wedding plan could be an option.
Inviting different guest groups to different aspects of your weekend could be a lovely way to include everyone. Breaking your guest list up into smaller groups will allow you to share your wedding weekend with everyone you love, as well as giving you the opportunity to spend quality time with individuals in smaller groups.
Keep Your Guests up to Date
Adding some information to your wedding website or invitations about the extra measures you are putting in place to keep everyone safe is a great way to reassure guests, and give everyone a gentle reminder of best practices.
Keep up With the Changing Guidelines
I am sure this is something that everyone who is planning a wedding next year is doing without needing reminding! But I thought it should be on the list.
This is advice that we all really need to take right now, but definitely to anyone who has been, and is still, planning a wedding during this pandemic!
Remember to breath, take breaks and look after yourself. Hold on to what's important for you both, take walks, baths and mini breaks if it's possible! Keep doing the little things that bring you joy, be kind to yourself and others, and most of all enjoy each other.
Thanks to the amazing efforts that have been put into the #whataboutweddings movement the sector has been highlighted, and if we continue to support this movement hopefully the government will acknowledge that Covid safe measures can be carried out at weddings and bring in a reasonable framework for us to work around.
Thank you to everyone who has, and continues to work tirelessly on this campaign!
And remember that #Loveisnotcancelled - your day will happen, and we are here for you if you need us.