Encourage Social Distancing & Safety at your Wedding Reception

Challenges of planning a wedding during a pandemic are constantly changing. Rules and regulations are modified often and vary by specific locations. One thing is clear that for the remainder of 2020, and possibly even beginning 2021, weddings and events will continue to look and feel different from the norm. With help from  brides.com here are some ideas on how to encourage social distancing & safety at your wedding reception during the current pandemic climate.

If you want to celebrate now or near future, couples need to accept this as a fact and adjust. Couples and their guests will have to be okay with this and begin to plan with a more intimate and more personable wedding encounter in mind. Flexibility is key for couples for their wedding vision and guest list.  Having an open mind is a good thing. This is the time to adjust whatever original wedding dreams you may have had into a version that will work with our current pandemic environment.

Keeping safe, Provide Face Masks

First, a socially distant wedding begins with your guests wearing face masks. While some guests may choose to bring their own, couples should make them readily available. This way no one has an excuse for not wearing one. If you are inviting guests beyond your close and immediate family, consider conducting temperature checks and ordering custom masks for each guest to make all invitees feel comfortable.

Encourage Social Distancing Plan for Unique Seating Arrangements

Even with a smaller guest lists, be intentional with seating arrangements. For your ceremony, move to soft separated seating. Families are on sofas and banquettes that seat two to three people at a time of the same family. This will keep the groupings socially distanced. For the reception, place households together with no more than 6-8 people at socially distant tables. This way, families are amongst their loved ones and will feel more comfortable during the celebrations.

Communicate Expectations

Communication is important especially when encouraging guests to take specific precautions. Wearing a mask, sanitizing & washing their hands, and keeping socially distant.  It’s a good idea to over communicate with guests first through their invitations. Do this by explaining safety precautions in advance of the wedding. Establish clear signage at the wedding reception as well. Setting expectations in advance for your guests is crucial to keeping all guests and vendors safe and comfortable. This will encourage social distancing & safety at your wedding reception.

Create Safe Spaces For Guests

Advising your guests on any suggested safety measures is important. But give them room to follow your guidance. Get creative and clearly define safe spaces for all your guests. One example is to hire a chalk artist to create decorative markers six feet apart. It’s a fun way to designate where guests could safely stand to be socially distant. Another idea is to set up socially distant lounge furniture area for small groups of guests. You can create individual care kits to encourage your guests. Provide small bags with a note politely asking guests to respect some rules. These bags can include custom masks, hand sanitizer, and a small measuring tape reminding guests maintain that six feet apart. Guests will probably have a laugh with that. Some will actually take the tapes out at the reception and use them.

Serve a Plated Menu

The way dinner is served will influence the behavior of guests and add to the overall atmosphere. Plated meals are the simplest and most effective way to minimize guest and staff interaction. Also create less issues when it comes to the wedding meals. This is opposed to a buffet where your guests have to get up, mingle, and line up at buffet station lines. If a couple prefers family style platters or buffet-style services, it is recommended to enlist the help of catering staff.  Self-service is no longer an option with pandemic low touch regulations. In lieu of passed hors d’oeuvres venues employed new catering strategies of custom plating hors d’oeuvres. Served by masked and gloved chefs at custom-built counters made extra safe by using plexiglass screens. This helps to minimize food handling by all. A small plate beautifully arranged and customized by the server based on what each guest wants to taste will make them feel special.

Limit Trips to the Bar

Just as caterers & venues are reimagining dinner plating, they are reinventing how drinks are served. The bar is usually one of the most crowded  spots at a wedding. Caterers are implementing table side beverage service by a masked attendant with gloves. To reduce contact, they are assigned to service a single table.  The result, staff can serve drinks directly at a table instead of guests approaching a bar and standing in line. Fresh glasses are used for each drink served is a big plus. If couples don’t have the budget for extra beverage staff, another option is to serve sealed carafes in various shapes with different drinks at each table.

Mail Favors To Guests

In order to avoid the handling of wedding favors at your reception, have your favor company mail your wedding favors. They can go directly to your guests who attend and to those who couldn’t attend. You can also send virtual guests something so that they feel included in the wedding. A wedding program or a slice of cake or dessert would be some suggestions.

Encourage social distancing & safety at your wedding reception

In conclusion, while many traditions exist for weddings, it’s important to keep an open mind on what is and isn’t safe in the current pandemic climate. Rethink traditions that encourage close personal contact like receiving lines. While some social distancing practices may be unfamiliar—that doesn’t mean you shouldn’t welcome the new, especially when gathering with your closest family & friends. This is the best time to be creative. We’re seeing a different style of celebrations that we haven’t seen before. Don’t miss the opportunity to be creative during these times!