The second surge of Coronavirus cases in Washington State has begun. In recent weeks hospitals have seen a dramatic increase in the infection rate and hospitalizations. The state government, led by Governor Inslee, has put into effect stricter protocols on group functions. Discover how we respond to COVID-19.
As the pandemic continues to impact our lives, we must learn to adapt to protect the lives of those we love.
What Did COVID-19 Change?
So, what are the new restrictions going into place at weddings and receptions? They haven’t changed much from before. Weddings are limited to 30 people in total. As you plan your changes, bear in mind that the cap includes your vendors. If you were planning a wedding with a string quartet, you need to have them in the total number present.
Using one of my typical weddings as an example, let’s say that the people required to attend are the bride, the groom, three attendants each (6 total), the officiant, and the photographer. That ten-person wedding party leaves twenty seats in the room. So, it is possible to have many of your circle of loved-ones present and still meet the guidelines. Of course, you can reduce the number of attendants to increase the seats. I have worked with many couples to ensure a safe gathering.
A potential pitfall is that the state has prohibited indoor receptions under the new guideline. Given our winter weather, gathering outdoors might be prohibitive, too. It may pay to plan a celebration for next summer when we hopefully put all this behind us.
Adapting Your Plans
So, all is not lost. These COVID-19 restrictions mean a little more planning and thoughtfulness about how we celebrate your wedding. Let’s talk about some options.
By keeping your wedding party small, you can maximize the number of guests. I showed you that a traditional wedding party with one photographer is ten seats in the example above. If you each have one attendant, that frees an additional four seats for your guests. I grant that it isn’t a huge wedding, yet your friends and family can fill the room with their joy in a smaller venue.
Elope Now, Party Later
Many couples are choosing to elope during the pandemic and celebrate with a vows renewal later. For this, we need only you, two witnesses, a photographer, and me. We can pop up the elopement practically anywhere and film or live stream it for your friends and relations. Later, when we can safely gather in groups, we can reenact the ceremony as a renewal of your vows to one another.
I’ve mentioned shooting video a couple of times. Recording or streaming your wedding, whatever the size, is an excellent way to involve more than the thirty person cap. With a little planning, we can pre-record a message, especially for those attending via the Internet. You may engage a videographer to put together the concept or shoot live from a phone.
The ultimate video experience is an entirely virtual wedding. Virtual in the sense that we can all be present in a Zoom room. The trick with a virtual wedding is coordinating the paperwork. If your witnesses are present with you, I can guide you through getting everyone’s signature, and you can mail the documents to me. I certify everything, sign off on the license registration, and send everything off to the county recorder. It’s a complicated but manageable challenge.
The new COVID-19 restrictions, intended to give the medical community needed relief, raise challenges for couples planning to wed in the next few weeks. Those challenges are quickly addressed by remaining flexible and pivoting to adapt to the new scenario. Take a close look at your guest list. Who is in a vulnerable population? Who is most likely to bring joy to a live celebration while willingly following safe gathering protocols? How can we involve the people in your community of “framily” that can’t be there on your wedding day?
Give me a call at (360) 926-0010 or drop me a line at Jim@RevJimBeidleWeddings.com and let’s figure this out together.