Planning a Wedding During COVID-19
Planning to Keep Your Wedding in 2020!?
How to plan a less-risky socially-distanced wedding, and still have a great time!
The Metropolitan Players played their first in-person wedding since quarantine on Saturday, June 27, 2020. It was also the first wedding for the venue, the photographer, the videographer, the makeup artist, the florist - and of course - the couple. Before we say anything else, we have to say that it was an absolute JOY being back in action. Our couple was fun, sweet, easy-going, and surprisingly super calm. That really set the tone for the whole night, which was an absolute blast.The guests were amazing, the vendor team was great, and the band was thrilled to be celebrating with our couples again!
Everyone involved did their best given this was a very new situation for all of us. Yes, we’ve all read the blogs, and have paid attention to the governmental guidelines - but actually being in person is a whole new ballgame!
So many things were done extremely well. For example, every single vendor and every venue staff member wore a mask the whole night. There were sanitization stations set up throughout the venue in most of the entryways and high traffic areas. There were signs posted that encouraged guests to keep their distance, and only one person was allowed in the restroom at a time. The tables were spaced 6 feet apart, and the couple had downsized their wedding from over 150 to 60 guests to accommodate gathering size restrictions and recommendations.
Before the wedding, we had a discussion with our couple regarding the size of the band, and decided on a 4-piece group to better accommodate the space and wedding size restrictions. The couple expected their guests to be a bit too cautious to dance, so they requested low-key, cocktail style music, and agreed we should play to the vibe in the room if the vibe happened to change.
As soon as we started playing the kind of music they requested, the dance floor filled up with couples slow dancing with each other. So we decided to pick up the tempo a bit, and just about every single guest ended up on the dance floor.
We quickly found that after so many months in quarantine, cooped up with the same people, doing the same old routine, people were ready to dance. Our job is to get everyone dancing and having a great time - and that’s something we’re pretty darn good at doing - so we weren’t totally surprised. That said, I don’t think any of us expected all of the guests to so freely join the dance floor - most without masks.
Since this wedding went so well, we’re using this wedding as a learning experience to offer recommendations and advice to help keep you, your guests, and your vendors comfortable, and to minimize the risk of spreading COVID at your wedding. So if you’re planning to keep your wedding in 2020, we’re here to say that it’s totally possible - and here are some things to consider when it comes to music and dancing!
Ask Your Band if they’re flexible, and can send a smaller band if needed
Although we’re sure many of the couples reading this are working with us (The Met Players!!!), if you’re not, and you have a band booked, it’s worth asking them if they’re willing and able to downsize the band if you have headcount restrictions, or are significantly downsizing your guest list.
Our 6/27 couple asked for this as soon as they knew they might have to downsize, and they’re the whole reason we’re now offering this to other couples. In our experience, most wedding vendors are trying to be flexible with their service offerings, and provide options that better fit the current circumstances. So it doesn’t hurt to ask! Your vendors are going to know their own area of expertise best, and should be able to offer their best recommendation on how to proceed.
Downsizing? We recommend sticking with a large room!
At this particular wedding, the couple downsized their wedding from about 200 people in a large ballroom to about 60 people in a smaller space typically set aside for an indoor cocktail hour. The tables were 6 feet apart, and the dance floor was downsized to about an 8x8 square. This was a perfect size because the only planned dancing was the first dance, and parent dances.
If you’ve read this far, you know that we did a little more than the special dances! So if like this couple, you need to downsize your wedding guest list to accommodate size or capacity caps, we’d suggest keeping your wedding in a large room or space rather than downsizing to accommodate the smaller guest list. Once again - downsizing the room on 6/27 wasn’t the wrong decision - it was the best decision anyone could have made at the time, based on expectations of what the celebration would look like. But now that we know people will want to dance, we can help the rest of you plan ahead!
The hope is that your venue will be understanding and accommodating to this type of request, even if they typically reserve their larger rooms for larger guest counts. The least you can do is ask to see if they’d be willing to either keep, or move you into a larger space. That way, you, your guests, your vendors, and the venue staff will feel more comfortable moving around freely. And your guests will be more inclined to dance, knowing there’s plenty of space.
Creative dance floor plans to keep your guests socially-distanced
Once the wedding gets going, and your guests have a few drinks in them, it’s going to be harder to manage and enforce social distancing and mask wearing. Our suggestion is to assume your guests are going to dance, and consider setting up the room ahead of time to encourage your guests to keep their distance.
Design the Dance Floor
If you have a large space for dancing in the center of the room - or even off to the side of the room - we’d suggest adding a design to the dance floor that encourages your guests to dance in pods with their household, significant other, or table. You can add circles or boxes at least 6 feet apart from each other, with table numbers in the center so people know where to go. You can place “polka dots” across the dance floor at least 6 feet apart, then