Timely wedding tips for pandemic couples

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It’s knot so simple these days.

Planning a wedding can be stressful and overwhelming, and now, even more so. Here, local experts offer tips for those looking to get hitched in this unprecedented time.

Be Prepared to Cancel

“Negotiate vendor contracts that have clear and specific cancellation clauses and force majeure [a clause that frees both parties in the event of unforeseen circumstances],” said Ashley Douglass, a New York and Connecticut wedding planner. She also suggested “an option to reschedule to another date next year with little to no rescheduling fees. In some cases, this won’t be possible. A compromise would be to choose a day other than Saturday or Friday.”

She also suggested a clause for involuntary reduction in guests if a government entity limits numbers, so you’re not on the hook for food and beverage minimums.

In addition, have a candid conversation with potential vendors, advised Alison Szleifer and Jonathan Stamper-Halpin of Two Kindred Event Planners. “It’s important to understand how they are approaching these challenging times.”

Stay Informed

“Add yourself to the mailing list for updates with respect to COVID-19 in the state where the wedding is taking place,” said Ang Weddings and Events’ Tzo Ai Ang. “Sign up on the state governor’s Web site. The infection rates and, hence, event rules in each state can change quickly. Make sure you keep up to date with the state guidelines for indoor and outdoor events leading up to your wedding.”

Be Clear with Your Guests

“Give them information about whether the events are taking place indoors or outdoors, how many guests you expect, if masks should be worn when not eating or drinking, if there will be dancing, if guests will be asked to quarantine and/or have a COVID-19 test just prior to the wedding,” said Ang. “That way guests can decide if they feel comfortable attending . . . [but] it is a lot of information, so communicate this in a digital format like Paperless Post, on your wedding Web site or an e-mail.”

And, know that some of your nearest and dearest might opt out. “It isn’t unreasonable to still not feel comfortable traveling and being in groups,” said Amy Jones with Amy Champagne Events.

Keep Guests Comfortable

Making sure guests feel safe is key, said Ang. “At a recent wedding, we distributed custom printed cotton bags with PPE items including cloth masks with a chain, disposable masks and hand sanitizer.”

Arrange guests in couples, families or with people in their quarantine pod. “Let guests have more control over who they sit with based on their comfort,” said Jove Meyer with Jove Meyer Events.

Take Care with Food and Drink

“Avoid all self-service buffets,” advises Ang. “Have the buffet set up behind a plexi barrier and only the server touches the plates and food.” Consider putting boxed slices of cake at each place setting.

Just Do It

“Revise your expectations and have the wedding. Perhaps a cliche, but tomorrow is not guaranteed,” said Jones. “Have the party now, celebrate safely and enjoy the rest of your life’s milestones.”

Meyer also advises creating virtual links with those who can’t be there. “Don’t be afraid of Zoom,” he said. “It can feel special and beautiful.”

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