By CAROLINE LANGHAM
ten Ways To Plan An Amazing Covid Wedding With Confidence
Today has seen the latest Covid Tier updates further demonstrating the difficulties of trying to plan your perfect wedding during a global pandemic!
This blog explains how you can still forge ahead with your plans and provides some practical tips on how to move forward through these difficult times and hopefully how to book your 2021 wedding with confidence.
1 Take a Deep Breath and establish where you are now in your wedding planning.
You may have already re-planned your wedding numerous times, and we feel your pain. Like us, you have no doubt been through multiple ups and downs already, and we are painfully aware that you may feel reluctant to start re-planning again. You may have decided to trim down your dreams to help with budgets or to ease logistical worries. Or just like Jess and Dan, who married here at the beginning of August 2020, you may have always wanted a micro-wedding, so 2021 is the perfect time to Plan the Perfect Small Wedding.
2 Understand the Rules and Guidance in place right now
So what are the rules for Weddings currently?
GUEST NUMBERS – Currently 15 (including the two of you) unless you’re in Tier 4, then a wedding of 6 is permitted only in exceptional circumstances.
TRAVELLING TO A WEDDING
VENUES in Tiers 1 and 2:
a) Can host wedding ceremonies and receptions for up to 15 guests travelling from Tiers 1 and 2 only.
b) Can host the wedding ceremony only for 15 guests travelling from Tier 3, therefore NO reception (includes any food or drinks).
c) Cannot hold either a ceremony or a reception for Tiers 4 and 5.
VENUES in Tier 3:
a) Can host wedding ceremonies only – NO receptions permitted.
VENUES in Tier 4:
a) Can host wedding ceremonies for six people is exceptional circumstances only.
3 Try to consider what might happen next
We’ve set down our opinions on all thing wedding-related. These are based on our understanding of the rules, guidance, and experience of the last nine months operating a wedding venue during a pandemic. They should not be taken as fact but are heavily considered thoughts.
We feel that the magic number of 15 guests will remain in place at least until UK infection rates and deaths reduce again to the levels we saw back in August.
After this time, we may see a gradual easing of restrictions and further guests being allowed, potentially up to 30 in total. I the vaccine is rolled out quickly, we may see some easing around May or June?
Travel between Tiers
With today’s predominant increase in restrictions to Tier 4, movement around the UK will be very limited for the next month or more. Don’t be put off, seek out venue’s that continue to operate virtually. Your plans don’t need to stop.
We feel that social distancing will be here for most of 2021. Vaccines may allow distances to be reduced, but some level of restriction will remain. These restrictions will affect venue capacity, so keep smaller guest numbers to the front of your mind.
When thinking about your guest list, try to avoid lots of tiny bubbles. These create problems for venues as each needs to be socially distanced throughout the day and may affect the number of guests you will invite. Consider who you ask. Will they be flexible and understand if the rules change and you have to uninvite them. It’s maybe helpful to explain this in your invitation to avoid awkward discussions if the restrictions change for the worse.
Live Music and Dancing
These restrictions are likely to remain in place for some time. We’d suggest thinking carefully before booking live artists for 2021, as it may reduce your guest numbers. A playlist takes no space and is free.
4 Start Your Wedding Planning Journey
With most of us in Tier 4 and finding time on our hands, now is the perfect time to plan, or re-plan for your big day. Coronavirus doesn’t have to win the day!
5 Find Your Ideal Location and Wedding Venue
First – You need to consider your location. It’s super important right now as travel to and from Tiers may be an issue for about another 4-6 months.
If the Destination Wedding is definitely for you, then be aware of all of the above and factor that in. Here is some excellent advice on HOW TO FIND THE PERFECT SMALL WEDDING VENUE
Once you’ve found your perfect wedding venue, connect with them as soon as possible. If you are still hoping for a 2021 wedding, dates will be scarce due to 2020 postponements. Make use of digital technology. Many venues offer virtual show rounds and risk-free deposit schemes that allow you to hold a date until you can visit in person.
6 Consider all of your Wedding Options
Start with your guest lists. What are your minimum and maximum numbers? How low are you prepared to go if restrictions remain?
What style of wedding would be perfect for you? Are you happy to ‘Tie the Knot’ in a simple yet classic way with a simple Ceremony Only? Would you prefer a slightly longer celebration with a drinks reception and a meal as an intimate day wedding, or would you choose a full weekend wedding with overnight stays at your venue or nearby? Things to consider are your food options, accommodation, guest travel and those potential Tier restrictions and how they could affect each of these elements.
7 Try to Build in Flexibility
Book with confidence. Talk to your venue about the options to book something relatively small initially with opportunities to enhance your day closer to the time.
Here at Cote How we are booking all 2021 weddings for 15 guests with the option to add guest numbers with a fixed price per head that can be added 4-8 weeks before the date up to our maximum capacity.
We suggest that couples book a “Ceremony Only” wedding initially, with the options to add more time to include a drinks reception and possibly a wedding breakfast reception later. This approach removes the risk of disappointment, reduces the upfront cost, and allows the flexibility to enhance your plans, depending on the restrictions that apply to your ceremony’s date.
With in-person venue viewings being tricky at present, we offer a personal live virtual tour over Zoom or Teams from the comfort and safety of your own home. If you like what you see, we will hold your desired wedding date with a smaller, fully refundable holding deposit.
Once able to travel we can arrange your in-person show round, after which you have the option to continue with your booking or cancel with a guaranteed full refund of your holding deposit.
8 Try to Stay Ahead of the Guidance
As we know from previous experience, Boris threw a few curve balls during 2020. Remember this and try to keep your plans as fluid as possible. Keeping a positive mind, set to the thought that you WILL get married, makes any adaptions you have to make all the easier accommodate.
9 Have a backup plan
Set boundaries of what you are willing to compromise on and what might be a deal-breaker for you. Talk to your venue and other wedding suppliers if things do change, or you are worried at any point. Knowing their parameters will help keep you informed and give you the confidence to move forward. What will you do if your boundaries are reached, and are they realistic?
10 Stay in Touch - Communication is key
Keeping in touch with your venue will help keep plans up to date and in line with ever-changing guidance. Your venue will usually be able to offer you some helpful tips to put your mind at ease.
Using digital technology will help throughout your planning. We use digital communications as a venue and provide each couple with a wedding portal to organise documentation, such as quotes, contracts, To-Do lists and How-To crib sheets, plus the ability to schedule appointments and set reminders for your wedding payment plan.
The power of Zoom. 2020 has seen the nation zooming. This is an easy to use tool, great for meetings and streaming wedding ceremonies to guests who cannot attend. We wrote a blog on this very subject – HOW TO INCLUDE EXCLUDED GUESTS WITH A VIRTUAL WEDDING.
Many couples make websites for their weddings so that guests can log in and access information from their own homes. Whatsapp and Messenger groups are a great way of keeping in touch with your guests in a group chat too.
You can add a postcode into this page to find out the local levels in place there now.
Find out the Coronavirus Restrictions in your Local Area
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You might be interested in this blog which provides some practical tips on HOW TO COVID PROOF YOUR WEDDING.