Planning a wedding is stressful. Add a global pandemic to the mix, and let’s just say 2020 isn’t what any of us expected. Usually during this time of the summer, so many couples are getting hitched and I’m neck deep into the wedding season. Instead, here we are – five months into the COVID-19 pandemic. Most of my couples postponed their weddings until 2021. However, some of my couples decided they didn’t want to wait to be married, and “the show must go on”! So far, I’ve shot 7 or 8 socially-distant weddings and elopements. The good news is that it is possible to celebrate your wedding day safely with friends and family. Here are 5 things I’m sharing with you about planning perfect (and safe!) Social Distance Weddings and Elopements.
1. BE IN THE KNOW
Check with your local governments to see what’s allowed in your state and county. I found this guide and this list to give you an idea of what’s open and closed in your state. Because some cities are more affected than others, it varies greatly. Also, the rules seem to be change all the time, so do check back often.
2. THE GREAT OUTDOORS
Most experts agree being outside seems to lower the risk of contracting COVID-19. Sunlight and fresh air are the key factors. (Plus, being outside is good for your body and soul.) If your original venue has an outdoor option, see if you can use that space. Keep in mind that you need enough space to adhere to the 6 feet apart rule. I’ve had a few clients use a friend or family member’s backyard or an AirB&B. Others have found a private spot in a park. Living in California, we are blessed with amazing weather year-round and an al fresco reception, eating under the stars, sounds romantic to me!
3. MAKING THE CUT
Having 200 of your closest friends and family on your guest list isn’t really an option right now. Keep the list small to reduce the chances of spreading COVID. Most of my clients have managed to keep it small by having only close family members and friends. Also, check with your local governments to understand size restrictions. Those who can’t be there in person can “be there” in Zoom or FaceTime spirit. (Just remember for someone to help grandma get connected.) Thank goodness for technology! Hopefully, next year when it’s safe, you can celebrate again with your complete guest list. Like one of my clients said, “Ain’t no party like a post-pandemic party!”
4. SAFETY FIRST
Distancing, testing, wearing masks and sanitizing are all precautions we can take to stay safe. Make sure the wedding is set up in a way to follow these protocols:
Distance: Set up chairs and tables of guests in age pods or with the people they arrived, and make sure they are 6 feet or more apart from other groups.
Test: Get tested a few week before the wedding and stay home to ensure you are not catching or spreading the virus.
Masks: Encourage guests to wear a mask as much as possible.
Sanitize: Have hand sanitizer readily available, so people can stay clean. I’ve had a few couples give hand sanitizer bottles as a wedding favor.
5. BE READY FOR ANYTHING….ANYTHING
The way 2020 is going, I think we must live by the mantra “expect the unexpected”. (To do otherwise will make you crazy.) “Plan A” didn’t happen, but you are ready with “Plan B”. (Just make sure you have “Plan C” and “Plan D”, too.) Life is constantly changing during this pandemic, so just be ready to change with it. Take a deep breath and read this.
All my couples who decided to move forward with their weddings (instead of postponing them) really wanted to be married and begin their lives together as a married couple. Weddings can still happen, just differently than before. Life doesn’t have to stop due to the current situation because love isn’t cancelled!
If you’re planning your own social distance wedding during the COVID-19 pandemic and would like your day documented in images, feel free to contact me.