Weddings changed during the pandemic, becoming smaller with no more than fifty guests. Though intimate weddings have been around for many years now, they’re no longer optional these days, but the only choice couples have. As much we’d love to get hitched with all our friends, colleagues, and close relatives to watch, we can’t risk them getting sick.
If you and your fiance have gotten the shots already, you’re a bit luckier. You will no longer get sick even if you got exposed. But it’s a different story for those who haven’t been vaccinated yet. Even if you’re now immune to the virus, you can still carry it around and pass it on to the vulnerable. As such, if some of your wedding guests are unvaccinated, they might be at risk of getting infected.
To avoid health and safety disasters on your long-awaited destination wedding, note the pointers below:
1. Plan Your Budget
Budgeting is particularly important during the pandemic. Numerous people have lost their jobs to the lockdowns, after all. If you have guests who are short on finances, they may need your help in attending your destination wedding. It’s possible that they couldn’t afford the plane tickets if you’re tying the knot in a faraway state or abroad.
So set aside a transportation budget for important guests, like your parents, your future in-laws, or members of the entourage. Your photography and videography crew may need it too if they’re not based in the location of your wedding.
On the brighter side, a destination wedding during a pandemic also allows you to stretch your budget for other things, such as your dream wedding dress from your chosen store. Since most state regulations limit the number of guests at weddings, you can pay less for catering, and use the remainder of your budget for other important details. So, finalize your guest list as soon as you can, so that you can start planning where to spend the rest of your budget.
2. Pick an Outdoor Venue
Viruses spread faster in enclosed spaces. So choose an outdoor venue where the air circulates freely. If that won’t be an option, ensure that your indoor venue has good ventilation, at least. Even if you only have a few guests, the viral transmission will still be likely if the space’s ventilation is poor.
3. Find Out the State Regulations in Your Venue
Before sending out invitations, find out how many guests does your venue’s state allows for weddings. Regulations vary by state, so don’t assume that the rules in your hometown are the same as the others. If you’re too busy to study and memorize state regulations, enlist your wedding planner for the job. Find out if children and senior adults are allowed, as well as the conditions regarding unvaccinated people. It’ll be mortifying to send out invitations only to take them back later because the state regulations forced you to.
4. Consider Requiring Your Guests to Get Vaccinated
Getting vaccinated is everybody’s best defense against COVID-19. If some people on your guest list haven’t received their shots yet or refuse to receive them, tell them that you regretfully can’t invite them. It may feel awkward to treat your guests that way, but they should understand the risks they’d bring if they come without any protection. Face masks and social distancing can only do so much; they’ll be eating and dancing a lot, rendering those two potentially useless.
5. Offer COVID-19 Testing
If you still want to include your unvaccinated friends in your guest list, look into testing and see if you can offer that to them. But they have to be willing to isolate themselves before getting their results. If they tested negative one day and went off to party the next, they may acquire the virus and attend your wedding as a carrier. So as long as your guests are willing to cooperate, offering COVID-19 will be worth it.
6. Keep the Ceremony and Reception Short
Sadly, the pandemic calls for shorter celebrations because the risk of spreading the virus is related to the length of exposure. Hence, make the service as short as possible (as short as ten minutes, if you can), then follow through with an hour or two of reception. Take away the traditional games from your program, like catching the bouquet and the garter. Those games make social distancing impossible.
7. Have Fun
Just because you’re bound by health protocols and regulations doesn’t mean the fun is unattainable. You can still make the most out of your wedding by enjoying every moment. In fact, that’s one advantage of small weddings; you can enjoy longer moments with each of your guests. You wouldn’t have been able to do that at a grand wedding.
Don’t focus on what you can’t do. Focus on the other possibilities instead. Your wedding, after all, should be about you and your future spouse, not impressing others, even if they’re your guests.