It is not earth-shattering to say that plenty of people are still highly concerned about COVID-19. The Omicron variant of this disease has made it easier than ever for people to catch COVID even if they are fully vaccinated. Thus, it can feel as though no one is safe. Despite these concerns, the Wall Street Journal reports that more people are expected to get married in 2022 than in any year since 1984!
The data they reported projects that there will be approximately 2.6 million weddings taking place in the United States just this year alone. That's a lot of happy couples who need to consider their plans for how they will deal with guests' concerns (and perhaps their own) about the Omicron variant. We want to explore some of the options you have to be as inclusive and safe as possible.
Live-Streamed Weddings Are Very Popular Right Now
The technology to live stream anything did not exist even a few decades ago, but that has all changed now. It is affordable and easy to live-stream a wedding, and many couples choose to include this option even if they intend to hold the wedding in-person for other guests. Leaving the option open for people to attend the wedding via a live stream is a way to be as inclusive of those whose risk factors for catching COVID-19 might be higher than some others. It is a thoughtful way to try to bring as many people together as possible for the joyous event.
Set Up Sanitation Stations At The Wedding
It is unclear who first came up with the idea, but a lot of couples include a sanitation station and even throw in some hand sanitizer as a thank-gift to their guests. It is a fun and cute way to make things a bit safer and to acknowledge that there is still an ongoing pandemic. Bridalmusings.com included this quote from their Editor in Chief about how to make this part of the wedding fun:
"Yes, you can make wedding safety cute! We've seen all sorts of great ideas for sanitation stations on Pinterest & Etsy. Plus, favors that help guests be safe like masks, gloves, hand sanitizer, tissues & more." – Claire Eliza, Editor-in-Chief of Bridal Musings
What this means is that not every COVID-19 precaution has to be scary or anxiety-inducing for the guests. Instead, those getting married can opt to put their own spin on the preparations that they have made to help keep everyone as safe as possible.
Go For An Outdoor Wedding
Outdoor weddings are a lot of fun regardless of what else is happening in the world. If the weather permits, it might be ideal to host a wedding outdoors. After all, people love to get a smell of the fresh air and a look at the beautiful outdoor scenery that exists at most wedding venues, so why deny that to them?
COVID-19 is an airborne disease and is spread more easily from person to person when those people are indoors. Thus, the risk of a COVID outbreak at a wedding is obviously a lot higher when that wedding is held indoors. Announcing ahead of time that the wedding will be held outdoors may help to bolster attendance from those who might have stayed away if it were to be held inside.
Be Mindful Of Crowd Size Limitations
Some couples dream of a large wedding with all of their loved ones in attendance. However, that may not be possible in certain localities due to local and regional restrictions on crowd sizes. It is important to check the regulations in your area before you send out the invites. The AARP provides a helpful guide that details the current restrictions levied by each state in regards to crowd sizes, mask requirements, and other legal restrictions in place right now to try to control the spread of Omicron. The guide is updated regularly and should be consulted before making additional decisions about who will be invited.
In the event that crowd size restrictions do play a role in who gets to come to your wedding, you should try to explain this to those who get off the list as best as possible. You don't want to hurt anyone's feelings, but at some point, decisions have to be made when space is that limited.
Space Out The Seating Arrangements As Best As Possible
The limited number of people permitted to gather at your wedding are all probably close loved ones who are fond of each other. However, they shouldn't be made to sit very close together during the ceremony. Their natural inclination may be to sit close, but it is safer to provide some space between them.
One of the mixed blessings of crowd size restrictions may simply be the fact that the limited number of people permitted means that seating can be spaced out appropriately to allow for a safe distance between each guest.
Include Useful Reminders At The Entrance Of The Wedding
Despite the fact that we are a couple of years into the pandemic at this point, some people still need a gentle reminder about the rules that they are supposed to follow when they are at public events like this. To be fair, society as a whole didn't have to follow these restrictions until this pandemic came along, so there is still a learning curve that is to be expected.
Simple yet tasteful signs that explain the guidelines or rules for what is expected of all guests in regards to COVID-19 protocols can be extremely useful. It is a way of getting the message to everyone who attends the wedding without making anyone feel as though they are being singled out for their behavior.
It is absolutely possible to have a fun, joyous, and safe wedding despite the pandemic. You may have to take a few more measures than you otherwise would have before, but that is the world that we live in now. If you would like additional guidance about how to make your wedding a smashing success, please contact us for the latest advice and ideas.