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Couple Wearing MasksFor better and worse, 2020 has hit us with one surprise after another. When couples were planning their weddings in late 2019, the rise of a global pandemic was likely the furthest thing from their minds. As summer approaches, engaged pairs are grappling with how to proceed with their nuptials. Whether celebrating later due to a postponed date or trying to incorporate new ways of doing things, weddings during the rest of 2020 will be much different than in the past.

Live or Livestreamed?

As jurisdictions around the country deliberate about reopening and permitting public events, couples must decide whether to proceed with live hosted weddings or go the livestreamed route. Many who are tying the knot this fall find this decision especially difficult. No one can predict future outcomes with the COVID-19 pandemic, but experts warn that subsequent outbreaks could be worse than the first as the novel coronavirus spreads through newly opened public spaces. Live Science explains that these new waves could coincide with the United States’ annual flu season, making the impact even worse.

With these uncertainties, livestreaming your wedding may seem like the most attractive solution. You’ll be able to host your event, even with physical distancing, rather than risk cancellation if stay-at-home orders continue or are reinstated. If you go this route, you should keep a few suggestions in mind. Writing for the New York Times, journalist Daniel Bortz advises couples to choose their streaming services carefully, plan the logistics in advance, and test both your equipment and internet connection before go time. You may need to upgrade from free to paid services for options such as private streaming and additional time. Consider enlisting a friend to help set up and run the stream if you’re not tech-savvy.

Smaller Numbers, More Intimate Gatherings

If the best-case scenarios play out, you may be able to host your nuptials in person. However, you should consider having a smaller ceremony and reception. You may be limited to 10 people or fewer if the CDC’s guidelines remain in place for the rest of 2020. The Atlantic’s Ashley Fetters predicts that smaller gatherings will be the new norm after public spaces have opened for good. Mini ceremonies are becoming popular, with only family and close friends in attendance. Besides limiting the possible spread of COVID-19, these smaller events are simpler and cheaper to execute. Not only that, it’s usually easier to secure venues and vendors with a smaller guest list.

Safe Physical Distancing and Your Guests

If you host your wedding live, you and your vendors should discuss procedures to keep your guests safe. Some venues are already practicing distancing measures, as Wedding Wire’s Kim Forrest reports. Restaurant-style seating is slowly becoming the norm, with tables spaced several feet apart per CDC recommendations. At ceremony locations, guests are also seated farther apart. Ceremonies themselves are also getting shorter, typically lasting 15 minutes or less.

As vendors develop safe practices, you can expect many changes. Escort cards may disappear in favor of seating charts to reduce the risk of transmission. Wedding programs won’t go the way of the dinosaur, but you can print yours on a chalkboard or sign instead of handing out individual leaflets. You’ll probably see fewer buffets and more sit-down plated meals. Desserts will likely be individually sliced and served to guests. Buffets and food stations will downsize, with venue or catering staff wearing gloves and face masks to serve guests.

Plan Ahead and Celebrate Safely

Humans are both adaptable and indomitable, so weddings will likely continue through the rest of the year. Whether you host a small live event or stream yours online, the most important goal is to celebrate in ways that help keep you and your guests as healthy as possible.

Category: Wedding Planning

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