The number one question everyone is wondering is, What will weddings look like after Covid? With life slowly getting back to normal and restrictions on the limitations of people allowed at gatherings being lifted, it’s important to know what questions to ask your planner, venue and vendors in regard to you guests health and safety at your wedding. 

The city of Toronto has now been given the green light to enter into Phase 2 of reopening, allowing weddings to start up again. The new guidelines outline that a maximum of 50 guests are allowed to attend outdoor wedding ceremonies, 30% of the venue’s capacity for indoor wedding ceremonies and only 10 attendees for wedding receptions.

With the Ontario government now easing the restrictions on indoor and outdoor weddings, it’s important that we still follow proper health and safety advice. For the remainder of weddings in 2020 and for possibly the entirety of 2021, five issues that couples will now have to take into consideration when planning their wedding are sanitizing solutions, personal protective equipment, seating layouts, catering options, and live streaming solutions. I go into more detail about each of these five issues couples should be discussing with their planner, venue and vendors about how they will be handling.

1. Sanitizing Solutions

Frequent hand washing and disinfecting of high touch surfaces is encouraged to prevent the spread of the novel coronavirus. Having frequent hand sanitizing stations and minimizing guests from touching common surface areas is something that will be implemented. Event space staff or your planner may assign someone to open and close doors for all guests as well as provide them with hand sanitizer every time they enter or exit a room. As a wedding favor idea, couples can personalize individual bottles of hand sanitizer that their guests can use throughout the night. 

2. Personal Protective Equipment

The wearing of masks is a practice that has become more common in the past few months. Making it mandatory for each guest to wear a mask depends entirely on the regulations of the government, venue and couple hosting the wedding. As weddings are a celebration shared amongst family and friends it’s understandable to not want to have your guests wear a mask. If it is a requirement though, guests will need to be provided with disposable masks if they don’t have. Couples can also get inventive with this and provide each guest with a custom made mask as a wedding favor.

The wearing of gloves is another practice that has become more common while out and about. As latex gloves are not very flattering or stylish to wear to a wedding the use of fashion gloves may be seeing a comeback. Especially when guests are first arriving and greeting each other this timeless accessory may be now considered a necessity. 

3. Seating & Layouts

Social distancing will be something that will need to be kept in mind with large gatherings of people from different households. For ceremony seating, instead of clumping guests into two groups on each side of the aisle, circular layouts may now become a thing. So this way, you will only have one person on each side of you rather than all around you. If a couple wishes to have traditional seating in rows, just make sure to spread each row of guests 6 feet/ 2 meters apart and have guests from the same household seated together in the same row.

The same will go for receptions. Since it is advised to keep families from the same households or people they commonly interact with seated together, reception tables may have less than the average 8-10 guests seated at them. There have also been suggestions about putting markings on the dance floor so couples know how to safely social distance while dancing but this is something I don’t ever see working. People are going to dance wherever they want and with whomever they want.

4. Catering

Passed hors d’oeuvres and coursed meals will now be highly recommended over buffet displays and family style options. The whole point is to avoid having different people touching the same serving utensil as much as possible. Even though plated meals can be more expensive than buffet or family-style options, smaller guest lists will make this option more affordable. If having a buffet is still a wish of the couple, the venue or catering company may then provide attendants at each station who will serve your guests their food minimizing the spread of germs from a large amount of people touching the same serving utensil. Of course all employees who are serving food should be wearing proper PPE equipment.     

5. Live Streaming Solutions

For those guests who will be unable to make it due to health and safety concerns, speak with your venue and videographer about live streaming your ceremony and reception. Give your guests who can’t make it a detailed timeline of events so they can tune in for when you exchange your vows, have your first dance and cut your wedding cake. Even set up a time for when your guests from afar can say a toast to the newlyweds. Ask them to dress up and have a drink on hand. When the dancing starts they can join in from their living rooms. Even though nothing beats being there in person, this is a great solution for your family and friends who couldn’t be there to feel included in your celebration.

Even though these five issues may seem like small requests, they’re important questions to ask your venue and vendors. As an engaged wedding planner myself, my fiancé and I were originally supposed to get married on June 20th, 2020. We first decided to postpone our wedding by a few months before finally deciding to postpone it by a whole year. The reason for us having to postpone our wedding twice was because we had questions regarding these very same issues. All of which our venue could not answer which was very concerning to us. We didn’t want any surprises on the day of and wanted to know exactly how our wedding was going to look and feel, especially for our guests. You pay a lot of money for this one special day so make sure you are comfortable with the experience you are going to be getting.     

My company has already taken these issues into consideration for all our future weddings in 2020 and 2021 and in light of the recent restrictions on gatherings being lifted, we have created a Petit Wedding service, that is perfect for ceremonies of 50 people or less. Because this package is only for a limited amount of people we offer live streaming services so the guests that could longer be included can still take part in this special day. We will also come up with creative seating solutions for the ceremony, cocktail and dinner receptions so that the guests can continue to practice safe social distancing measures. In my emergency bag I will now include a large bottle of hand sanitizer and disposable face masks. I will be wearing a mask and make sure all my assistants do so as well. It will be our top priority to follow proper health and safety advice while still creating a memorable and enjoyable experience for our lovely couples.