When COVID-19 hit us during the first quarter of 2020, the situation put the entire country (and much of the world) to a sudden halt. The pandemic has impacted almost every part of our normal lives, including weddings.
At the start of the pandemic in the UK, it was against the law to have a wedding at all. When the country began to open up again, we had to limit our weddings to small gatherings, and follow strict health and safety guidance. Nowadays, as we are hopefully approaching the tail-end of the pandemic, we’re free to celebrate our wedding however we choose once again.
However, we need to bear in mind that the pandemic isn’t over. We should still do our best to be cautious, and conduct ourselves in such a way that we reduce the risk of our wedding guests spreading and catching COVID. Read on for ten valuable tips for organising a COVID-safe wedding.
Is it Safe to Have a Wedding During COVID?
Weddings are important and joyous occasions. However, holding large gatherings during the COVID-19 pandemic can risk spreading the virus. According to infectious disease experts, weddings are classified as “super spreader” events. Here’s what makes them so risky:
1) The more people, the more crowded the venue is; therefore, the higher chances of spreading the virus around
2) There’s a chance that not everyone in attendance will be fully vaccinated
3) People tend to forget the safety precautions under the influence of alcohol, or simply because of the excitement of a wedding
4) Weddings are emotional occasions, so there may be a lot of hugging involved
5) Many indoor wedding venues don’t have the best ventilation
6) Guests are likely to take off their masks as the night goes on, due to being hot from dancing
7) Weddings are often loud events involving lots of singing and loud talking, which has been proven to spread the virus more easily than talking quietly
If you plan to have your wedding amidst the COVID-19 pandemic, it is your responsibility to make the health and safety of your guests your top priority.
This is particularly important if you have guests who are particularly vulnerable to the disease, such as guests over the age of 50, and people with underlying conditions or compromised immune systems.
Ultimately, you have to understand that even if you follow all of the following guidelines, there’s still a chance that COVID-19 could show up at your wedding. It’s completely up to you whether the risk is worth the benefit.
How to Make Your Wedding COVID-Safe
Weddings in England currently have no restrictions (though this may change). More and more couples are now planning to push through with their wedding plans as they’d originally intended.
Health protocols during weddings in the UK are now a matter of personal choice. But even if social distancing and mask-wearing are now no longer mandated, there are still some guidelines that couples should observe to safeguard themselves and their guests.
Despite the ease of restrictions, we are still not totally out of the woods yet. Here’s what you can do to keep safe while also having a memorable and beautiful wedding day.
1. Limit the Number of Guests
Even if social distancing isn’t currently mandated, it’s still a good idea to limit the number of people in attendance, so that you aren’t packed in like sardines. A wedding ceremony with fewer guests is better to minimise the risk of spreading the coronavirus.
It may be best to consider not inviting anyone who’s particularly at risk from complications from COVID. You can always set up a live stream of the ceremony so that those who cannot attend the wedding are able to watch online.
2. Choose a Well-Ventilated, Spacious Venue
Outdoor venues are the best option for hosting a COVID-safe wedding. An open-air venue with lots of space significantly lowers the risk of transmission.
But if you choose an indoor wedding venue, which may be your only option during bad weather, always go for a location with a good amount of ventilation. Poor ventilation puts everyone at risk because droplets are easily inhaled when indoors.
You should also choose a venue that’s spacious enough for everyone to be able to socially distance efficiently.
3. Ask Guests to be Fully Vaccinated
One simple way of safeguarding your guests is to require all of your wedding guests to be double-vaccinated in order to enter your wedding venue. If everyone’s vaccinated, there’s a far smaller chance of spreading the virus.
You should make this extremely clear on your wedding invitation, so that unvaccinated guests have a chance to book their jabs if they want to attend. Ask your guests to download the NHS app before the big day so that they can show their COVID vaccination pass to your ushers.
Another option is to ask your guests to take a COVID test the day before the wedding, and bring proof of a negative result along with them.
4. Encourage Face Coverings
Face coverings are not currently mandated at weddings, so it’s up to you whether you require your guests to wear them or not. Masks have been shown to be effective at reducing the spread of COVID, so it is a good idea to encourage them.
A good way of doing this is to ask your guests to bring a face covering on the wedding invitation, and have your ushers ask guests as they enter the venue to wear one. Everyone is allowed to remove their masks when seated or when eating/drinking. Of course, you may choose not to enforce masks for small children or those who are medically exempt.
5. Create a Socially Distanced Table Plan
As you’re designing your wedding breakfast table plan, it may be a good idea to keep social distancing in mind. For example:
1) Have smaller tables, with fewer guests sat at each one
2) Space the tables farther apart than they normally would be
3) Have one empty seat between each guest, so nobody is sitting too close together
Remember that the meal is a time when guests won’t be wearing face coverings, so it’s a particularly risky time for virus transmission.
6. Use Glass Markers
Before your guests arrive, place unique tags or markers on each drinking vessel to avoid the chance of your guests accidentally drinking from someone else’s glass. Doing so reduces the chance of spreading the virus.
You may want to add tags on chairs too to avoid changing seats. Occupying the same seat throughout the ceremony or reception limits the transmission of the coronavirus.
Have visible signs to remind guests to refrain from going from one table to another, and to pay attention to which glass is theirs.
7. Be Liberal with Hand Sanitiser
Place bottles of hand sanitiser (at least 70% alcohol) at entrances and exit points, on every table, and other high-traffic locations of the wedding venue so guests can conveniently use them when necessary. Have signs dotted around encouraging guests to wash and sanitize their hands regularly, particularly before and after eating.
Or better yet, use personalised hand sanitisers as extra wedding favours so guests can keep them on their person throughout the wedding and reception.
8. Shorten the Celebration
Longer wedding celebrations pose more of a risk compared to shorter celebrations. Being with someone who has COVID-19 for at least 15 minutes over a 24-hour period increases the risk of contamination.
UK weddings are usually an all-day event. You may wish to keep your reception a little shorter during the COVID-pandemic. For example, you could follow your ceremony with a sit-down meal, and skip the drinking and dancing portion of the evening.
9. Choose COVID-Safe Activities and Entertainment
Aside from ditching the singing and dancing, it is also worth mentioning to be mindful of the volume level of the music. Guests tend to speak loudly or lean closer to be able to communicate when there’s loud music or entertainment.
Also, avoid activities that will encourage guests to breach social distancing. Watch the alcohol intake so guests can still practice safety measures. And if possible, have your food served by wait staff instead of doing a buffet.
10. Communicate with Your Guests
Whatever COVID rules you choose to enforce or encourage at you wedding, it’s always best to prepare your guests in advance, so they know what to expect.
Include a brief list of rules along with your wedding invitations to advise guests on what precautions you’re taking on your big day. You can use a wedding note card for this.
Mention the limited number of guests and other health protocols like when to use and remove face masks, the use of hand sanitiser, and social distancing. You should also remind guests to bring proof of vaccination or a recent negative COVID test.
Order Your Wedding Stationery and Accessories with Bride and Groom Direct
When you’re ready to embark on the journey of planning your COVID-safe wedding, Bride and Groom Direct is a great place to start. We offer beautiful, coordinating wedding stationery ranges to suit a wide variety of wedding themes and colour schemes, from vintage to ultra-modern.
Our table plans are fully customisable and made to order, so if you’re considering creating a socially distanced seating chart, our experts can help you with this. We also offer a range of customisable signs such as this peg board with gold letters, perfect for reminding your guests of your safety precautions.
Furthermore, all of our wedding save the dates, invitations and note cards are fully customisable with your own wording – ideal for situations where you might want to inform your guests in advance of rules and restrictions at your wedding.
Head to our website today to browse our impressive range, and get started with your order! We offer a flat shipping rate, so the more you order the more you’ll save.