By Tommy Waters, The Renaissance
As the wedding and event industry takes a collective sigh of relief since pandemic restrictions lifted, we must reflect on what we learned and what may still affect you. Chances are you were either in a wedding, or a guest of wedding during the pandemic. It’s safe to say there were thousands of couples in the same boat. Across the country there were unprecedented amounts of postponements, cancellations, and elopements.
With all of that being said, WE ARE BACK!! And wedding vendors are more excited than ever to get back to doing what they love — making sure your day is as amazing as can be. Here are 3 things to consider when starting (or continuing) to plan the big day!
1. SCALED DOWN GUEST LISTS Are you thinking about inviting fewer people? You are not alone. Couples were faced with more than a few hard decisions over the last year, especially if planning during the time where large scale events were basically not happening at all, anywhere. States had decreased headcount possibilities to 100, or 30% of the capacity, or even just 10 guests depending on the time of year. One positive way to look at this is the money you can save by having fewer guests. This is true not only for the venue but for the caterer, favors, number of hotel rooms, invitations, postage, and so much more. While it’s true that money can add up quickly when planning a wedding, it can work in the opposite direction just as easily!
2. WE ARE ALL MORE AWARE OF EACH OTHER Shaking hands is still a little risky to some. We have all been made aware of just how easy it is for germs to travel. If social distancing has taught us anything, it’s to be more aware of you, the person next to you, and the person they just talked to. Six degrees of coronavirus is a real thing. You really should get used to some form of social distancing at least for the foreseeable future. But if there is anything that we have proved time and time again, it’s that your day need not suffer at all due to social distancing. Fewer folks may be at your table, and that table may be a little further away from the one next to it, but we have not been able to discern a notable formula in any of that against the fun factor. So, go and have fun and just be aware. The fun is still there, DO NOT be afraid to have it!
3. WEEKDAY WEDDINGS We know you would never have considered this pre-pandemic. But when faced with two years of couples looking at a finite number of weekends, there may not be a choice. Wedding industry professionals have truly stepped up to the plate to work with couples to make sure that a Tuesday wedding can be just as much fun as a Saturday wedding. Some hard truths though; guests will more than likely have to work the next day if the wedding is on a Monday or Thursday. Pick a friendly time that will work for guests that allow them to complete their workday and get home early enough to get to work the next day. Four hours is ample time to have a super fun reception. It’s probably a good chance that the guest list will be a bit smaller, but you can save some money. (see #1 above) Also, use this opportunity to offer a different bar plan and take advantage of more savings. A full open bar may not be the best choice. Ask the venue or caterer for other options like beer and wine or a prepaid consumption bar. Make the weekday work for you and save some more dough.
4. LIVE STREAMING Make the current culture of video meetings and social media interactions work for you. If it must be a smaller wedding for whatever reason, work with the venue, hire a vendor who specializes in this type of thing to offer FaceTime or live streaming. If you take the cost of the services and directly compare the amount of money to invite 50-100 more guests, you can easily come to terms with the price tag
5. NORMALCY IS DECADENT Just the thought of being able to shop without a mask (for those that are vaccinated), go to that favorite bar or restaurant, or to start traveling again is something that is AMAZINGLY UPLIFTING. Wedding guests across the country are seeing fewer and fewer restrictions that are allowing couples to really get back to a sense of normalcy. What we didn’t expect was how good of a feeling and how freeing this decrease in restrictions was going to be.
It truly goes without saying that your guests will be more than ready to party with you. Don’t look at any of the things that still may hang around for a while longer (social distancing, masks in certain circumstances, heightened sanitizing procedures, etc.) affect your good time. Let’s all get back to planning the biggest day of your life. Just know that we all have so much more to celebrate now, and that is a good thing!
Tommy Waters is a wedding planner, event coordinator, published writer, national public speaker (and skilled bartender) with The Renaissance, an all-inclusive wedding ceremony and reception venue based in downtown Richmond’s exciting Arts District. To learn more about The Renaissance, please visit www.renaissanceva.com.