Posts Tagged: covid19 wedding

COVID-19 Blog Series: What Safety Measures You Need to Incorporate at Your 2020 Wedding

Seattle Wedding Planners Pink Blossom Events, Clutch Events, Perfectly Posh Events and New Creations Wedding Design & Coordination have teamed up to bring you a 4 Part Blog Series covering COVID-19 and planning your wedding during these unprecedented times. To end the series your planning pros at Pink Blossom Events cover what safety measures you need to incorporate at your 2020 wedding. 

After months of planning, watching endless news reports on the Pandemic and most likely adjusting your guest size while you sample your wedding wines once more to make sure they are “just right,” your wedding day is a few months away and you just want to celebrate! We hear you!

While we wish we could just push it aside, we know the worries of Coronavirus are in the back of your mind. Restrictions and guidelines from the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention, the Federal Government and our Washington State Governor are continuing to change and will play a part of your wedding day. Luckily, your wedding planner and vendor team have been working behind the scenes collaborating these last few months establishing new safety measures and protocols as we work towards the opening of events. We are here for you!

To help ease your mind we have pulled together a list of ways to ensure your event is safe for you and your guests.

Note: We are not certified CDC health experts. Our ideas are suggestions based on current guidelines and our years of experience. We know these may adjust down the road as guidelines change however, we, your wedding planner and vendor team, are here to support you and make it the best day ever!

{Photo Credit Amelia Soper Photography}

Getting Ready
Pop the bubbly, it’s the morning of your wedding! While you are getting ready with your nearest and dearest know your beauty team will have your health in mind. As Megan, owner of OffWhite Makeup & Beauty, said “before COVID-19 we had to protect our clients against things like MRSA, STAPH, Herpes, pink eye, and other contagious bugs. Sterile practices have and always will be very important to us. The additional steps we will take are to wear gloves and a face mask.” Hair and makeup should be the start of a beautiful day! {Photo Credit Amelia Soper Photography}

Keeping Things Clean
Guests arrive at your wedding via self-parking, valet or shuttle service and the first thing they do is open the door, place a card or gift on the gift table, remove their coat and sign your guestbook. How do you keep those things clean? Plan ahead is our motto!{Photo Credit Amelia Soper Photography}

A Friendly Welcome!
Working with Coat Check Complete we have created a number of services that will keep guests at ease as well as have their safety in mind. From Guest Arrival Attendants, a modified version of their Coat Check service to a Self-Serve Coat Check to Bathroom Attendants, the extra staff will ensure your loved ones are in the clear!

~Upon Guest Arrival – attendants will open and close doors so less guests are touching door handles. They are also available to direct friends and family, saving Aunt Marge from the task, and if needed can take temperatures of guests upon arrival.

~ Self-Serve Coat Check – Coat Check Complete can set up a “self-serve” coat check where guests hang their own coats and take a coat check number. At the end of the evening, party goers will pick up their own coat, then show the staff member their tag number and corresponding number on the hanger with the coat to leave.

~ Bathroom Attendants – from opening and closing doors for guests to wiping down counters at least twice per hour (or more according to need/guidelines) to continuously wiping down door handles of stalls and the door to the bathroom as well as ensuring supplies are well stocked. We wish this service was mandatory before COVID-19! They can even act as your mother and remind guests to wash their hands for 20 seconds!

Hand Sanitizers all Around!
In Part 1 of our blog series Clutch Events worked with Pomp & Revel to create custom hand sanitizers that are just too cute not to use. Companies such as CORT Party Rental are offering hand sanitizing stations. We highly recommend having hand sanitizing stations and individual sanitizers available throughout your venue. And remember to have those hand sanitizing bottles or wipes at each place setting during dinner.
hand sanitizer for weddings hand sanitizer stations for weddings

Custom Masks for Everyone!
Who says safety can’t be in style? Companies such as BBJ Linen are offering custom face coverings (aka masks) that can be personalized to each event. From using a fabric that matches your décor to a witty saying, the sky is the limit! These can be placed at the entry to your event as guests arrive for easy grabbing and then later moved to a high traffic area like the bar or restrooms. face covering masks in cute patterns

No Contact Greetings
Hugs with your friends and family may be in the past but blowing a kiss, wave or an air hug are always okay! Check out sign from Post 1 with ideas on what to communicate to your loved ones.

Minimal Touch Guestbook
Move over polaroid cameras, pens and hello Voast! This minimal touch guestbook is the first video toast booth that asks questions to capture words, wisdom and stories from the people who love you most. Plus, they have rolled out The Virtual Voast in response to COVID-19. Now, even guests who can’t make it can still leave you a heartfelt toast. The Virtual Voast can stand alone or be paired with the Voast booth. It makes sure everyone who can’t be at the event, has a way to spread the love on your important day.

Creative Seating!
Working with your wedding planner, venue and catering team you will be able to create the best seating arrangements for your ceremony and reception based on your venue and guest count. In both the ceremony and during dinner we recommend grouping people by households and creating more space in between tables and seating vignettes. For the ceremony families in the same household may be seated close together but other guests may want to be a bit further apart. Spacing chairs farther apart or adding in additional aisles (ie. ceremony in the round) will help your guests focus on the two of you and not who is sitting nearby. seating in the round for wedding {Photo Credit Char Beck}

For cocktail hour spacing out cocktail tables to keep guests socially distanced and creating multiple lounge areas for intimate groups will keep guests apart while together. cocktail tables socially distancing {Photo Credit Rachel Birkhofer Photography}

Seating Charts will be necessary for dinner as you will want to group people by households. Guest size per tables will need to be adjusted. For example, instead of eight people at a sixty-inch round, think five, unless they are all from the same household. Using tools such as All Seated or working with you wedding planner you can create layouts that allow tables to be placed six feet apart for social distancing. It may take a little work but it will be well worth it come day of!

Catering
For years, catering companies have had a high standard in safety and cleanliness both behind the scenes and in front of the guests. Now more than ever food and beverage service will have the most rigorous regulations. Speaking with Kaspars Catering they have created a COVID-19 Handbook which outlines health and safety measures they are implementing all catering events. The handbook details that “the health and safety of our customers, communities and employees are our primary concern.” From back of the house to front of the house, this handbook will guide them and their community through each event.

Cocktail Hour Apps!
Tray passed appetizers and elaborate cheese boards may be on hold but individual items (Martha Stewart made popular years ago) and Small Plate Stations with an attendant are encouraged!

What About the Drinks?
Caterers such as City Catering Company and Kaspars Catering are offering bottled cocktails and CORT Party Rental has been working behind the scenes on ways we can be safe at the bar, but still have fun in an attractive way! They are rolling out custom service dividers (aka “sneeze guards”) that can be placed on bars to allow distance between the bartender and guests. bottled cocktails for weddings city catering copany {Photo Credit City Catering Company}

Dinner Service
Individually plated meals and entrees being covered will be your best friend! Unless covered, pre-plated salads will be a thing of the past and bread baskets will be replaced with individually served rolls. Family-Style service, while one of our absolute favorites will be on hold for now. Buffets are an option but these will come with service dividers and an attendant to serve your guests vs self-serving. safely deliviering covered meals for weddings {Photo Credit Kristen Honeycutt Photo Co.}

Incorporating elevated cloches can serve double duty at each place setting for your dinner. We have also been working with rental companies such as CORT Party Rental on elevated plate covers. stylish elevated plate covers for weddings during a pandemic
{source}

As Shelby Sewell, owner of Foodz Catering mentions, “Right now and until we have a vaccine against COVID we will be looking at ways to serve food in a safe way at events. This will essentially consist of some type of barrier to keep menu items ‘safe’ by staying covered as long as possible during the process of serving. That’s the analytical way of looking at it but how we do this can be one of many ways! Many planners are looking at plated meals as a way to keep people safe since the open buffet that uses serving utensils shared by all your guests would be a cross-contamination nightmare. Having a gloved, masked server behind a plexiglas barrier would be a safe way to serve guests but private events like weddings would not likely welcome “the lunch lady” look at their wedding!  Even a plated service may need additional barriers such as food covers.  The ones used in today’s market are industrial in nature as currently they are used for the back of house preparations. So, it’s a good idea but we, at Foodz, like to be more creative. We would rather see guests be served with menu items served under a glass cloche or one of our favorites, the tagine.” safely serving food in a tagine for wedding {Source}

“The tagine has many colors and variable shapes so it could be woven into a couple’s decor. We love the surprise effect when the cover is removed. We want to add to your experience and this is one way to accomplish that task.”

Other options for an experiential meal from Foodz Catering include “a hybrid on a buffet, a Bento Box theme where guests would use a wooden tray and choose items that are individually packaged. This would be a great way to accommodate allergies and food preferences” as well as “a Tiffin Box that was invented for workers in India and spread across Asia. They can be plain and branded or very colorful. Most are 3 stacks high and are often insulated so a hot meal would stay hot.”

Food can still be delicious and creative!

Time to Party!
The moment you’ve been waiting for, the dance floor! Open up the dance floor beyond the standard 16×16’ or 20×20’ dance floor. The more space the better! X marks the spot, or in this case your spot on the dance floor! For indoor dance floors, a notation on the floor may help those partygoers spaced.

If there is an option for outdoor dancing (taking into consideration noise ordinances) get outside! While glow sticks have been popular in the past, we vote glow in the dark face masks to come out during dancing! bride and groom dancing outside {Photo Credit Sullivan & Sullivan}

Capturing It All!
In addition to your photographer have you considered Live Streaming your ceremony to loved ones who are staying at home be a part of the ceremony and wedding day? Numerous videography companies, in addition to LightSmiths, have created Live-Streaming Ceremony Services, allowing everyone to stay included. You will need a venue-provided wifi or LAN connection however companies such as LightSmiths can provide a 4G hotspot for an extra fee. (Note from LightSmiths: “what it is not: It is not a package designed to replace or compete with the traditional videography package”)

Curious how a service like this works from LightSmiths? “Multiple sources are streamed/recorded at one time. One operator seamlessly switches between cameras live, for the optimum viewing angle and action; this live feed is sent out to the desired streaming source, either YouTube or Facebook. You can choose an invite-only guest list to stream it to, so it is not sent out for the world at large to see. All sources are simultaneously recorded, along with any audio input from your DJ, mics on your officiant, time-coded, and dumped down to a master recording on a SDCARD that you get to replay.”

We hope you are able to incorporate one or many of our recommended safety tips to ensure your wedding will be as safe and enjoyable as possible!! COVID-19 may cause changes on your wedding but we know Love, Laughter and a Happily Ever After will always be true! We can’t wait for all the celebrations to come!

Cheers to Safety!

BreeAnn Gale
Pink Blossom Events

And thank you for following along in our 4 Part Blog Series covering COVID-19 and planning your wedding during these unprecedented times We hope you found the information valuable and were able to get some great tips along the way!!

Post 1: Vendor & Guest Communication – Before & During Your Wedding by Clutch Events
Post 2: How to Keep Your Vendor Team for a Smaller Wedding by Perfectly Posh Events
Post 3: Planning Your Wedding During COVID-19 by New Creations Weddings

COVID-19 Blog Series: How to Keep Your Vendor Team with a Smaller Wedding

Seattle Wedding Planners Pink Blossom Events, Clutch Events, Perfectly Posh Events and New Creations Wedding Design & Coordination have teamed up to bring you a 4-Part Blog Series covering COVID-19 and planning your wedding during these unprecedented times. Today, the gals over at Perfectly Posh Events are sharing some ideas to keep your vendor team with a smaller wedding.

We know the entire wedding landscape has either come to a swift halt or will need to be recalibrated to operate in the temporary “normal” we are all trying to navigate. This is especially true for couples who have finished planning their wedding and are just waiting to enjoy their big day. Couples are left wondering, “What next? Where do we go from here? What about all the contracts we’ve signed with our team of vendors?” For some, the best choice is to postpone their wedding and try to move as many of their vendors to that new date. Others may carry on for various reasons, but their wedding may look different than what they had hoped, and it might be significantly smaller than what they had originally planned. Regardless of your decision, keeping your vendor team intact will make Plan B that much easier. Your thought out plans will still be able to have the same aesthetic and vibe. Plus keeping your vendor team will likely be helping in keeping a small local business afloat during these uncertain times.

If you have chosen to downsize your wedding, before you cancel or reduce services with a vendor that you think no longer applies to your special day, try speaking to your vendor and ask them if they can be flexible and creative in their offerings to you. While it may not seem practical to have them provide what you paid for originally, there are creative options that may make more sense for a smaller wedding scenario that could come close to the original amount that you booked the vendor for. Let’s get creative & have conversations before asking for refunds – you might find that in the end you are able to create a very memorable and meaningful celebration for your nearest and dearest!

Here’s a few examples of how you can get creative with keeping your vendor team if you change to a small wedding due to COVID-19:

Photographer: You’ve booked your photographer for 8 hours of wedding coverage. However, you’ve decided to elope with just doing a ceremony this year – so having 8 hours of coverage isn’t really necessary now. Consider asking your photographer if they’d be open to splitting their package to provide 4-6 hours of wedding coverage and allow a 2-4-hour credit further down the road, for an anniversary shoot, a holiday card shoot, family session or a baby announcement, you name it! Just be sure to not expect the additional shoot be to scheduled on a weekend – with a limited number of weekends available each year the photographer likely will not be able to reserve time on two weekend dates with a split package.

Videographer: In that same vein, the same may be true with your videographer! Typically, they offer similar hourly structuring as their photographer counterparts. So the same approach to reducing or splitting hours may be an option to run by them!

We’re also hearing of some of our videographer friends including a longer video edit of the hours they could not use on the wedding day, in hopes it brings more value to the couples’ memory log. From there, you can share that video with guests that couldn’t make it!

Hair & Makeup: Having a smaller wedding might mean that you have decided to not have a wedding party, so you may have a few empty slots in your hair & makeup booking. Consider passing on those time slots to your immediate family who will be attending the wedding and treat them to a pampering! If this doesn’t make sense to your situation, it might also be worth asking your stylist if there’s an option to rollover the surplus of services as a credit towards another event in the future, such as a special work function, a wedding or baby shower, a family photo shoot, etc.

Music & Entertainment: You hired a string quartet to play for your ceremony. If it feels weird to have a string quartet while you walk down a much smaller aisle with less guests in attendance, consider asking them to play during your intimate dinner after the ceremony. Live music during dinner really elevates the dining experience for guests! The same goes for reception music! If you hired a band to play for the dancing portion of the reception, consider asking them what creative suggestions they can offer to enhance your guest experience! Depending on how you feel, it might make sense to have them play throughout the remainder of the evening as well.

Our DJ friends over at Bamboo Beats provided the following suggestion for keeping your DJ as part of the vendor line-up:

We have done many weddings that are less than 50 people and feel that music is an amazing way to create a calming and harmonious mood for the ceremony and dinner even if there may not be any dancing. 

We can provide music from very safe distances and in multiple locations, with only one person on-site if needed to keep your vendor count low. We will be providing safety protocols like safe distancing and using disposable covers for our microphones during the ceremony and speeches to keep everyone safe.

Just because you are having a smaller guest count, that doesn’t necessarily mean you can’t have a string quartet play at your ceremony or a DJ playing all evening. Pre-pandemic, we have planned many events that have had a DJ on hand. We also planned a wedding with 16 guests and the couple still opted to have a string quartet play during their ceremony. It was lovely and did not feel out of place at all!

[Photo Credit | Adrian Wangz Photography]

Caterer: With a smaller guest count, this sometimes means you can splurge a bit more and spoil your guests, because there just aren’t as many to accommodate. Many of our awesome caterers are willing to be flexible with their minimums, but if you’re having a hard time hitting their minimum still, ask your caterers for some creative options with the menu. Maybe an amuse bouche, mid-course palette cleanser or late-night snack!? Or, go big or go home, and look into a multi-coursed dining experience for your intimate guest list. Throw in a wine pairing, and you’ve got one of our favorite ways to celebrate – eating, drinking, and being married!

If you’ve hired a specialty food or beverage caterer, such as an espresso cart or a hot dog stand for a late night snack, you can consider using their service for another event or ask about reducing the guest count to hit their minimum. We have a wedding later this summer who downside to 20 guests and is using both the Espresso Elegance and Dante’s Inferno because they were so excited about it already, why take that away? We’ve also seen some couples donate these specialty food & beverage services to those who are working on the front lines – hospitals, food banks, grocery store workers, school lunch distributors, etc. If you are unable to use a service, donating it is a great way to give back with your wedding!

Dessert: You’ve ordered an army of desserts for a sweets bar for 150 people through your baker. But now your guest count is 20 people. Ask your baker to come up with some options that can get you close to the original value without having a ridiculous amount of dessert sitting out.

Some examples:

~Send each guest home with a midnight snack of desserts different than what was served at the wedding – maybe it’s a box of macarons, salted caramels, mini tarts, or a custom sugar cookie with your monogram. Package it up nicely with a silk ribbon and you’ll end the night on a sweet note for your guests!

~Raise the bar at your intimate reception and incorporate the desserts in your decor in a lavish way that you may not have been able to do before with a 150 person wedding. Those Pinterest ideas that you loved but couldn’t fit in the budget for a 150 person wedding? They suddenly are doable for a 30 person wedding! For example, you could have miniature individual cakes at each guests’ place setting with their name as the cake topper to serve as the place card – like this cake here by Honey Crumb Cake Studio and custom topper by Pomp & Revel

[Photo Credit | Kristen Honeycutt Photography]

~Want to include your friends & family who won’t be able to attend in person but will be watching the festivities virtually? Send your guests who are celebrating from afar a dessert box, cookie, or “cake cup” in the mail with a mini bottle of champagne and note telling them how much you care about them. Our friends over at Prive Events suggested this great idea!!

~If you can’t find a way to incorporate the dessert into your wedding day (there is only so much sugar that one can consume after-all) you can ask the baker if they would covert the remaining amount not spent on desserts to be credited towards a future purchase from the bakery. This could be used for an anniversary cake, a gender reveal cake if you have a baby, a birthday cake, and so much more!

Flowers: What are you going to do with enough flowers for 20 centerpieces if you only need enough for one long table that will seat 18 people? Similar to the dessert ideas above, you can first start by upgrading your design and doing the things that maybe you weren’t able to do when your floral budget was spread out over 20 centerpieces. Or you maybe able to have a small arrangement delivered to your local family members and friends who are unable to attend in-person. Or you can ask the florist for a credit towards future flower orders – Mother’s Day, birthdays, “thinking of you” flowers, future baby showers, monthly flower arrangement for your first year of marriage, etc.

Rentals: This is one of those variable costs that you can reduce easily if your guest count becomes suddenly much smaller. But, since you’re not needing to pay for 150 dinner forks and 150 dinner knives, consider upgrading your rentals for your smaller wedding that maybe you couldn’t afford when your guest count was larger. Get the fancy chair you wanted but couldn’t justify. Upgrade your table linens to a luxurious fabric or pattern. Add in those chargers you were eyeing! Ask your planner or reach out yourself to our amazing local rental companies (shout out to our amazing friends at CORT, Pedersen’s and Alexander for being so great!) and see all the pretty things that you could now bring into your wedding design on a smaller scale.

[Photo Credit | Kristen Honeycutt Photography]

We understand some things may not make sense to keep no matter how creative you get but consider asking if that service can be saved/credited for another event like a holiday party. Or you can ask about donating that service to a local charity who can use it for their annual fundraising event or other purpose. There are countless ways to be creative and generous!

We hope this has helped to spur some creative ideas for you! If you’re still unsure of how to utilize your vendor, please just open up the conversation with them. And if you have a wedding planner, they should be able to help you brainstorm some creative ideas as well! And thank you for considering keeping your vendor team – by continuing to pay your vendors you are helping a local small business and likely helping that vendor take care of their family during this very uncertain time for our industry.

Stay tuned for two more blog posts in this series next week:

~May 12th: Wedding Planning Tasks You Can Be Working on Now.

~May 14th: What Safety Measures You Need to Incorporate at Your 2020 Wedding.

And if you missed the first post on communicating to your wedding guests and vendors by the wonderful Megan from Clutch Events, check it out here.