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How to have a wedding during a pandemic. Tips from the pros

By Darcel Rockett, Chicago Tribune on

Published in Fashion Daily News

Cooper: You might have been working with a summer color palate and now you're getting married in December. So, in those cases, we just say go with what you have. You have planned a wedding. Forget the seasons and do what was planned for you and your fiance. If you were wearing a sleeveless or strapless dress because you were getting married in the summer and now that you're getting married in December. Maybe find a nice shawl, or fun leather jacket with "just married" on the back.

On masks, gloves and hand sanitizer becoming the new wedding favors:

Rogers: Clean and safe options for guests attending the event is a huge concern. Options to alleviate some of these worries could include hand sanitizing stations throughout the space, a "mask bar" with a variety of face masks tying into your wedding aesthetic, such as black tie masks for a formal affair or gingham masks for a rustic outdoor wedding. Couples could also have some fun and have some vibrant masks for dancing featuring sequins, etc.

Cordogan: Guest amenities such as wipes, hand sanitizer - these practices will likely continue as time goes on. The traditional receiving line, where guests greet the newlyweds with hugs and kisses, should be omitted since it creates an awkward environment for social distancing.

On food options, indoor venues, etc., changing given physical distancing concerns:

Rogers: Instead of a traditional plated meal or buffet, a fun option could be to have unique stations featuring smaller portions that are prepackaged. This could include your favorite foods as a couple, prewrapped street tacos, noodles in takeout containers or grab-and-go sweet treats!

Cooper: Perhaps you were looking for a venue that was all inside, but now you're looking for a venue that's got an inside/outside option (to eliminate guests feeling confined). Talking with your vendors and figuring out how they can adapt original plans, contracts ... it's really about sitting down with your vendors and really having those conversations.

Cordogan: Another option is a well-done, covered boxed meal ... think bento box-style. This can provide high-level safety and guest reassurance by offering meals that have been prepared and sealed in a sanitary environment. The boxes can be designed to match your decor or wedding vibe. The seal on each box can detail the menu provisions and the special safety measures used in food prep. Wedding cake is a staple, but instead of doing one large edible cake, serve mini-wedding cakes or even cupcakes that have been prepared and sealed on site at the bakery.


On health and safety being paramount:

Cordogan: There are plenty of ways to "value engineer" safe practices. For example, instead of passing champagne, serve individual bottles of bubbly with sealed twist-off tops. Wine, beer and even mixed cocktails come prepackaged. These "drink displays" can eliminate the exposure that comes with a traditional bar/bartender style beverage service. Couples can implement special seating areas for the ceremony, cocktail hour and dinner/dancing for guests who wish to keep their distance from the rest of the party. These areas can be affectionately referred to as "VIP" viewing areas. Don't trade safety for savings. It's better to reduce the size and scope of your event rather than cut corners on sanitation practices.

Cooper: Take the pulse of your guests: What can you do to make sure they feel safe at your event? Whether that's offering standing room at your ceremony so that people can sort of put distance between themselves at the ceremony. Maybe you planned to have a buffet, but now it's plated dinners, so there's not so many people gathering around the food. Safety and health first and foremost is going to make the celebration as fun and comfortable for everyone. We've been encouraging couples to create an FAQ section on their wedding website about what additional health and safety precautions they are taking as hosts of the event.

On Zoom ever going away:

Cooper: People who were expecting a lot of guests traveling from out of town pre-COVID-19, will see less people willing to travel for one reason or another. I don't think it will take over weddings, but I do think that more and more couples will be looking for ways to add a virtual component.

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