“Much can be overcome by the strength of the soul, much by religion, even more by hope, but love triumphs over all.” (Jaroslav Vrchlický)
Etiquette may be a venerable lady of advanced years, but she’s still trendy and keeps up with the times. The situations she must respond to today are not entirely positive, but the times demand it. Covid stirred up the world and turned the rules and age-old laws on their head across disciplines and continents. Unfortunately, even one of the most amazing celebrations and events in our lives, a wedding, has also been not been spared. Therefore, I decided to write a blog in which I will try to guide you through the changes that this trickster is responsible for when it comes to this particular event. There aren’t many, but one thing you can count on is that it certainly won’t take away from us the positive and fun spirit of this entire affair, because it simply doesn’t have that kind of power.
WHAT HAS IT TAKEN FROM US AND WHAT HAS IT BROUGHT:
Disinfection as a part of the decor
The first gift we probably didn’t care for was disinfection. Until recently, disinfectant products were definitely not one of the basic elements of wedding decorations, but today everything is different and they should definitely be counted on. You are right to feel faint, as you ask how to make a plastic bottle, usually not your best designer-style decoration, available to guests and at the same time not spoil the whole, otherwise perfectly-matched, decor. One option is to equip your guests with their own personal bottle of disinfectant upon their arrival, bespoke and in tune with the decorations, which, even if they don’t immediately hide it away in their purse, will look like it definitely belongs on the table. Or, not be afraid of it and set out hygienic disinfectant wipes on the table, which you place in a tailor-made package and with the name of each guest, for example instead of name cards, and turn them into a perfect modern design element of festive decoration. And you will surely come up with other ideas – remember, there are no limits on creativity.
Face masks and gloves as a new trend
I admit that this combination also sounds a little strange to my ears, a bit of a Hannibal Lecter style wedding, but here, too, I have an idea: Why not elevate this duty to the status of a playful design accessory? For example, I would offer face masks to all guests in colors and patterns that matching the overall decor. In a few years, when you look back at the photos, you will appreciate the originality. You can sell it to your descendants with an amazing story: you know, that was an exceptional time, but we made it our own and different. Or you can leave it to the guests and trust that they will bring face masks matching their attire. And gloves? These can simply be perceived by guests as a “normal” accessory for formal attire. Gloves are nothing unconventional –on the contrary– they have always been an elegant part of the festive dress code.
Ceremonies and Social Distancing
Wedding ceremony halls will preference standing room for guest, allowing them to maintain a comfortable distance from their nearest neighbors. Don’t be angry with the officials if they ask you, as wedding guests, to stand a little further apart during the ceremony than would be natural for you. Those who prefer to sit must also expect the seats to be farther apart than usual.
Why not, it may be a little longer since guests will be standing with more space between them than before, and you’ll just walk through, smile, and lightly nod your head. None of the guests should feel threatened by this tradition.
A Slightly Different Buffet.
The buffet is a desirable and comfortable form of eating, to which, like many other certainties, we will have to say goodbye, at least temporarily. And if you still insist on it, then I recommend covering each dish, serving only small portions, and replenishing as soon as it is eaten. Also instruct someone to make sure that each guest uses two sets of cutlery. One for serving food from common plates onto his or her plate and the other to consume the food itself.
Dance is an indispensable part of weddings and it is difficult to imagine a wedding without it. If you want to be careful, then one of the solutions can be, for example, creating more places where you can dance. And of course, in a smaller number of people. If you have the opportunity, then an open-air dance floor is also a great solution. With all this, the possible risk of infection can, to a certain extent, be eliminated and you will not have to forgo dancing as an integral part of the wedding.
NEW TRENDS IN WEDDING CEREMONIES AND RECEPTIONS
When you look at the pros of a micro-wedding, you may just fall in love with it. It is a very intimate wedding celebration with a limited number of guests, which on the other hand allows you to enjoy a unique experience in places where you would never fit with a larger number of people. And in time, when it becomes possible, you can have a big party with everyone who couldn’t attend this little one. A micro-wedding will probably save you some of the money that will come in handy for a later event.
A virtual wedding is a unique way to experience an intimate wedding with just those closest to you, to create a truly grandiose and magical atmosphere for a fraction of the price and to actually have a kind of public film of the event for those who could not attend. It is also absolutely ideal for cases where most of the guests are from abroad and due to travel restrictions, their chances of participation are almost nil. It is a useful tool to experience this great moment from a distance.
Open-air Weddings Promise Greater Freedom
Crowds of guest gathered in a room will doubtless still engender fears. So, what about taking a different approach, and hold the wedding out in the open air?
New “tips” for a wedding celebration
If the implementation of social distancing and restrictions on gathering in large groups continue, then it will be necessary for couples to adapt the style of the wedding ceremony and subsequent celebrations. You can choose for example:
A Celebration in Shifts
It sounds funny, but why not? You always invite only the permitted number of guests to the celebration and limit it in time, then say goodbye to them, clean everything properly, disinfect it and welcome other guests. The purpose of this measure is to maintain the opportunity to celebrate your day on a specific date with all invited guests, while adhering to the principles of social distance and limiting the number of those gathered.
You can organize several separate events at once with a limited number of guests who are close as a group, and each of them always devote yourself for a while and have fun with a given group of guests. There could be dinner somewhere, while elsewhere there is a reception or the next day a brunch. Unlike a shift celebration, this can take an entire weekend. Again, you will not endanger your safety or the safety of your guests and you will abide by all the rules.
Some good advice to wrap things up: wedding website
Although we are not big fans of dealing with things remotely and electronically, I must admit that if I were getting married today, I would certainly set up a wedding website as an aid. The times are turbulent and so that my guests feel securely informed at all times, I would not hesitate to have a website created. In my opinion, today this is the best way to stay in constant contact with your guests. You can share details with them online regarding accommodations, transportation and all hygienic and safety measures. This will save you a lot of time you would otherwise spend on the phone and explaining all changes or minor alterations to everyone individually who was invited.
I believe that it is clear from my article that whenever a problem arises, there is always a solution. You don’t have to worry about your big day not happening. It’s just a question of when and how. Don’t give up and don’t stop believing, because despite all the viruses in the world, it will be the most amazing experience. After all, a wedding is a celebration of love, and love moves mountains!
In the event of a sudden announcement of restriction of the number of guests, how do I cancel invitations for those that have already been invited?
Maybe you can start by putting the burden on your guests by letting them decide for you. Send them a small questionnaire where you simply ask them: “If our event takes place on schedule, would you not mind attending it?” If some answer that they are sorry but do not feel very comfortable attending, then your guest list will be automatically reduced. If that’s still not enough to meet restrictions and you must decide which of the other guests to exclude from the list, then choose those whom you can see regularly and who are not your family members. If you choose a polite form of communication, they will certainly understand and accept it. Given the current events surrounding coronavirus, everyone knows that gatherings may be limited from hour to hour, so everyone somewhere, albeit subconsciously, anticipates that this may happen. This tactic will ensure that most people will have the opportunity to celebrate with you in some way, only some will have it sooner and others later. Once you’ve completed your final scaled-down guest list, the easiest way to let those who didn’t fit in know it is to call them. The fact that they will hear this from you personally with an explanation will definitely make it easier for them to understand the whole situation. Reassure them that you are looking forward to celebrating it together in the near future and on a suitably grand scale. I do not recommend sending out a bulk email or posting this information on your wedding website. Some of the more sensitive ones might get the impression that they are not as important to you as they thought.
How do I let guests know that the wedding is cancelled entirely?
If you have a wedding website, put a message on it informing guests about your changed plans. Take a look at the guest list and determine which style of announcement is more suitable for whom: printed or electronic, or both. If the whole situation brings you down so much that you do not feel up to it, then delegate this task to someone close to you or agree with the person who is helping you organize the celebration.
Can I wear my wedding dress twice?
This could mean, for example, for a micro-wedding and then at a ceremony for a wider audience in “freer” times, when you and your husband reaffirm your wedding vows. Or maybe you will want to wear the dress to the reception, because you had the ceremony a few months earlier… the short, clear answer is: Of course! Guests will definitely want the bride to wear her dress, so that they can experience the whole show. When it comes to dresses, in these strange days, there are no rules. Know that you have complete freedom to express your personal style. Veils and various accessories can create so many variations of a single dress that it will look unique for every occasion. You also usually spend a lot of money on the dress and you have a unique relationship with it, so wearing it twice is definitely worth it. Beautiful dresses deserve the largest possible audience!
Should we even create a gift registry, if we are well-aware that some of our guests have lost their jobs, and therefore also their incomes?
Leave it to the guests to decide, but add a respectful note. It’s okay to create a gift register, guests know very well that you had no control over this situation, and due to the circumstances, you should not miss anything that is part of a real wedding, and gifts are one such thing. But remember that wedding gifts are by no means mandatory. For example, add a note to your gift list that says, “We understand that many of you have suffered a loss of income as a result of Covid-19. In any case, we do not expect any gifts from you as guests and the greatest pleasure for us will be to see you there. But we want to assure you that we will be incredibly grateful for every gift we still receive.” A handy tactic is to add some so-called barter gifts for services and entertainment. Who says an offer to paint a living room, provide garden maintenance or hairdressing service is not a wonderful gift? Consider exchanging the idea of physical and monetary gifts for services and entertainment. When the restrictions are over, you will want to spend a lot of time with the people you love, so why not connect it all?
If we cancel the wedding, what about the gift registry?
Unfortunately, it is then polite to also cancel the gift registry.