Alternative Wedding Experiences for Covid-19 -

Alternative Wedding Experiences for Covid-19

January 7, 2021

As a wedding photographer, my strongest advice will always be to plan your wedding how you want it to be. And that has never been more true or important than it is now. 

As the coronavirus pandemic continues to evolve and create uncertain times for all of us, you and your partner will likely have to rethink certain aspects of your wedding and make some unexpected decisions.  And it’s important that you take time to focus on what’s most important to you as a couple.

Let me start by saying, I understand that this is probably not how you imagined your engagement and wedding planning. There is a lot at play-  emotions, logistics, and potentially even finances. So, I encourage you to take a second {or however much time you need} to acknowledge that you’re bummed and to grieve the loss of your expectations. 

Good! Now that you’ve done that…take a deep breath and refocus your attention on what this experience is all about: A celebration of you two and the love that brought you together. 

Because this setback does not mean the demise of your wedding day. 

With an open mind and a little creativity you can still make your wedding amazing.  

And, as I say with every wedding, the only rule is there are no rules

So, I’ve teamed up with wedding planner extraordinaire Rebecca Grant, owner of New Creations Wedding Design and Coordination, to help us think outside the box and explore some really great alternative wedding experiences. 

Grab a cocktail, sit down with your partner and let’s get to brainstorming and planning! 

Keep It Cozy 

A micro wedding is a great option that provides you with an opportunity for a smaller, more intimate wedding. And a small wedding can certainly be just as special as a big celebration. 

After having moved 31 weddings from 2020 to 2021, Rebecca definitely encourages newly engaged couples to go this route from the get-go. Should the pandemic continue even longer than anticipated, planning a smaller micro-wedding is a much safer, less stressful route to go.

And for those couples who have already put plans in place for a larger gathering and need to change plans, an alternative to postponing or canceling altogether is to downsize your guest list to the absolute “must haves” and make it one epic celebration. 

While downsizing may not allow you to decrease your existing vendor contracts (ie. florist, catering, cake), you can possibly shift what is within those contracts. So, instead of multiple table centerpieces, shift the product to a breathtaking ceiling installation. Planning a buffet style meal? You now have the ability to shift that contract to a stellar plated meal. The list goes on and on.  

Be sure and talk with your vendors to explore all of your options. And while I can’t speak for everyone, many vendors have developed their own solutions to help couples in need during this time. 

We are here to help you and will do everything we can to help you navigate this new chapter of your engagement.

Check out my blog post, COVID-19 and Your Wedding for more advice and tips on  downsizing, eloping and keeping it cozy. 

Let Them Eat Cake 

With the current mandates, having a large, tiered cake set out is a no-go. But, opting for a small cutting cake on your sweetheart table is perfect!  Guests can then be treated to pre-boxed desserts that they can pickup on their way out, or have individual cutting cakes on each of their tables in the same flavor as your wedding cake.

Rebecca also suggests that if you’re doing a plated meal, have dessert as one of the options. The servers can bring individual slices out as the last course of dinner vs going the traditional cake route.

Get Outside

Smaller guest counts mean more mobility. A talented vendor team can create a magical wedding setting just about anywhere, so pick a spot that means something to you… or something with amazing scenery… and do as much as possible outdoors. 

Rebecca points out, there are so many great VRBO’s available all around the state with incredible water, mountain or forest views. 

Plus, you can’t beat that natural light for photos too. {Every photographer’s dream!}

Have A Socially Distanced Seat 

To make it easy for guests to sit together while maintaining distance from other guests, think about creating “pod seating”. This option creates a really organic look for the ceremony seating without long rows of empty chairs.  And with a more intimate guest count, it’s easier for you to assign chairs in groupings. 

Rebecca suggests having your planner or your paper goods designer print up chair labels to put on each chair to make it easy for families to find their pod. 

Another fun option? Picnic blankets, assigned by household, scattered around. Or mix- matched loveseats and sofas {spread 6ft apart, of course.} 

Get creative and make it fun!  

Keep Them Entertained

While the height of a traditional wedding reception is usually the dance party, you’ll need to look for alternative options to keep guests entertained while heeding social distancing guidelines. 

How about a per table scavenger hunt? Have your emcee ask questions like, “Who at your table has a blue pen?”  “Who has a photo of a loved one in their purse/wallet?” etc. The table with the most items found is the winner.  

We’ve  also seen the comeback of the shoe game and even trivia games (focused on questions about the couple). It’s a really fun and interactive way to keep guests seated within their assigned table and/or family group and it creates a lighthearted, fun atmosphere.   

Rebecca says another fun alternative is a performance based reception where guests are treated to live music or even a magic show. Her favorite? Magician Nash Fung. “He is upbeat, crazy talented, and flips on its head what the thought of a magic show is.  Really amazing for guests to be treated to something so unique.” 

Whatever entertainment idea you decide on, it will feel like a fancy dinner party with some of your nearest and dearest, where you two are most definitely the guests of honor. 

An Extended Ceremony 

If you want to opt for easy, Rebecca suggests an all encompassing ceremony where couples incorporate their cake cutting, toasts, and formal dances all into the ceremony.  “This is an extended ceremony that brings in some elements of a traditional reception. This allows guests to remain seated- following state mandates, but also gives the couple a way to experience some of the most cherished traditions on their wedding day.” 

Virtual Toasts 

Pre-recorded speeches by guests who can’t attend are an excellent way to  include loved ones who can’t physically be there with you on your day. Voast is a virtual “video toast” that puts pre-recorded toasts into an awesome video for the couple. And they make it even more special by asking prompted questions. The result? Heartfelt tears, rolling laughter and a whole lot of love shared, virtually!  

Live Streamed Love 

Eventlive is an incredibly easy-to-use app that lets you share your wedding, live. So those friends and family that aren’t able to make it can still witness your special day and feel like they are there with you. 

Eventlive allows for unlimited viewers and your guests can access it even after the live stream. Family and friends can also leave well wishes and messages in a personalized guestbook. Best part? It’s yours to keep. They will send you a complete, downloadable recording of the video stream to have and share with others, forever.

Hire a planner!

Last but certainly not least, I absolutely recommend hiring a planner. As exhausting as this whole pandemic has been, couples with planners have it 1,000 times better than those trying to navigate this all on their own.  

By keeping vendor teams in tact, having a finger on the pulse of what’s allowed vs not allowed with the ever-changing rules, and guiding couples through the reschedule process, planners have proved their worth over and over again! 

I can’t thank Rebecca enough for her input, tips and ideas! And I love that some of these might make for weddings that might be even better than in the “before times”.

Stay Safe & Healthy! 

We’re all in this together, friends. For all of the most up-to-date info on governmental guidelines, my policies for weddings and engagement sessions, rescheduling details, and helpful resources. Please see my Covid-19 Action Plan and Resource Guide

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