Even though COVID restrictions have gotten more relaxed in many cities/states and weddings are now able to happen, that doesn’t necessarily mean that they can happen as they normally would. Many couples are now having to figure out how to have a socially distant wedding. Here are our tips on planning one!

Socially Distant Wedding: What Is It?

According to Brides.com, the official definition of a socially distant wedding is:

A socially distant wedding is a ceremony and/or reception that follows the social distancing measures put in place by state and local governments to mitigate the spread of a contagious disease. Such measures might include a limited guest count and specific regulations, such as no congregating and special seating, to ensure that guests stay six feet apart, at minimum.

12 Ways to Have a Socially Distant Wedding

Here are 12 of our tips on have to have a socially distant wedding. Be sure to check out our blog post on how to postpone your wedding, if that’s something you’re also trying to navigate!

1. Consider different wedding options

Of course, there’s always the option to consider alternative options to having a big wedding. Remember, you can always have something small and intimate now, and have the big party later!

2. Livestream your wedding

If your first priority is to get married, then you might consider livestreaming your wedding. This will allow guests who aren’t comfortable being at a wedding to watch you get married!

We highly suggest hiring an AV expert if you decide to go this route. They will be able to set up the cameras where they need to go, have everything recorded, and even set up a projector screen so that your Zoom guests can be seen by you!

3. Limit your guest count

You may choose to limit your guest count. This is especially applicable if your venue or local laws prohibit you from having the number of guests that you were originally planning for.

Your guest list may be organically reduced due to travel restrictions, depending on how many out-of-state guests that you plan on having.

Once you consider who will be able to come to your big day (think out-of-town, immunocompromised, or elderly guests), you’ll have a better idea of how much more you need to reduce your guest list by… if at all!

4. Spread out ceremony seating

At a typical wedding, ceremony seating is very close-together and guests are usually sitting side-by-side. If you have a large guest count, you may want to re-consider this.

If you are having your ceremony in a place of worship, then it will usually be very easy to spread out your guests. This is also the case with an outdoor wedding.

If your ceremony is in a smaller indoor space, then you may want to re-consider how seating will be placed. Will it be possible to space them out? If not, you may have to consider a different ceremony location.

5. Consider alternate seating options for the reception

You may want to consider how you are setting up tables and chairs for your reception. In recent years, it’s become very popular to have long tables that are close together for a more intimate feel during dinner. However, that might not be your best option during COVID.

If at all possible, try to spread your tables apart as much as you can. It’s also a good idea to make sure that people who live together are the only ones sitting at a table!

6. Change up your catering plan

You may want to also think about your catering set-up. A lot of people choose to have a buffet reception, because it’s easy and people can control their own portions. With everyone touching the utensils and food, though, this may not be something that you want to do right now!

If you’re absolutely set on a buffet-style, see if your caterer can arrange it so that servers are serving everyone their food from the buffet table.

If you are open to other options, you might consider choosing a plated dinner. Or, having food stations with a server at each station!

7. Photobooth & guestbook changes

Next, you may choose to make changes to your photobooth and/or guestbook to have a more socially distant wedding.

Think about it this way: everyone is touching the photobooth props and guestbook pens. Do you really want that right now?

One option for the photobooth is to skip the props altogether and opt for an amazing backdrop. There are also digital photobooth options that can include props in your images digitally!

An option for the guestbook is to have a virtual guestbook. This way, everyone can sign it from their own phone/device. You can eventually print it out to have as a keepsake, too!

Another option for the guestbook is to simply make sure you have enough pens so that everyone can take theirs with them.

8. Maximize dance floor space

An obstacle that a lot of couples are running into when trying to plan a socially distant wedding is trying to figure out the best option for a dance floor. There are some ways that you can have a dance floor at your wedding while maintaining social distancing!

One option for this is to have satellite dance floors. This is where you have a few spaces for a dance floor throughout your reception space, so that everyone doesn’t have to be crowded together on one dance floor! You can do this with your bar, too.

Of course, this option may still make you nervous. You can always skip the dance floor… or move it outside!

9. Shorter wedding = better favors?

During this time, a lot of weddings are ending earlier than they typically would. Because of this, you may want to consider investing some more money into your favors! Rather than thinking about what their experience is near the end of the wedding (when guests are usually dancing and drinking), you can put some more thought into what their experience will be after the wedding.

10. Consider a staycation

Unfortunately, COVID is affecting more than just the wedding. Many couples’ honeymoons are being affected too.

If you’re nervous about going away on a honeymoon, you can consider a staycation! This is a safe choice for couples who just aren’t comfortable with traveling right now. This could be a mini road trip to the beach or mountains, exploring your own city, or even renovating your new house together. It’s not the location that matters, it’s the quality time that you are spending together!

In case you are traveling for your honeymoon, be sure to get honeymoon insurance. Travel insurance is always a good thing when we aren’t sure what the future holds!

11. Face masks

One of the biggest things that you’ll have to consider right now for your wedding is the use of face masks. If your venue is indoors, then your county may require face masks. There just isn’t a way around that if it is a part of local or venue guidelines.

If you have the ability to make masks optional, and are choosing to do that, we highly recommend that you state that on your website and/or wedding invitations. This way, people will know whether or not they’re comfortable attending and if they should bring a mask with them.

If you are requiring masks, you may choose to have a table with some masks on them for guests that may have forgotten them.

12. Utilize color coded bracelets or pins

Finally, a way to have a socially distant wedding is to give your guests color coded bracelets or pins. These will be different color bracelets or pins that signify whether or not the guest is okay with hugging/handshakes, being close to other guests, or wants to be left alone. The guest can choose which color they’d like to wear!

This can be utilized at a table with face masks and hand sanitizer, too.

For more tips on how to have a socially distant wedding, please feel free to contact us! We offer a wide variety of wedding planning services and are more than happy to help you out.