Pandemic Weddings: 7 Ideas for an Engaging, Unexpected, and Unforgettable Wedding Celebration.
Can we all agree that 2020 has been an unprecedented life-changing year for the wedding industry?!
As wedding and event planners, we have drawn from all of our past experiences and developed new skills we never thought we would need in this career. We’ve adopted the mindset to “make it work” within the mandatory rules and restrictions in place. We are helping our couples create a new reality of wedding planning that is much different from the expectations and dreams they previously held about their wedding day.
The positive side to this is that engaged couples have a new sense of freedom to veer from the traditional wedding rules and family expectations and can create a totally customized wedding format.
To help your couples stress less and get excited about new possibilities for their big day, we are sharing 7 ideas to host a fun, one-of-a-kind event that all guests (in-person and on video) will remember forever as being one of the most memorable and personalized weddings they have ever attended.
For couples who are moving ahead with their nuptials, reducing the guest list is the obvious first step to having an in-person event. Most cities and states have regularly changing guidelines on how many guests are permitted and what the distancing and location requirements are.
The good news about this is that your couples don’t need to feel an ounce of guilt for not inviting annoying co-workers, friends of their parents who they do not know, long-forgotten classmates, college sorority and fraternity friends, or people they haven’t been in touch with for years but attended their wedding 10 years ago.
How to reduce the guest list:
Whether you have to reduce the guest list or not, moving the festivities outdoors may reduce the risk of virus transmission. Help couples work with their venues to utilize outdoor space for the ceremony and reception (if allowed). This might mean tent rentals, heaters, and different comfort items for their guests.
Moving an event outdoors is not as simple as it can seem to clients. As their wedding planner, educate them on their options and possible additional wedding costs.
Many couples are reducing guest lists but including guests for live streaming. By streaming your ceremony online, couples can include all of their guests safely. Many videographers and photographers are offering live stream services. Check with the couple’s vendors and ask about their experience live streaming events. It isn’t as simple as it sounds. If they want to DIY the live stream, make sure that there is reliable internet at the location and that there is someone to be in charge of filming and broadcasting.
If couples are doing a live streamed ceremony, there are many things they can do to make it interactive and fun for their remote guests. Mailing special boxes to the remote guests ahead of time can be a lot of fun for couples and an absolute joy for their guests.
Items that could be included in a gift box for remote wedding guests:
Making the live stream interactive will make your guests feel like they are involved. Plan a toast for right after the ceremony. If you have not provided a drink in the box, ask guests to have their favorite drink prepared.
You can include this request on the invitation. You can also mail a note to guests and ask them to send back their words of wisdom (or best wishes for your couple) and include a stamped “RSVP” card to encourage them to mail it back. Then read those notes on the live stream after the ceremony.
Get creative! As a planner, this is where your creativity can shine with fun ideas to make this unexpected style of wedding unique and filled with fond memories for everyone involved.
Depending on the rules of your state, a drive-in wedding can be a creative way to celebrate with your entire guest list. If your venue had ample parking you could have everyone drive up and park their cars. Instead of walking down an aisle of seated guests, the couple walks down the “aisle” of parked cars. Your guests can watch the couple exchange vows, have the first dance, make a toast, and even cut their wedding cake.
You and the couple can work with their caterers and bakers to create boxed meals to deliver to each vehicle and couples could visit each car (with appropriate masks) and thank everyone for attending.
You can bet that every single guest will say that was the most memorable and fun wedding they have ever been to!
Whether you are having a smaller ceremony or a drive-in wedding, some states are not allowing any form of reception. If your clients are getting married somewhere with these rules, they may consider doing a live stream ceremony with a to-go reception.
Boxed meals or picnic baskets from a restaurant or caterer can be delivered to the local guests with a list of the couple’s favorite picnic locations in the area. Guests can go enjoy their meal and share photos on social media with the couple’s hashtag. This shows the couple how each guest celebrated the wedding with their own mini reception.
Finally, if your clients are absolutely set on having the wedding they envisioned, then postponing is the best option. As their wedding planner, you can alleviate a lot of stress by helping them work with their venue and vendors to change/cancel contracts, notify guests, and move all plans to a new wedding date. The couple could still elope locally on the original wedding day or have their own mini celebration to commemorate the day while planning for their newly scheduled future wedding day. We recently shared a detailed post on how to cancel or postpone a wedding.
No matter how your clients choose to celebrate their wedding day, they will be relying heavily on their planners to help make it all work. Keep yourself informed of your local rules and regulations and be ready to make adjustments as needed. As a planner, subscribe to emails from your local city and state resources that share the latest rules regarding the number of guests permitted at events and distancing requirements so that you can communicate accurate information to your clients.
Remember to keep yourself and your staff safe during in-person events. Being an event planner during this time is very challenging, but also very rewarding!
The less stress on your clients, the less stressed you will be as their planner. Most event insurance companies are no longer offering event cancellation coverage right now due to the pandemic.
Even though event cancellation coverage may not be available at this time, it is still essential for your couples to have event liability insurance to help protect them and their wedding day. The last thing they need is an unexpected expense that could have easily been avoided with an inexpensive event liability insurance policy.
Markel Event Insurance offers event liability insurance for weddings. Up to $2 million in event liability insurance can be purchased by your client from Markel Event Insurance any time at least 1 day before the event. Policies start as low as $75.
By recommending that your clients purchase event liability insurance, it can help protect them from financial loss if they are held legally responsible for property damage to the venue or bodily injury if someone is injured at their event. Markel Event Insurance is an easy and affordable solution for your clients – a free event insurance quote takes only a few minutes online or on the phone.
Get more information now on the Markel Insurance website on how easy it is for event planners to recommend event insurance to their clients.
*this post is sponsored by Markel Insurance
This blog is intended for general information purposes only, and should not be construed as advice or opinions on any specific facts or circumstances. The content of this document is made available on an “as is” basis, without warranty of any kind. This publication is not intended to be legal, underwriting, or any other type of professional advice. Persons requiring advice should consult an independent adviser. Markel does not guarantee any particular outcome and makes no commitment to update any information herein, or remove any items that are no longer accurate or complete. Coverage is provided by one or more of the insurance companies within Markel and policyholder services are provided by the underwriting manager, Markel Service, Incorporated, national producer license # 27585, in California d/b/a Markel Insurance Services, license # 0645481. Certain products and services are provided through various non-admitted insurance company subsidiaries of Markel and are offered through licensed surplus lines brokers or through Markel West Insurance Services California license # 2E11302.