Posts Tagged: wedding planning tips

Wedding Planning During a Pandemic

Seattle Wedding Planners Pink Blossom EventsClutch Events, and New Creations Wedding Design & Coordination have teamed up to share what you need to know as you finalize wedding plans for the summer ahead. Pandemic or not, your wedding is going to be a celebration of a lifetime and we’re here to help! 

With vaccinations rolling we are feeling cautiously optimistic that the end of the pandemic is near. As much as we’d like to ignore the never-ending restrictions and guidelines from the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention and our Washington State Governor there is a good chance they will play a part of your wedding day. As of today most counties in Washington State are in Phase 3 and can expect the following guidelines:

Masks 

Masks (aka face coverings) are required at all times unless when eating or drinking. Make it fun and outfit your wedding party and crowd!
*Mask exceptions are listed below

Photo by Amelia Soper Photography.  Planning by Pink Blossom Events.

Indoors

Maximum capacity of 400 or 50% capacity (not including vendors), whichever is less, so long as six feet of physical distancing is maintained between groups. Table size maximum of 10. If food or drinks are served, eating and drinking requirements apply. 

Outdoors

Maximum capacity of 400 (not including vendors), so long as six feet of physical distancing is maintained between groups (groups of 15 maximum). If food or drinks are served, eating and drinking requirements apply.

Ceremony

We recommend sitting groups of 15 on either side of the aisle. Think a traditional wedding setting (ie. 3 rows of 5 people) with a 6’ space between the next grouping of 15 (ie. 3 rows of 5 people).  

Photo by Jenny Wohrle.  Planning by Clutch Events.

Cocktail Hour

While mingling is not officially allowed just yet cocktail hour can happen, and ideas are everywhere! Assigning guests their groups (up to 10) at the beginning of cocktail hour will allow them to enjoy cocktail hour safely and transition to dinner that same group of people. Think comfy seating and a mix of tables to allow guests to sit for eating and drink and participate in allowable entertainment activities such as lawn games! 

Photo by Amelia Soper Photography.  Planning by Pink Blossom Events.

Dancing

Dancing is allowed! A maximum of 10 per person per dance floor and consists of your same table group and all must wear masks. Who says you can’t have multiple dance floors? 

In addition, the following dances are expressly allowed: the couple’s first dance and the parent dances. For these specifically allowed dances, only one pair may dance at a time, both must be wearing masks (unless they are part of the same household). 

Exemption on Face Coverings – Yay!

~Wedding couples are exempted from the face covering and six feet physical distancing requirement from each other during the ceremony so long as they maintain six feet of physical distance from all other persons. 

~The officiant is also exempted provided six feet social distance can be maintained. 

~The officiant, family members, and wedding party are also exempted for posed photographs provided that the face covering is removed only briefly at the direction of the photographer to take the photo. 

~Face covering must be reapplied immediately after the photo is taken.

Follow this link for the most up to date guidelines outlining Phases 1-3 published 3.23.21. 

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!

Communicating Regulations with Your Guests! 

Between evolving regulations, updated county phases and guests traveling from all over the country with their own local rules, it is important to make sure everyone is on the same page and aware of the safety guidelines at your wedding! 

Here are some tips to ensure you properly communicate the safety guidelines and regulations for your county!

~Double check the current regulations so you communicate the most update to date rules. A great reference is the WSWEA regulations page!  We also recommend confirming these rules with your venue and vendor team, so everyone working your wedding is on the same page!

~When sending out your wedding invitations, make sure to note on your details card that your wedding website will include up to date COVID-19 restrictions and make sure to list the URL. We suggest having a dedicated tab on your website where you can outline the rules that guests will need to follow.

~Incorporate the major rules into your welcome signage for your wedding so that guests can see them as they enter the venue for the first time. Your vendor team will be happy to remind guests of the rules if they aren’t following them correctly, but everyone will be appreciative if you alert them in advance!   

~Write a quick addition for your officiant to read during the ceremony! It is the perfect quiet moment to have the rules listed out so that it takes away the pressure from you during the reception.  Here is a quick example:

“On behalf of the couple, their families and the team of vendors here today, I would like to quickly talk through the safety measures to ensure we all have a great time while we celebrate together. Please keep your masks on unless you are eating and drinking. If you get up from your dinner table to use the restroom or go through the chefs’ stations, please remember to wear your mask.

Please keep in your group of ten while enjoying cocktail hour, the photobooth and on the dancefloor. 

I will be releasing you by rows so that we can avoid a crowd while moving to cocktail hour where there will be tray passed drinks and appetizers brought to your tables. The staff will do their best to refill your drinks, but if you go to the bar and there is someone in front of you, please remember to keep six feet of space between you.   

We have hand sanitizer throughout the venue, so please sanitize often.

We realize this may not be the traditional wedding we planned for, but we are so excited that we are able to still celebrate together. We really appreciate you keeping everyone’s comfort level and safety in mind! 

We hope these communication tips allow you to be more present in the moment of your wedding day to thoroughly enjoy yourselves!!”

Photo by Jenny Wohrle.  Planning by Clutch Events.

Keeping Your Wedding Vendors! 

We as a collective wedding vendor and venue community are forever grateful to our couples for hanging in there as we’ve rode this pandemic rollercoaster right alongside you.  We are excited for the opportunity to safely celebrate with you and your families on your wedding day.  

We all had some amazing intimate weddings in 2020 and are thrilled that weddings are extremely close to ‘normal’ given the current climate. We know what you might be thinking, “After reading these dang rules, should I just cancel my plans and host the wedding in my back yard so I don’t have to follow the rules?

We get it.  It’s a lot to navigate.  However, this is what wedding vendors do best- we “pivot” and navigate on a daily basis.  If any group of people were built to handle the ever-changing regulations, it’s us. 

Having your wedding at home might sound easier, but not only will it be a huge logistical undertaking turning a home into a wedding venue.  It will also have huge financial repercussions for you, and it does not get you off the hook for following regulations.  As the host of the wedding, you are the responsible party to keep your guests safe as it states in the Wedding & Event regulations linked above.  Regardless of where your wedding is being held, the same rules are to be followed.  

If they are not followed at a private home/property, 1. This puts your vendors in an incredibly tough position from needing to keep their income and truly wanting to do your wedding day however knowing regulations will not be followed, to 2. The possibility of having your vendors tell you no and remove themselves from their contracts as you are putting them in a potentially dangerous/hazardous environment.  Most contracts have a portion of them that state that a vendor can and will leave an unsafe environment with no money due back to the client.  

After a year of risks with the virus, don’t risk the health of your guests and the livelihood of your vendor team by having an unsafe wedding.

Venues and vendors truly have your best interest at heart through this.  We WANT a successful wedding day for you and your guests to celebrate and enjoy.  We know these current rules feel tiresome, believe me, we get it; but we are here to help you through them and find ways to creatively still have a fabulous wedding day.

We’ve come this far together, and we’ve been a part of some amazing wedding days in 2020.  We are so ready to fully get back to work and be a part of your fabulous 2021 wedding day.

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: Planning Your Wedding During COVID-19

Seattle Wedding Planners, New Creations Weddings, Pink Blossom Events, Clutch Events and Perfectly Posh Events have teamed up to bring you a 4-part blog series covering COVID-19 and Planning your wedding during these unprecedented times.  Up next, New Creations Weddings is sharing what you can be doing now in planning your wedding day.

If you’ve postponed your wedding, reduced your guest count to a smaller wedding or are recently engaged and feeling like you are stuck not only at home, but also in what to do next during wedding planning?  NOW is a great time to take advantage of having a quieter social schedule and get those wedding to dos checked off the list!

Below is a list of wedding planning tasks that can easily be completed even while we are in a stay-at-home order.  Love is always trending, yes, even during a pandemic, which means there are always weddings to plan!   (Photo by Roddy Chung Photography)

Once you’ve locked in your dream team of vendors (or reconfigured your already booked team to a smaller wedding, or postponed and communicated those details with your guests), take this time to get ahead on those planning items that tend to be a last-minute scramble.  You’ll be well ahead of the curve once your wedding day does roll around and cool as a cucumber knowing you took care of those little tasks ahead of time.  (Photo by Roddy Chung Photography)

There are LOTS of behind the scene tasks that can easily be planned right now.  Listed in no particular order, here are a list of things to knock out now!

~ Ceremony Seating order for family/VIP’s in first 1-2 rows.  Who sits next to who (especially in a divorce or “interesting” family dynamic situation) will make your rehearsal run smoothly.
~ Select your specialty songs (there are more than you think):

*Ceremony Processional: family and wedding party
*Ceremony Processional: bride and/or groom
*Any songs during the ceremony during communion, sand ceremony, unity candle, etc.
*Ceremony Recessional
*Grand Entrance Into Dinner: will it be just you as a couple or the entire wedding party (ie. 2 songs)?
*Cake Cutting Background Song
*First Dance
*Father/Daughter
*Mother/Son
*Last Song of the Night

~ Create your must play/do not play list for the band/DJ.
~ Put together your family photo shot list for your photographer.
~ Start writing your ceremony with your Officiant.
~ Write your vows if you wish to have custom ones.
~ Decide who the designated person is who takes home all gifts/cards/personal décor, etc. at the end of the night.
~ Decide how you’re going to give away you centerpieces at the end of the night (whoever wants can take them, donation to nursing home, or use them at your post wedding brunch!)
~ Book your hair & makeup trial, food tasting and floral mock-up appointments for 2-months prior to your wedding date.
~ Book your pampering appointments (massage, final haircuts, facial, mani/pedi) and purchase gift cards for those services now to support those small businesses
~ Test out your wine selections and/or signature cocktails.  Throw a party at home to try out what you like and don’t.
~ Talk with your wedding planner about day-of design elements such as table numbers, menus, escort cards/seating chart board, etc. so final ordering and printing can be done easily and quickly.
~ Order any specialty day-of items (guest book, custom gown hanger, specialty champagne flutes, cake knife/server, etc.).
~ Order any specialty wedding day attire (custom bow ties, wedding day shoes, wedding day jewelry, etc).
~ Order any favors and complete any DIY items.
~ Make your honeymoon plans!  Many airlines and hotels will be offering killer deals soon, so get those plans set for when they do so you can take advantage of them. (Photo by Angela & Evan Photography)

We hope you found our list helpful! If you did have to postpone your wedding, we hope you can be excited for your new date!  You are still getting married.  You are still going to be surrounded by those you love when that day comes. And trust us, they will be ready to party with you!! And that is something to be excited about!!  Put items around your home with your new date on it so you see it often and are reminded of the wonderful times ahead.  Your wedding day is going to be an amazing celebration when it gets here!!

Celebrating you, celebrating love, and celebrating #loveinthetimeofcorona

Happy Planning!

You can find the two previous blogs in our Wedding Planning During COVID-19 series here;

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 the Perfectly Posh Events team

Stay tuned for the final post later this week from Pink Blossom Events!