COVID-19 regulations and guidelines are changing rapidly, and vary by location. Before putting your safety plan and precautions into place, make sure you check the federal, state and local regulations applicable at the time of your event.
You’re used to having answers to every possible question your couples might send your way. From How much of this do I need? to How long do we have for that? sending confident and decisive replies has kind of always been your thing—that was until 2020 came along and put everyone in an unfamiliar situation of not having the answers. But, through it all, you put in the time to make sure you got each of your couples the best information and updates you could find.
COVID-19 severely impacted the personal and professional lives of millions and people have been holding onto optimistic expectations for what this year might be—optimism that often rested on the notion that a vaccine would become widely available. And, now that vaccinations have started, you (and your couples alike) might have a new list of questions you need to find the answers to. So today, we wanted to start a discussion about what the COVID vaccine might mean for weddings in 2021. Whether you’re asking for yourself or your couples are asking you, here are a few things to consider as you look to the future.
Wedding venue choices
We’ve learned a lot as an industry over the last year, and one of the lessons we should continue to keep in mind is what we’ve learned about indoor vs. outdoor spaces. Because the transmission of COVID is higher in enclosed and poorly ventilated spaces, outdoor wedding venues will continue to be a key factor in planning weddings that are as low-risk as possible—even as a vaccine starts to be widely administered. The CDC considers, “smaller outdoor and in-person gatherings in which individuals from different households remain spaced at least 6 feet apart, wear masks, do not share objects, and come from the same local area,” as a “more risk” activity. And, as of January 8, 2021, the CDC continues to recommend that anyone hosting an event, “ensure ventilation systems operate properly and increase circulation of outdoor air as much as possible, for example, by opening windows and doors.”
The takeaway: Outdoor, open-air, and well-ventilated wedding venues will continue to be popular with couples and a smart recommendation by pros.
Guest lists and travel
Though the COVID vaccines have been studied and proven to be highly effective in protecting individuals from the Coronavirus, there is still an important (and outstanding) question that will influence our ability to gather in large numbers and travel—whether the vaccine is effective in reducing or preventing transmission. Because this important factor is still being researched, it is still recommended that guest lists be kept small and travel limited when possible.
The takeaway: Encouraging couples to think of creative ways to ensure their celebration can go on safely, even as people start to be vaccinated.
Health and safety
According to the Mayo Clinic, “experts want to learn more about the protection that a COVID-19 vaccine provides and how long immunity lasts before changing safety recommendations. Factors such as how many people get vaccinated and how the virus is spreading in communities will also affect these recommendations.” So, as you work with and answer questions from your couples about how they can move forward with their wedding in 2021, the same health and safety recommendations you have been sharing will still be considered best practice. The good news? You’re already very familiar with ways to make weddings as safe as possible and you simply need to continue putting them into your plan.
- Practicing social distancing at all times between guests and staff
- Having guests and event staff wear face masks
- Incorporating technology to keep guests informed about any changes that get made
- Live streaming weddings to reduce the number of in-person guests but still including all your couple’s loved ones
- Planning shorter celebrations to limit the amount of time people spend together
The takeaway: There are still unknowns even though we have a COVID vaccine. Because of that, you and your couples should continue to implement safe wedding precautions.
Questions you might get from couples
Which brings us back to where we started—having answers for the pressing questions your couples have. And, while we don’t necessarily have the answers for you (you do need to formulate your own based on local regulations and what is best for your business), there are some familiar questions you are still likely to need answers for as well as some new ones. So, we encourage you to think about how you can prepare to confidently answer:
- What is the likelihood I will have to reschedule my wedding?
- If I have to postpone my wedding more than once, what does that look like?
- Can we restructure the amount I pay for a deposit?
- Have you had a COVID vaccine?
- What is your cancellation policy?
Looking for additional resources to help you navigate your couples and business through COVID? Be sure to read the top takeaways from our safety webinar.
Photo Credit: Ira Lichi/Shutterstock.com