How to Help Your Guests Have Fun and Feel Safe
When it comes to Covid-safety, your guests’ comfort levels will vary. Some will be delighted to be mixing again and want to hug every person they see, while others (especially those who may have been shielding) will be more cautious. It is important to consider all of your guests and how they may be feeling about Covid while you are putting the finishing touches on your special day.
So, here are some great ideas to ensure everyone is safe, and your special day is fun, whilst also following government ‘best practice’ and venue risk assessment policies.
Reassure guests before the wedding by sending them the venue’s Covid-safety guidelines and any additional information specific to your wedding. Let them know if you’ll be asking them to take a lateral flow test before coming so that they can be prepared, and tell them if the bar is card payments only. If you are moving the reception outside, they’ll want to dress accordingly and may want different shoes for dancing.
Before finalising your seating plan, in the same way you’d check for dietary requirements, check if any of your guests would rather they weren’t seated close to others.
Your guests won’t always know what’s expected of them, so make Covid-safety decisions clear to your guests through signage. It can still be fun and aesthetically pleasing, such as this clear, yet pretty, mask sign above! Taking a slightly tongue-in-cheek approach can make your restrictions clear without being scary or patronising.
Some of the signs we are seeing at weddings include:
- “Spread love, not germs!” at sanitising stations.
- “Distance makes the heart grow fonder – please respect people’s personal space” as social distancing reminders.
- “In the words of MC Hammer – “You can’t touch this!” Please wait for a member of staff to serve you” for buffet and dessert tables.
- “If you have forgotten your mask today, we’ve got you covered! Please help yourself to a spare” where masks are required.
- “Love is contagious! Please help us keep everyone safe by… list of key safety policies… thank you!” as Covid policy reminders.
- “Let’s party like it’s 2021! Thank you for helping us to celebrate safely” as a Covid-safety reminder.
Individual Wedding Cakes
Image courtesy of Lola’s Cupcakes
Displaying and cutting the cake is a key tradition, but you may want to reduce the potential risks that can come with handing out slices of a cake that has been on display. So, instead, why not have an iced polystyrene ‘dummy’ cake or a smaller wedding cake to cut, and then serve individual cupcakes to your guests? These can be part of your seated dinner or sent home as a treat at the end of the day. Not only is this safety-conscious, but it will also make your guests feel more special!
Social Distancing Identifiers
Social distancing wristbands are a great solution to help guests avoid any awkward hug-dodging situations! Guests communicate their comfort level with a traffic-light system of red, yellow or green bracelets or ribbons. Red means ‘please keep your distance’, yellow means ‘happy to chat but no physical contact’ and green means ‘happy with hugs and handshakes’. Even with many restrictions lifting, some of your guests will not be completely comfortable with hugging and kissing others just yet.
As an alternative to everyone wearing bright wristbands or ribbons, a polite social distancing badge may be perfect for guests wishing to keep their distance from others.
According to a recent Guides for Brides survey, 86% would prefer lateral flow tests before weddings to any other Covid-safe measure. We believe this common-sense approach is the most sensible way to keep venue staff, guests and suppliers safe at your event. Additionally, it will help those who are more nervous about attending, or those who are more vulnerable, to be able to relax and enjoy themselves at the event knowing all those attending have tested negative and aren’t likely to be infectious.
Track and Trace
Even when the legal requirement to check in with contact details ends, many venues will still give guests the option to register their contact details so that they can be notified if a staff member or anyone at the wedding subsequently tests positive for Covid. Using software such as Trusted Trace has been popular for those not wanting to check in using the NHS App and allows the venue and guests to be in direct contact with each other, immediately before and after the wedding day.
Image courtesy of Hey Draw Me
Help your guests maintain their personal space with strategic seating arrangements. While assigned seating is typically reserved for family members during the ceremony, you may want to have intentional placement for all guests at both the ceremony and the reception. Space the chairs in a distanced formation, or cluster seats together by household.
To avoid guests needing to crowd around your table plan, why not use individual plans for each table? You could make this even more fun with imagery instead of wording or let guests know which table they will be seated at in advance of the day and identify their placement with something fun like a cute caricature drawing of themselves at the table.
Image courtesy of Hey Draw Me
You can also help avoid guests mixing further by doubling up your individual table plans to become guest books. Have guests already sharing a table sign your table plans so you can treasure their messages for years to come.
Depending on where you are based in the UK, aside from the first dance, dancing may not yet be allowed. So, how do you entertain your guests and have the same energy on your day without breaking the rules? There are lots of activities you can (literally) bring to the table.
Here are some activity ideas:
- A game of Mr and Mrs. A funny game for guests to witness the couple playing. You sit back to back and vote on who is funnier / messier / the fastest to get ready in the morning / the best cook, etc. Make sure you pick the perfect M.C. for this one!
- Who said it? A game where guests guess which one of you said funny (or slightly controversial) statements. This is guaranteed to get laughs!
- A chair dancing competition. You as the couple can ask your guests to come up with their best in-chair dance moves to one of your favourite songs and you can each pick a winner (don’t forget to give them a little prize for their efforts).
- Wedding speech one-liners. Go around the room and ask your guests to stand and give a one-line speech or piece of advice for a happy marriage. This can be hilarious, especially when you try and get everyone involved.
- Never have I ever. This one may need to be reserved for an adults-only wedding reception!
Personalised Face Masks
Currently, wedding guests who are not usually exempt are required to wear a face covering indoors. Of course, depending on where you are based in the UK, this requirement may be changing. So, why not turn this into something personal? Use your colour themes so everyone matches, then you could include their names on the mask, initials, or your wedding date, such as these fun wedding masks above, to turn it into a unique wedding favour!
Needing guests to wear face coverings but want to be able to see their happy, smiling faces? You could choose to have clear face masks or masks with a clear panel so you can see your loved ones’ faces whilst still being safe! Clear facemasks will also help attending guests and staff members who may be deaf or hard of hearing to lipread without masks needing to be removed.
Another potential personalised feature (or even wedding favour) is hand sanitiser. You can now get some very fun miniature hand sanitisers or labels personalise bottles you’ve bought at the shops, such as these cute hand sanitiser labels above. So, instead of traditional favours, why not place a single sanitiser on each person’s ceremony chair or place setting? You could also set up sanitising stations that still blend with your wedding. Decorate these stations the same way you would a guest book table, for example.
Image courtesy of Andrea Fays on Not on the High Street
Over the summer months, many couples may decide to host their ceremony and reception outdoors to help with ventilation and improve guest numbers. This is especially true now the rules have changed in England and Wales to allow for outdoor weddings to be legally binding on the grounds of a licensed venue, until April 2022. However, we all know how unreliable British weather can be! So, you may want to make sure your guests aren’t caught out by unexpected weather. For example, having personalised umbrellas, as well as blankets, suncream and plenty of water available for your guests, are all great ideas.
Guests who can’t attend?
Image courtesy of Dine Delivered
If you have loved ones who will not be able to attend due to travel restrictions, self-isolation requirements or health issues you can still include them in your day. Live stream the event to ensure those who can’t attend are able to see you say “I Do”. You could also send celebration boxes to guests and ask them to toast from afar with a custom cocktail kit or mini bottle of bubbly. You could even send treats like a wedding cupcake or, in some cases, the full wedding meal from a catering supplier like Dine Delivered! Just because your guests cannot be present, doesn’t mean they can’t have a fun time celebrating your special day.
Whatever the circumstances, your day will be incredibly special! If you are looking for the latest government guidelines for weddings in your UK nation, read Weddings After Lockdown in 2021 for summaries of the rules and regulations of each country and for links to the official Government guidance.
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