Even as some Covid 19 wedding restrictions start to ease, and borders open, some of your family and friends may still be anxious and have concerns about attending a wedding. After all weddings have the potential to be huge Covid 19 spreading events, with people from all ages, demographics, geographic locations and levels of health coming together and then going back to where they came from.
Obviously your wedding plans, vendors and venues will need to follow any public health advice or government mandated rules and regulations to minimise risk and ensure guest safety - but what can you do to reassure your guests to help them feel more at ease?
1. Permission Not to Attend
Doh - sounds pretty obvious, but maybe on your Save the Date Card or Wedding Invitation you can let them know up front that although you would love to see them and have them celebrate with you on your wedding day, you will also understand and wont be offended if they choose not to attend due to the difficult and challenging times of the Covid 19 Pandemic. It might not influence their decision but at least it shows you are aware and empathetic to the Covid 19 situation and people’s reactions and concerns about it.
2. Give Relevant Covid 19 Details
Let guest know things that relate to their personal health and safety risks, such as what parts of your wedding (if any) will be outdoors or indoors and how long any indoor parts will be for. You might also include any alternative indoor plans for bad weather. Let them know if there will be any unvaccinated adults or children attending, as this may increase their Covid 19 risk.
This information can easily be include as a timeline on your wedding invitations or on your dedicated wedding website (if you have one). Having a clear understanding of the schedule for the day will help you guests work out how comfortable they feel in attending each part of the day.
3. Permission to Attend Only Some Parts
It’s not what you really want, but it might be a good strategy to be flexible and allow guest to only come for the parts they are comfortable with and not the other parts, ie if your ceremony is outdoors with a drinks and cocktail hour whilst you have your photographs done, followed by an indoor meal and reception, some people might just come for the outdoor parts. You might want to have two different boxes to tick or two separate RSVPs to indicate which parts people are comfortable attending and allow you to plan numbers accordingly with your venue and caterer.
4. Unvaccinated Guests & Children
In Australia venues (other than private estates) required vaccine passports to be shown. So you need to think carefully about what will happen for any of your guests who might not be vaccinated, or have children who are not vaccinated, who will be attending. Trying to decide if you will invite unvaccinated people and children who are not vaccinated is a very difficult issue and can be even more tricky than you think - as you might not even know if your guests are vaccinated or not. Whatever you decide to do, you will still need to know how many (if any) unvaccinated guests will be in attendance, as your other guests have a right to know this. With children you can simply choose not to invite children at all, or only for any outdoor parts of the wedding you have (eg Ceremony). Be aware that some suppliers and vendors wont offer their services for weddings where the wedding couple are unvaccinated or with unvaccinated guests in attendance so check their Covid 19 Plans on their website, contracts or ask them directly before you book.
5. Ask Your Venue About Using Any Outdoor Spaces
Some wedding guests are not comfortable indoors or out, but they will be the ones not attending. Most people are more comfortable socialising outdoors than indoors in terms of Covid 19 risks - so being able to tell your guests that most of your day will be outdoors might help them feel more comfortable. Just be sure that the vendor can make the outdoor areas suitable and comfortable in terms of heating or cooling and protection from the weather if it rains or is windy.
6 Ask Suppliers for Advice
Most suppliers are now experienced with weddings in the pandemic. Offering things like table and wait service for the meal and drinks means people wont be bunched up at a smorgasbord for food or bar waiting on drinks. Your Cake Artist might suggest individual wedding cupcakes instead of one large cake.Ask your chosen suppliers how they suggest you might keep your guests safe in these challenging times.
If some of your guests are travelling from interstate or oveseas, or if your are having a destination wedding, make sure you find out what the quarantine, RAT test or PCR testing requirements are and let them know in advance. A dedicated website is possibly the easiest option for this but you can also email or message people instead. Make sure you update them with any changes or new requirements as things change.
8. Wedding Day Safety Measures
Providing your guests with personal bottles of hand sanitiser and face masks might be required by you depending on your wedding locations and venues, but usually it’s the venue’s responsibility to ensure Covid 19 protocols are being followed and people might be providing their own masks. But you might want to still show your guests that you care about their personal safety - signs reminding people about safe social distancing, coloured wrist bands that indicate how comfortable people are with contact eg Green might be still okay to shake hands or hug, Yellow might be okay to talk and socialise but no physical contact and Red might be full social distancing stay at 1.5m please! These can be a cute talking point but also reassure any anxious or concerned guests that their personal space will be respected.
Covid 19 has changed our world forever, and we still may not have seen the full impact, but as we move ahead to living with it we need to continue to adapt.