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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: Vendor & Guest Communication – Before & During Your Wedding

Here you were, blissfully in love, planning your dream wedding and an international pandemic struck derailing your plans! Pfff, rude! 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 this time. Up first, vendor & guest communication brought to you by, Megan of Clutch Events!

If you have a planner, work closely with them on rescheduling your wedding! If they were originally hired for a ‘day of’ package or a ‘partial plan’ package and rescheduling your wedding is outside of the scope you hired them for, consider adding hours to their services to help you with the postponement so you don’t have to do it on your own! If you do not have a planner, these are the steps you should follow to reschedule your wedding.

1. Email/call your venue to get a list of their available dates. *If you are open to other days of the week than Saturday, the likelihood of getting your preferred month will dramatically increase!! And trust us, your guests will totally understand if your wedding is moved to a Friday. Everyone will have just as much fun celebrating you, we promise!!

2. Reach out to your VIP family members & besties to get their availability. Yes, it is unfortunate if your second cousin twice removed cannot make all the options work, but as long as your parents, siblings and maid of honor & best man can come, that date should be considered. Try to get at least three date options that you can send to your vendor team!

3. Email/call your vendors with the new date options and ask them to let you know all of the dates that currently work for them. The date with the most availability, is your new date! To help you keep track, we suggest sending them a Doodle poll or making an excel spreadsheet of the dates and vendors. And once the new date is selected, email them again confirming the new date so they can release any other dates they may have been holding for you! From there, your vendors will send you an addendum to your contract which will lay out the terms of moving your event.

Now that you have officially moved your date with your vendors, it is time notify your guests! Gaaah, you spent all of this money on beautiful invitations or a super cute save the date and now you need to do it again! What do you do? First and foremost, your guests understand that this is a really tough time, they are going through the pandemic as well and they do not expect you to re create a gorgeous letterpress invitation! Cut yourself some slack! As long as you notify guests and can get the correct RSVP information for the new date, you will be set!! With that said, there are a lot of fun options out there!!

Email: If you have email addresses for your guests, great! An email message is the quickest way to notify them of the postponement! If you created your invitations with a design firm like Perfect Press or Paper Fling, they are able to take your invitation design (at minimum fonts/colors) and create a JPEG that you can embed in the body of your email so that the design is cohesive to your invitations and notifies guests of the new date.

If you aren’t ready to accept new RSVP’s yet, let guests roughly know they will receive a new RSVP card and if it will be via email or in the mail.

Paper: You should send a postponement card in the mail if you do not have email addresses for everyone.  A fantastic Seattle designer, Holly of Sablewood Paper Company, has a postponement section on her online shop where you can order beautiful, yet affordable, announcements! Her motto is ‘bad news doesn’t have to be ugly…or expensive’ and we love that!!

Minted and other online shops via Etsy are also offering some fun options!! You can keep the message classy or have a bit of fun with it! Want a discount on Minted? Use the Pink Blossom Evens code to save when you check out, WEDPLPINKBLOSSOM!!

Important! You must also update your website! There are a few pages that need to be edited on your wedding website to reflect the new date:

1. First write a short & sweet, standout message on your home page letting guests know that the date has been postponed! Here is a sample message you can copy/paste:

Due to the current COVID-19 advisories at both the State and Federal level, we are making the very hard but necessary decision to postpone our wedding celebration.  We very much look forward to celebrating with you on our new date of ‘XYZ’.  We will be making regular updates to this website to keep everyone in the loop on the new and improved plan. We love all of you and want everyone to stay safe and healthy!

2. Update the events page dates. Make sure to edit your rehearsal dinner and post wedding brunch dates if they are listed on your site as well!

3. Hotel blocks – Tell guests that their existing reservations have been cancelled and that new reservations will need to be made if you can attend the new date. *The hotel should automatically cancel their reservations once they reschedule your room block, but please confirm that!
*If the rate has changed at any of your properties, note the price change!

4. RSVP page – If you are now asking guests to RSVP online, make sure you activate the RSVP page to collect guest responses!! If you were currently using the RSVP function, you will either need to clear it out and begin again or ask the guests to notify you they have reconfirmed.

Fast forward to your wedding day, what needs to be changed in regard to communicating with your guests? Our 4th blog post in the series will be all about health & safety measures at your event, so please tune in for more details next week, but for this post, we are focusing on communication/signage!

The welcome sign is where we first want to focus! Usually this simply states a beautifully scripted ‘welcome’ along with the couple’s names, date and hashtag. We are encouraging you to ‘use your words’ here to get a safety message across to your guests.  Explaining your wishes from the start will help everyone feel safe and comfortable!! Here is an example from the fantastic, Pomp & Revel who we often go to for day of signage.

Your officiant is the first person to set the tone and while we realize you don’t want to start your ceremony talking about COVID-19, it is a great opportunity to have him/her reiteration the “let’s celebrate safely” message to your guests! This could be before the wedding starts when guests are asked to silence their phones OR after you have been pronounced and are down the aisle – when they welcome guests to move to cocktail hour.

Having cute, small signs at the bar, in the bathroom and on cocktail tables reminding guests to wash their hands isn’t what a bride always dreamed of, we get it, but guests will appreciate that you are making an effort to keep them safe!

The above samples were also designed by the team at Pomp & Revel. They can create beautiful signage in acrylic, wood, slate, faux-leather & metal in an array of colors, sizes and designs! We highly recommend utilizing their help to get the word out to your guests!

Utilize your DJ or band emcee!! They are naturals on the microphone and can talk to your guests in a friendly way, “we are so excited to be together in person!! To make sure we can continue to gather with one another (couples names) hope you will take precautions to respect everyone’s space while still have a fantastic time!”…

We hope you found these steps and tips helpful!! Tune in on May 7th for our next blog post from the Perfectly Posh Events Team about ways you can keep your vendor team even with your reduced guest count!