The coronavirus has changed a lot of things in the world and weddings are no exception. So, it’s safe to assume that whether you’re hosting a wedding or attending one, there will be new rules and etiquette to follow.
Aside from following government regulations (where applicable), the rules that you as a host put in place will largely be up to you. The only important part is communicating those rules to your guests and enforcing them.
Wondering how to navigate hosting a wedding in the COVID-19 age? Let’s look at the new etiquette standards when it comes to your big day.
1. Think About Safety
First things first: decide which safety measures you will implement at your event. Will you require masks? A COVID-19 test? Enforce social distancing? Nothing at all?
It’s understandable that you may feel they are unnecessary, especially if your guest list consists of only your immediate family and closest friends, but some people may find it unnerving if the event appears to be a free-for-all. At the very least, make sure to implement social distancing wherever possible, and provide hand sanitizer on site. You may also want to have a few masks on hand just in case someone decides to wear one.
2. Give Guests a Heads Up
Once you’ve decided on what safety measures will be in place, make sure to make them clear on the invitation or a guest information card. No one wants to be surprised by a mask mandate upon arrival.
Even if there are no specific requirements, in the simplest form, it’s polite to add the line “safety measures will be in place” to the invite to soothe any of the attendees’ worries. You may also want to decide on a few additional rules, such as absolutely no uninvited plus-ones, or that no gifts should be brought to the venue.
3. Expect Some Declines to Your Invitation
You should expect that more people are likely to decline, perhaps due to reasons beyond their control. Similarly, some may have to cancel at the last minute. Don’t take this personally. Because of this, it’s wise to have a “B-list” of people you’d like to invite in case your first chosen round can’t make it.
4. Engage Your Audience
Because most places still have gathering limitations, most likely there will be quite a lot of people you won’t be able to invite. How do you approach this? Well, there are two schools of thought on this topic. Some couples have opted to live stream their ceremony and reception so that their loved ones can still attend virtually. An alternative to this is keeping a social media account regularly updated with photos and video uploads.
Others, however, find this a bit tacky and rude, seeing it as showing off an event to people who were clearly not invited. In which case, couples choose to ban any and all social media posts until the day after. That way, no one will feel left out.
5. Prepare for Changes
Since government rules can change very quickly, you should find a way to update your guests as soon as possible. A wedding website or social media page is a great way to do this. Changes may include a rescheduling or a full-on cancellation. Or, it may be the introduction of new safety measures.
If you feel that the threat of last-minute alterations is quite high, you may also choose to give a heads up on your invite by adding “rules/dates/times subject to change.”
Note that a change may also be a further limitation on gatherings, in which case you would have to uninvite someone—unfortunately. In such cases, don’t make it a public announcement. It’s better to address these kinds of matters personally or via phone. If the persons in question matter a lot to you, consider hosting a secondary event just to commemorate the occasion with them.
Do you have any helpful etiquette tips for having a COVID-era wedding? Comment below and share them with us!