Precautions that could keep wedding guests safe during the pandemic – Couples planning to tie the knot in the months ahead can still do so, but the WHO recommends they take certain precautions as they organize their ceremonies and receptions.
Precautions that could keep wedding guests safe during the pandemic
Happy couples planning to tie the knot in 2020 confronted a challenge they likely never saw coming. While many couples fear inclement weather on their wedding days, 2020’s prospective brides and grooms had to contend with something far more fearful than rain clouds.
The outbreak of the novel coronavirus that began in the winter of 2019-20 and was ultimately declared a pandemic by the World Health Organization put many couples’wedding plans in peril. In an effort to stop the spread of the virus and protect those most vulnerable to it, governments across the globe placed restrictions on social gatherings, including weddings. Those restrictions prompted some couples to postpone their nuptials until 2021, while others tied the knot at considerably smaller ceremonies than they initially planned for.
Couples planning to tie the knot in the months ahead can still do so, but the WHO recommends they take certain precautions as they organize their ceremonies and receptions.
Since its inception decades ago, social media has changed the world. As the popularity of social media exploded in the early part of the 21st century, various platforms emerged and ultimately affected movements pertaining to everything from politics to social justice to charitable efforts.
Social media also has emerged as a great tool for couples on the cusp of getting married. The following are some useful ways that couples can employ social media into their wedding planning.
· Confirm local regulations.
Restrictions related to COVID-19 differ greatly by region. Areas that were not hit hard by the virus may not have as many restrictions in place as those that were devastated by the outbreak. In addition, cities or regions whose responses to the virus have been successful may have relaxed restrictions more than areas that are still struggling. The WHO notes the importance of checking local guidelines prior to planning an event, and that’s especially important for couples who hope to get married in towns or cities where they do not currently reside.
· Keep guests up to date about precautions.
Include detailed information about the safety measures that will be implemented during the wedding on your wedding website. Insert a card detailing this information into your invitation envelopes as well so all guests know what to expect when they accept the invitation. In addition, remind guests of the safety precautions throughout the ceremony.
· Provide sanitary supplies and other safety requirements.
According to The Knot 2019 Real Weddings Study, the average wedding in 2019 cost just under $34,000. That’s a steep price and couples willing to spend so much money have a right to know their guests will be safe on their wedding days. Speak with representatives at your wedding venue(s), including the site of the ceremony and the reception, and ask them about the safety measures they are putting in place to protect guests. Are safety supplies like hand sanitizer provided by the venue? Will the venue place social distancing markers on the floor to make it easier for guests to keep their distance? Work with your partner to determine your comfort level with the precautions the venue is taking.
Make sure hand sanitizer, soap, water, and masks are readily available for all guests. Social distance markers also can be placed on the ground throughout the venue to make it easy for guests to stay six feet apart from one another.
· Choose an outdoor venue or other venues
The Centers for Disease Control and Prevention notes that the COVID-19 virus spreads very easily through person-to-person contact and that the risk of spreading the virus is greater when spending time indoors. Couples can mitigate some of that risk by tying the knot outdoors and then hosting an outdoor reception where tables are kept at least six feet apart.
Before couples get too deep into their decision-making process, they can consult their vendors to determine just how much flexibility they may have. Consult wedding planners, venue representatives, caterers, photographers, and all other vendors with whom you have existing contracts to see how open those vendors are to rescheduling. Some contracts may contain language governing rescheduled events, while others may outright forbid rescheduling. Many vendors have shown a willingness to work with their clients during this public health crisis, but couples should gauge that willingness before they begin worrying if it’s right to go forward or postpone the event.
· Create your own hashtag.
A couple-specific hashtag can be a great and simple way to share information on Twitter, which remains one of the most popular social media platforms across the globe. Your own hashtag can alert friends and family who are on Twitter whenever you post new information and photos.
· Share a photo album online.
Photographers serve as something akin to unofficial documentarians on couples’ wedding days. Many photographers are there from the moment the bride begins to get ready until the last person leaves the dance floor at the end of the night. Many couples love leafing through their wedding albums for the rest of their lives together, but guests also may enjoy reliving the night. The photo sharing social media platform Instagram is a great way for couples and their guests to relive the special moment a couple ties the knot and all the ensuing fun at the reception. Create a wedding-specific Instagram page and post all the photos you want to share.
· Include guests who could not attend the festivities.
Various clusters of COVID-19 have been linked to weddings since the pandemic was declared in March. For example, a state health inspector in Maine determined that an August wedding in that state could be linked to no less than 170 COVID-19 cases, despite the wedding being attended by only 62 people. Couples should prioritize the safety of their guests, but they also should gauge guests’ temperatures in regard to their willingness to adhere to certain safety precautions during the ceremony and reception. The CDC also notes that certain categories of people, including the elderly and people with underlying medical conditions like diabetes, are more vulnerable to serious illness from COVID-19 than others. Consider guests’ personal health when deciding whether to go forward or postpone your wedding.
No matter how hard couples may try to pick a date that’s convenient for all of their guests, some invitees will inevitably decline the invitation. That’s especially true while the world continues to confront the COVID-19 pandemic. Elderly guests or loved ones with underlying medical conditions that make them more vulnerable to getting seriously ill from COVID-19 may be forced to reluctantly decline their invitations. But couples can utilize social media platforms like Facebook Live to include loved ones who couldn’t make it in real time. Even using Zoom or other Social Media Live Streaming.
· Encourage others to pitch in with the planning.
Planning a wedding should be fun, and what better way to add to the fun factor than encouraging loved ones to share their ideas via a social media platform like Pinterest? Couples can create a Pinterest board and ask interested friends and family members to share ideas on everything from attire to decor to floral arrangements. This can be an especially effective way to involve bridesmaids and groomsmen if social distancing guidelines and travel restrictions related to the pandemic are still in place when planning your wedding.
· Other Alternatives:
Couples might have more options than they initially thought when deciding what to do about their weddings during the pandemic. Some couples have opted to tie the knot at small ceremonies and host parties for their intended guests once COVID-19 is in the rearview mirror. Others have opted to get married over Zoom so their friends and families can still share in their happiness.
Weddings will be different until the world puts COVID-19 in its rearview mirror. In the meantime, it’s up to happy couples to keep their guests safe come the big day.
Article compliments of MetroCreative. TF20B501, TF20B502 & TF20B505
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