For many of us, 2020 has turned our lives upside down. From career changes to isolation for weeks on end, the Coronavirus pandemic has drastically altered life as we know it. We have had to learn how to rework every aspect of our lives to be lived safely and considerate of the health of others.
One massive issue for many has been how to proceed with a planned wedding. From expensive cancellations to yes, even Zoom weddings, many have gotten creative with how they chose to proceed with their COVID wedding.
Below, we list several COVID wedding ideas that will help you adjust your wedding plans for the turbulent world we live in.
Pros and Cons of Having a COVID Wedding
For many, the choice to even have a COVID wedding is a hard one. On one hand, there are safety concerns. One must keep in mind that any social gathering is a risk, and if anything goes wrong, memories of your wedding might be tainted by negative repercussions.
Further, your coronavirus wedding will probably be quite different from what you had always imagined for your wedding.
However, if you’re willing to adjust your dreams and expectations, there are a lot of safe and exciting forms that a COVID wedding can take. It will be a memorable experience and a little bit of happiness and hope in a time that has felt dark for many.
Planning a Wedding During COVID 19
All wedding planning may feel overwhelming, but the added pressures of a global pandemic definitely don’t help! Every aspect of your wedding planning will be influenced by it.
From questions about how to get your dress to adjusting your events outdoors, planning a wedding during coronavirus definitely has extra considerations.
However, we recommend starting your COVID wedding planning at the same places that everyone does– thinking about venue, theme, guest list, etc. However, when planning these elements, take some time to think about how they’re affected by COVID. This way, you can feel confident that you’re properly accounting for every issue.
You may have chosen to postpone your wedding already – if this is the case, you can take most of your original plans and tweak them to fit with social distancing and other public health measures.
There are a lot of things to keep in mind about traditional wedding things like dancing, favors, and the bar. Below, we list a few ideas that will help you modify various aspects of your wedding so it can be safe, beautiful, and fun for your guests!
Virtual Wedding Ideas
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Another choice many are making is to have their ceremony streamed live over a video service like Zoom. For those with at-risk loved ones, this is a good option for them to feel like they’re a part of the special day.
To make this cute, pick a pretty “venue”– even if it’s just your favorite room in the house– and do some light decorating that your loved ones will be able to see over the Zoom call.
Another way you can make your Zoom wedding feel like there’s no distance at all is to have Zoom toasts! You can mail all of your attendees small bottles of prosecco or champagne to toast with, and have a few loved ones share their favorite stories of you and your new spouse.
While many may feel that a Zoom wedding is too impersonal, doing a toast like this might make your attendees feel more connected.
Live Stream Your Wedding
Another idea for a virtual wedding is to hold a very small wedding and live stream it online for your extended guest list. That way, you can still have your wedding day and include the guests who you had to cut due to health and safety precautions.
There are a few ways to live stream, whether you use YouTube, Facebook Live, or another service. Ask a loved one to film if you don’t have a photographer or videographer in attendance!
If live streaming sounds too difficult, you can also simply record the important moments of your wedding and share them with family and friends after the fact.
Ask friends, like the best man and maid of honor, to pre-record their speeches so that they can send them out as well, especially if they cannot attend the wedding itself.
Recording your wedding ceremony and other important moments from your big day will not only be helpful for sharing with loved ones who couldn’t attend, but it also ensures you can rewatch your wedding day years later!
COVID Safe Outdoor Wedding Ceremony Ideas
Obviously, the safest ceremony is outside. Consider hosting an outdoor wedding so that you can safely gather.
Even in the great outdoors, it will be necessary to practice social distancing or mask wearing to prevent the spread of COVID. Use these outdoor ideas to safely host your wedding outside!
Backyard Wedding at Home
If weather permits, you can’t go wrong with a backyard wedding. Having your wedding in a loved one’s backyard is sentimental and homey. Research ideas for a backyard wedding to make your wedding at home special.
Beach Weddings During COVID
Many people have spent their whole lives dreaming of a beach wedding. This is a great option, as guests can easily social distance on a beach, and it is scenic and memorable. You really can’t go wrong with the beauty of a beach ceremony.
Outdoor Weddings and Cold Weather
If an outdoor reception seems impossible based on weather, think about renting a tent and some heaters. A lot of tent rental companies will offer a space heater to rent along with it, and this is a great idea.
If you’re able to fit a tent in your backyard, you also save venue money. You can have the safety benefits of being outside without feeling like you’re outside!
Other Outdoor Spaces
Other safe outdoor spaces include deserts, parks, and forests. These leave plenty of room for guests to spread out, and you’ll have a lovely scenic backdrop!
Find more outdoor venue ideas, or consider other unique wedding venue ideas to keep your celebration safe.
Socially Distant Wedding Ideas
One of the most important principles we’ve all learned during this pandemic is that of social distancing. Social distancing is usually defined by taking precautions while in public or at a social event such as physical distance between you and others, being outdoors, and wearing a mask.
For many, a socially distant wedding has manifested in an outdoor wedding. This is definitely recommended– the Coronavirus is much less likely to spread outside. It is also recommended to have ceremony-watchers spread out from each other in small “pods”.
Spread Out the Ceremony
Typically, a wedding ceremony has two sides of seats, all packed with guests. For a COVID-safe wedding, however, you’ll have to socially distance.
Set up chairs spread far apart, and consider assigned seating during the ceremony so that guests are not intermingling too much. Seat people who live together together, but spread out your guests otherwise.
If hosting your wedding outdoors is truly out of the cards, it’s essential to change up your indoor seating plan to create more space between tabled “pods”.
You can do this by staggering tables and discouraging mingling between guests seated separately. Use signs to remind guests of social distancing rules.
When creating a pod seating chart, make sure that you group people who are comfortable sitting together, or even better, those who already live together.
To visit all of your own guests, wear a mask.
If the idea of spreading out all of your guests and wearing masks stresses you out, you could simply cut the guest list even further and host a micro wedding.
A tiny wedding likely means only your immediate families, and perhaps the bridesmaids and groomsmen if the group is small enough or if everyone quarantines and gets tested beforehand.
A micro wedding can be beautiful and incredibly intimate, so consider cutting all of the extra pods and sticking to your bubble of closest family and friends. You can use our virtual wedding ideas above to live stream or share your wedding videos with the rest of the guest list afterwards!
Creative Ideas for a COVID Safe Wedding
So, you’ve now decided to have a COVID-era wedding. You’ve decided on your venue, whether it will be indoors or outdoors, and how you’re limiting your guest list. But how do you make it feel like a wedding? Learn how to adjust the details to account for COVID precautions.
In addition to giving sanitizer as favors, be sure to have a spot where guests can clean up as often as they’d like. Bonus points for table wipes!
Spread Love Not Germs Signs
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If you’re getting married during COVID, your wedding will look a bit different. Lean into the new focus with cute signs with phrases like “Spread Love, Not Germs” or “Love is Infectious, but So is COVID-19”.
This is a fun way to decorate and also serves as reminders for guests to wear their masks, socially distance, and wash their hands!
If you’re worried about the fashion statement of a mask, try having one made that mimics your dress or wedding attire! This will create a cohesive look.
Your wedding party can also wear matching masks so that everyone matches your wedding colors and theme!
Send Welcome Baskets Ahead of Time
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Welcome baskets for weddings are becoming more and more popular, but for weddings during coronavirus these are a great way to improve the safety of your event.
Send a welcome basket to guests beforehand that includes a mask (in case they need one, or in case you want everyone to match), hand sanitizer, and any other instructions they may need for the big day. This can squash any confusion about how safety at your event will work and ensure no one shows up without a mask ready.
Include any social distancing guidelines on your website as well, or send out email updates leading up to the wedding date so that everyone is clear on how they can stay safe at your wedding.
Social Distancing Wristbands
Have guests choose between colored wristbands to indicate to one another if they’re comfortable talking, hugging, or if they’d like to be left alone in their “pod”.
Find this customizable wrist band set on Etsy!
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With a large enough outdoor space, you can still have a decent crowd at your wedding. Consider doing things tailgate-style, with individual groups separated enough to keep safe but can still see you walk down the aisle. Depending on your location, they can stay in their cars like a drive-in movie.
With this idea, you can still visit each pod of people – while wearing masks of course. Each group can celebrate amongst themselves while still feeling included in your big day.
Safe Food Service
One of the most important COVID precautions you can take for your wedding to avoid a buffet-style service. A buffet is considered very unsafe during this pandemic— everyone touches and goes near each other’s food.
If you can, shift your food toward a service style, where each person’s food is brought to them. This minimizes contact between the food and others.
Serving Drinks During COVID-19
For drinks, there is also concern about the ways that a bar crowds. To prevent long lines at the bar, provide two bottles of wine, a red and a white, on each table. This way, drink sharing is limited to just each guest “pod”. You could also serve things like beers in cans so that there isn’t open air exposure.
Skip the Cash Bar
If you do choose to have a bar, make sure the bartender and guests wear masks! It’s also a good idea to skip the cash bar, as physical money tends to be unclean – you never know where that dollar bill has been.
To keep things as safe as possible, have an open bar so that money does not need to be exchanged, and to avoid high-touch items like credit card readers.
Instead of something communal like a photo booth or guest book, leave a disposable camera on each table, for guests in each “pod” to take funny candids of each other with. This is a great way for you to keep precious memories of your day, through the eyes of your guests. You can even create a guest book with the photos!
A great photo of your guests is also a perfect addition to a thank-you note!
Similarly, since there likely won’t be dancing, you can have a fun wedding by using games! Either full-wedding trivia or small board games left on each table or even socially distant cornhole, spending some time occupied by a gentle competition is a great activity that can be done at a distance.
Take the Opportunity to be Charitable
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If you’re not comfortable bringing all of your loved ones out but have a non-refundable catering deposit, talk to the catering company about giving that food away to the needy. During this difficult time, there are a lot of people who need extra assistance.
This couple in Ohio used their non-refundable catering contract to give back in their area!
Honor Lost Loved Ones
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Many lives have been lost to COVID already, and it’s possible that you may have lost loved ones or family members who would have otherwise attended your wedding.
Honor lost loved ones at your wedding with a memorial table, featuring photos and other fond memories.
COVID Themed Wedding Favors
If you’re hosting a wedding during the coronavirus pandemic, you may as well lean in and embrace the COVID wedding. Give out wedding favors to remind guests of your wonderful day during a not-so-wonderful era!
Something you should certainly provide for your guests is hand sanitizer! One great favor idea, and something to have on each table, is little bottles of personalized hand sanitizer that act as both a practical gift and a memorable keepsake of your special day.
Custom Face Masks
Similarly, you could give out personalized masks! Though this may seem tacky, a fabric mask with a tasteful nod to your wedding is a funny conversation starter and a stylish must-have! They will also remind your guests to stay masked while at your event.
Getting Creative in the time of COVID
It’s important to keep a sense of humor throughout the coronavirus pandemic. Though things are really quite bleak, humor is a meaningful way to get through hard times. While it may feel silly to acknowledge COVID at your wedding, it’s also a great opportunity to bring a unique touch to your nuptials.
Whether it’s turning your fancy affair into a down-home barbeque or making a fun sign laying down the COVID law, it’s important to get creative and to do what you can to keep the show going.
Making the Most of Your COVID Wedding
While having a COVID wedding might seem crazy or even a disappointment based on the wedding you’ve been dreaming about, it’s important to make the most of it. Even though the photos of all your masked guests might look strange, be sure to hang them on your wall. It’s still your wedding!
The most important thing about having a COVID safe wedding is balancing the safety of you and your guests with the personal touches that make a wedding important and fun. By reworking your wedding plans according to all the ideas we’ve listed above, you can create an event that you will remember fondly.
You may also choose to wait until it’s safe to have a large wedding again, which is perfectly understandable!
Read More About Safely Gathering
Check out more ideas about small weddings— this is a great place to start if you’re at the beginning of your wedding planning journey, and hope to be married soon.
For a detailed guide about adjusting your planning for COVID-19, follow CDC event guidelines and laws in your local area to ensure that your wedding is safe and guests leave healthy.
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