10 Ways to Have a COVID Wedding

Going into day one billion of pandemic life, weddings are beginning to take off again! Part of me is so excited to have work again, but after talking to several couples over the last couple months, no one knows how to have a COVID wedding. This is uncharted territory for everyone and there's a very blurry line between trying to have your dream wedding and keeping everyone safe.

No one wants to look back on their pictures and, instead of seeing smiling faces, they see masks. While masks can help prevent the spread, they're not always the answer to still having the wedding of your dreams! We all know it's basically impossible to social distance during a wedding, so here are 10 ways to have a COVID wedding while still trying to have a normal wedding day!

Liberty Memorial Kansas City wedding portraits

1. Limit those in the getting ready room

Getting ready rooms are often small and crowded, so consider limiting those around you to just your bridesmaids and mom. During a typical wedding day, so many people are going in and out of the room, which could lead to more exposure. Instead, consider everyone who is not currently having their hair or makeup done wait outside or in a second larger room.

As an alternative to having all your bridesmaids help you get ready, consider a bridesmaid first look! Bridesmaid first looks will always be one of my favorite moments because it allows you to have that alone time with your mom and then share a special moment with all your bridesmaids after you're all ready and looking gorgeous!

Topeka Catholic wedding ceremony

2. Suggest self-quarantine

I know this is super hard to enforce, but strongly urge your close friends and family members (including you two) to self-quarantine two weeks before your wedding. I've heard so many horror stories of brides testing positive a couple days before her wedding and then having to cancel everything. I've also heard of a maid of honor who went to a party a week earlier and was exposed, forcing the bride to also be exposed. The last thing you want to worry about is a potential outbreak stemming from your wedding day! If anyone has a fever leading up to the day or could have possibly been exposed, please insist they don't attend! The best way to avoid any potential outbreak is to request a self-quarantine from anyone who needs to be present!

Wyandotte County Lake Engagement

3. Skip the receiving line

Personally, I'm not a fan of receiving lines, but a lot of couples want to personally hug and thank every guest who attends. Instead of a receiving line, consider making time during your reception to go table-to-table and thank every table. This will give you time to still greet every guest without being in their bubble.

Topeka Kansas wedding

4. Talk to family/friends about comfort level

I've had two COVID weddings so far and they were both handled very differently. At the first one, all friends and family were comfortable posing close to each other. At the second one, several family members wanted to stay social distant. Either option is very doable! Just have an honest conversation with those in your wedding party and family about how they feel! If they want to take socially distant portraits, make sure your photographer is aware before asking them to pose close to each other. You can still have beautiful portraits while maintaining distance!

5. Live stream the ceremony

I'll be honest here. Even if your wedding is going full steam ahead, there's a very real possibility some of your guests will not feel comfortable attending! Instead of making them feel like they're missing out, consider live streaming the ceremony. A lot of videographers are offering this option. If you don't have a videographer, set up a phone on a tripod connected to Zoom. Make sure to send out the link and everyone can still feel present without personally being there!

I've also seen it where non-present guests recorded a short message for the couple that was played during the reception. This is a great way to include everyone, regardless of physical presence.

6. Assign table numbers by family

Table numbers seem to be phased out at many weddings, but instead of exposing multiple families to each other, spread out the tables a bit and assign numbers based on families. Also, consider having sweetheart-style tables that fit 2-3 guests as opposed to larger tables with 8-10 guests sharing space.

7. Request masks at the reception

Masks are hard to enforce and no one is comfortable wearing them, but the most likely time for the virus to spread is during open dance. If you still want to have a traditional dance floor, request guests to wear masks when they are not consuming food! They can still have an awesome time while keeping their germs to themselves! Alternatively, if you don't want to require masks, consider asking your DJ to not play group dance songs and avoid the dollar dance. This will limit the amount of people on the dance floor at one time.

8. Keep the doors open

Lack of air flow is one of the most common reasons the virus spreads! If your reception is indoors, keep all the doors open so guests can circle in and out and the air can circulate. I've also seen venues providing ozone machines to help the airflow even more! Ask your venue what they are doing to keep the air moving!

Wedding sunset photos at Mildale Farm overlooking the lake

9. Consider a smaller exit

During the exit, all your guests are in close proximity. Instead of opting to skip the exit, consider a smaller fake exit with just your wedding party and family. Keep it to a group of 10 or less so you can still get those awesome sparkler photos without having all your guests on top of each other!

Smoke bomb wedding exit

10. Discuss the option of postponing

I really hate suggesting this option, but if you are getting married in 2020, there's a strong chance your wedding won't look like you imagined! If you want to have a normal wedding day, the best option would be to hold off. If you choose to get married this year, your wedding may look a little different, but it will still be amazing! Both of the COVID weddings I've photographed so far were incredible and felt as normal as they could during this unprecedented time.

Regardless of what you decide to do, your wedding will be perfect! Just be sure to do everything in your power to keep your guests and vendors safe! Everyone loves you and will understand any decision you make regarding your COVID wedding!

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Elizabeth is a Kansas City wedding photographer who specializes in bright and airy images.

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