New wedding regulations – 6 planning tips
As of June 23, 2020 when I write this blog post, restrictions within Ontario have been easing and small gatherings are being permitted once again. The Ontario government website states that outdoor wedding ceremonies may now have up to 50 guests and that indoor venues may hold up to 30% capacity for wedding ceremonies. Wedding receptions are still limited to groups of 10. Social distancing is still in effect for these group gatherings. Some couples are opting to go ahead with getting married with smaller groups instead of postponing and I wanted to share a few tips on making that work as seamlessly as possible.
I’ve gotten this question a lot – Couples that want to move forward with a smaller scale ceremony are having to disinvite guests who may have already received a wedding invitation. While normally this would be rather awkward, due to the unprecedented nature of what’s going on, I have found family and friends to be very understanding. Maybe decide that you will celebrate with a backyard party next year with everyone or think about live-streaming the ceremony. You can also blame the Ontario regulations or your venue for having to decrease your numbers if you do get any pushback.
Extra cleaning precautions
Venues will likely already have more intense cleaning measures but I’d recommend asking them what they are to show them you care about it being done correctly. Have a hand sanitizing station upon arrival very visible to guests with a sign asking every guest to use it. It doesn’t have to be ugly – you can get pump mason jars and fill them up with hand sanitizer (just make sure its 70% alcohol). Design a chalkboard sign and place it all on a nice small table.
Communicate with your guests
Let your guests know what tie expect when coming into the wedding. Perhaps you will have reserved seating for the ceremony (I talk about this below). Suggest bringing a mask for closer interactions. Ask to refrain from hugging and shaking hands and that social distance measures will apply.
Rearrange the format
Because receptions are not allowed for groups of more than 10, try including some of the wedding traditions in with your ceremony. For example include a first dance and cut a small cake during the ceremony to get these traditional photos & moments. Ask parents, siblings, friends etc. to give short speeches during or right after the ceremony while everyone is still seated.
I would recommend having place cards for the ceremony and group families that live together or are bubbling together in groupings of chairs together. Keep groupings 6ft apart, create more of a semicircle around the alter instead of rows. Get creative – it won’t look the way you are traditionally used to seeing ceremony seating, but it will help keep your friends and family safe.
Get creative with photos
Ask your photographer ahead of time for recommendations with getting larger groups of people in photos together, while staying distant. Play with depth of field and different positions.
If you are at a venue, ask how they are handling bathroom cleaning. I’ve seen certain stalls & sinks blocked off to keep distance and very frequent sanitization. If this is a backyard wedding, offer hand sanitizer upon entering the bathroom and disinfectant wipes on the counters.
Those are my 6 tips with working within the new wedding regulations to keep you and your guest as safe as possible. I will continue sharing tips as things progress and regulations are changed as well at tips to have a more eco-friendly wedding in my newsletter. Follow along with me as we navigate this new normal.