Whether you're getting ready for your own wedding or thinking about the save the date that's been hanging on the fridge for months, you might be wondering what the wedding will be like given the current global health situation. With social distancing, gathering limits, masks, and even travel restrictions for international guests, there are a lot of new challenges we're facing.
The truth of it is, vendors are just now starting to have small weddings again, so we're also wondering what the future of weddings will look like. But with the safety and enjoyment of guests as high priorities, we have some pretty good ideas about changes you might see in the coming months.
Before the Wedding
Getting a wedding invitation is super exciting, but you might have more questions these days than just what to wear. When you go to the couple's wedding website, you'll find a page or note about expectations related to COVID-19. The couple will keep that page updated as restrictions change.
You'll also want to keep in mind that the couple might have to shorten their guest count to meet local requirements. If the couple invited you, they definitely don't want to uninvite you, but it might be out of their hands. If it comes to that, your love, encouragement, and understanding will help the couple during this difficult time.
But don't think you'll be missing out! Thanks to live-streaming, you'll still be able to watch the ceremony and celebrate the couple, even if you can't be there in person.
The Morning Of
On the morning of the wedding, things will go like normal during setup, just with extra safety and cleanliness steps. Vendors will be wearing masks and frequently washing hands throughout the setup process. Hair and makeup will take a larger chunk of the morning since artists and stylists will be wearing face shields and thoroughly cleaning brushes and tools between bridesmaids.
If the couple is getting married at a park, private residence, or non-standard venue, you'll want to confirm the parking situation before you arrive. If you're attending the wedding with people who live in your household or are part of your close circle, you'll be able to carpool.
When you get to the venue, you might notice that a few things are different from the weddings we remember from the before. The couple may choose to include health and safety checks upon arrival (which they'll let you know about beforehand). If masks are required, there might be available at the entrance to the ceremony space. If any part of the wedding is inside, the doors will be propped open so you can avoid door handles.
Instead of a basket of programs, you might find them on the chairs or nixed altogether. The ceremony chairs will be spaced further apart, with 6' between rows, and split into clusters. You might even have assigned seats for the ceremony so households sit next to each other.
After the Ceremony
After the couple says their vows, you'll make your way to cocktail hour, directed by signs or a wedding director. The wedding will be set up with as few touchpoints as possible, so you won't see any self-serve options. A bartender will take care of your alcoholic and non-alcoholic drinks, and the bar itself will be set off with plenty of space so you won't be in close quarters. Any area that would normally draw a crowd might have paths created out of ribbon and tulle, flower garlands and the natural flow of the space.
When you make your way to the reception space, you'll notice that the dinner tables are also 6' apart, with no more than 10 guests at each table. The seating chart will guide you to your place, where you find your plate and flatware, a glass with a nametag, and a favor.
When dinner is served you won't find any self-serve buffets. If dinner isn't plated and brought to you, a buffet attendant will plate your food as you walk through, so you won't have to touch the same serving spoon as everyone else.
For the rest of the evening, there's plenty of space to mix and mingle. There might not be a physical guest book or selfie sticks, but there's a video booth in the corner to capture messages to the couple. On the dance floor, cocktail tables are scattered about; small groups of friends dance together between or chat with a new friend across a cocktail table. And at the end of the night, the couple heads off on their next great adventure.