There's no doubt that keeping safe during the COVID-19 pandemic is a must, and science points to being quarantined at home as the safest way of doing so. However, now that Michiganders have been living in isolation for over a year, postponed plans like wedding dates are beginning to crop up on calendars once again.
For those who are faced with tying the knot during the pandemic, here are six tips to ensuring that the event is as safe as it can possibly be.
1. Whatever you do, start with professional advice.
The World Health Organization has two categories of advice for small events during COVID-19: for attendees and organizers. Attendees are advised to check local safety regulations before attending an event, staying at home if feeling unwell and complying with these safety measures:
- Maintain at least 1 meter (6 feet) of distance from other guests.
- Wear a mask.
- Cover sneezes and coughs with a bent elbow, immediately disposing of any tissues used in a closed container.
- Avoid touching your eyes, nose and mouth.
- Wash hands frequently with soap and water or by using a hand sanitizer.
For hosts, the rules are much the same, but go further to encourage reminding guests of local health requirements; choosing outdoor or well-ventilated spaces to hold the event; staggering arrivals and departures; and providing necessary hygienic supplies.
2. Keep up-to-date on the latest safety regulations.
Perhaps one of the most useful tools for event planning or attendance on this list is the Gathering Guide from Plannie, an event management company: plannie.com/gathering-guide. This crowdsourced event guideline table gives a thorough overview of event and gathering restrictions by state and, in some cases, county.
While it shouldn't be used as a replacement for checking local guidelines everywhere, it provides a great starting point to learn about the maximum number of persons allowed to gather in regions both in the U.S. and around the world.
3. Test, and test frequently.
Being aware of one's COVID-19 status is always good practice. At least 72 hours before hosting or attending an event, it's important to get tested to ensure that one will not pass along COVID-19. Wedding hosts should require it of attendees as well. Immediately after an event, getting another test is important, too.
The best place to search for a COVID-19 test in Michigan is through the michigan.gov website, which provides no-cost testing as well.
4. Have fun with the photos.
That seems like a given at any wedding, but it's possible that the social distancing requirements at events held during COVID-19 can be utilized as best as possible. On weddingpro.com, New Orleans wedding photographer Catherine Guidry shared ideas to capture the event safely.
"When it comes to photography, there are a few ways to keep your images beautiful and memorable while staying safe! Because your guests are going to be wearing masks, consider passing out masks that match the wedding colors so that, in your photos, it becomes a part of the aesthetic," she said.
The site also recommends thinking outside the box when it comes to honoring family and friends who cannot attend.
"… Think about creating a life-size photo cutout of any important family members who cannot attend! You can incorporate it into a portrait with you to show them how much you are missing and thinking about them on your big day. Plus, it's sure to get some laughs!"
5. Incorporate Safety into your wedding's organization.
Beyond matching masks to the wedding theme, there are also ways of making social distancing requirements a potentially fun and tasteful experience. Dallas wedding planner Jacqueline Hill of Jacqueline Events suggested translating the aesthetic wedding mask design to markers around the event denoting social distancing.
"A wedding during COVID-19 doesn't have to be design compromised to be safe. We incorporated our bride's monogram and colors into vinyl markers instead of using bright yellow stickers," she said. "This allowed guests to know where to stand at the guest book and bars but matched the remainder of the decor so that they didn't stick out. Have fun with them or make them serious — either way, you can make them pretty!"