Socially Distanced Weddings
The consequence of living during the Covid-19 pandemic is that when permitted weddings must take place subject to some legal and recommended restrictions. This means learning how to prepare for a socially distanced wedding. This is a ceremony, and by implication the reception, that follow the requirements for social distancing. This might include limits on how many guests can attend, requirements for spacing distances between seats and a further distancing from officiants, especially if they are going to sing. Many venues do not allow guests to congregate both before, or after the ceremony. Tables for meals may be limited in size and food may only be available from a food station with plexiglass protection for staff and guests. The exact requirements may be varied according to country, venue, time and may be subject to change at short notice. They may impact not only on the ceremony itself, but on the ability of everyone to be able to travel to a particular place, especially if coming from abroad. They are implemented to avoid as far as possible the spread of C-19 and are there to protect everyone who will be at a ceremony from guests to professional staff. Everyone will have to learn to adjust to these new circumstances, while some expectations may have to be given up. In such special circumstances creativity and inovation have their part to play.
One of the more obvious consequences of Covid-19 is that there may be less room and fewer guests, but paradoxically this can lead to a sense of a more intimate celebration. Some couples may opt to have a number of celebrations in different places to maximise the opportunity for more people to participate. This can include engagement party, civil wedding, religious wedding and post ceremony celebration, like an after wedding party. Some couples have chosen the old-fashioned, but previously frowned upon, tradition of eloping, with a view to having any celebrations with family and friends in a few years time. Others are choosing to have micro-weddings, or only having a virtual ceremony. All this is giving rise to a new vocabulary, such as Covid Couples - which doesn’t mean a couple with Covid-19, but a couple planning to celebrate their union during the pandemic. Covid-consciousness, refers to anyone seriously thinking through the consequences of preparing for a wedding while there is a risk of getting the coronavirus. The risk as is well-known, varies according to age, gender, physical and mental health, and social condition. It would include such details as ensuring that everyone (which means guests and staff) has at least one disposable mask, but preferably more, to cover their nose and , given to them and the availability of hand-sanitisers, hand-washing stations, thermometer scans and disposable paper towels, or tissues with bio-hazard bags in which to dispose them, disposable gloves for all staff and guests who may wish to use them and where necessary signs, or stickers to remind everyone to keep socially distanced. Along with the invitation, some couples are also sending out guidelines about how they are going to do their best to prevent anyone getting C-19 and what is expected from guests to achieve this. This maybe what is now included in hospitality and there maybe a need for professional staff to have regular tests to ensure they are free of the virus. If buses, or taxis are used to collect people from airports, or to take them to the venue, social distancing may require that the vehicles can only be half, or three-quarters full.
It is likely that there will be more ceremonies outside as this allows for more creativity for designing events and making the best use of the space available, especially where only small clusters of chairs around tables, or other spaces are permitted. For ceremonies that will take place indoors, there will be a need for more adding rooms, so that guests will be moved from room to room depending on what activity is taking place, rather than all the activities taking place in one space. There may be a clever mix of indoor and out and the use of gardens and courtyards for different aspects of the celebrations. Food and drinks may need to be presented in sealed containers rather like at a picnic, or obtained from staffed food stations. This doesn’t mean that tasty dishes, (hot, or cold) and favourite menus can’t be incorporated with safe ways of serving the food, collecting and disposing of the cartons afterwards. It is a new understanding of what having kosher food now means.
Even dance floors with a little guidance can be adapted and re-designed into smaller spaces to encourage social distancing and a customised space arranged for the musicians. Everyone is going to have accept that there can be changes at short notice. Even confirmed dates may need to be unsaved, when ceremonies are postponed to a later time. Bachelor parties and Hen-nights might sometimes have to take place after the wedding, while honeymoons that had been booked earlier and can’t be changed, may need to take place before the wedding. Many if not all of these considerations are likely to apply for a while after an effective and long-lasting vaccine becomes available. It is only when the rate of infection has dropped significantly that people will feel safe.
Everyone is going to need a lot more re-assurance than was previously necessary, including asking for everyone to notify one designated individual if in the 14 days following the celebrations they have symptoms of C-19 and for that designated person to inform everyone on the guest list and all the professional staff so that they seclude themselves and if necessary be tested. Guests and staff will now have these and other C-19 responsibilities. For more information click here.
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