The Covid-19 pandemic has hit the wedding industry incredibly hard. Venues are closing, suppliers are going out of business, and couples are scrambling to reschedule or even cancel their weddings. You are NOT the one 2020.
Whilst it may be tempting to pour a large glass of pinot and return to our Netflix safe space, we decided instead to reach out to expert wedding planner Charlotte Ricard-Quesada of La Fête, and ask for her top tips on wedding planning in the time of Corona in order to help you navigate these unchartered waters.
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1. With guest lists reduced, who makes my list?
As it currently stands, 15 guests are allowed at a wedding, so make the most of these! By experience, you get to 15 guests very quickly, so make sure to start with the closest and dearest: parents, siblings and bridal party. I personally am recommending against grandparents or older relatives, simply because of their age. They are most often more susceptible to being in the vulnerable population in regards to Covid-19.
2. Ok, so I have my 15. How do I break it to the rest of my invitees?
This is something that I have extensively been asked about and to be honest, as cheesy as it sounds, honesty is the best policy. Everyone is aware of the current situation, and everyone is particularly understanding. Whether you have already invited more people than the final 15, or if you simply want to let extended friends and family that you would normally have invited, there is a simple and lovely way to let them know: call them. Whether it’s by zoom, or by phone, make sure you personally reach out to each of them and explain the situation. You can soften the blow by explaining that you will be having a digital connection on the day of the wedding.
3. Should I set up a Zoom Video Call?
This is the perfect compromise for all those loved ones that you cannot invite, and especially for elderly close family members that just cannot come. There are so many options available now to make sure that your ceremony is streamed to all your guests via Zoom, so that they are somehow part of the big day. I would recommend having someone manage it for you. You want it done properly and tested, so make sure you do it properly.
4. So what about the “I do” part?
The ceremony itself will obviously be very different to what we are all used to. But make sure to still try and stick to what you had originally planned, or were planning on doing. It’s as simple as spacing out people, or making sure that family bubbles are seated next to each other in clusters. In terms of format, you should be able to go ahead with what you had planned, but don’t be afraid to ask questions to make sure that you are clear on everything.
5. I had all of my décor planned, can I still use it?
You may have already planned a part of your décor, or have had a list of things you wanted or even a plethora of mood boards. Whatever your system, you can still have it all! Most suppliers are up and running again and so excited to be working with you again. So, whether it’s a ceiling of flowers, a staircase of balloons, an entrance full of props of whatever your imagination has floating around – do it! Do not downsize your wedding to the point where it no longer is your wedding. It can only but blow away your guests, and it will be fabulous for your pictures. Just think of that gorgeous flower arch at Princess Beatrice’s Lockdown wedding!
6. What should I do to ensure everyone is socially distanced?
So, technically, here is one where you need to take everything into account at the moment of the wedding. If by the time you read this and receptions are allowed, make sure that you abide by the rules. I would recommend long tables, where seats can easily be spaced out and where the width of the table acts as that 1m distance. Make sure to fill out the spacing with décor, or flowers, so that the separation is clear. But, everything should be lower than eye-level so that your guests can still chat.
7. What about the seating arrangements?
You will also need to check this one at the time of your actual wedding, but following on from above, I would say that if you have family bubbles, make sure to seat them together if you can, as they can be seated closer to each other. You could also maybe cluster families on their own tables? This will make it feel more like a normal wedding reception.
8. Is my wedding website the best way to communicate to our guests?
This is always handy, but nowadays, even more useful, given the changing times. Make sure that all your guests are aware that you will be posting updates and information regularly here for them to refer to. Make sure to let people know what you will be providing in terms of hygiene, masks, etc. or what your guests need to bring for themselves.
9. Should I have gifts for my guests?
I have always been a fan of gifts that are actually useful on the day of the wedding and afterwards, and now, more than ever, I believe that this should be the case! This is your chance to have a selection of beautiful face masks (I would recommend against personalised wedding ones, as your guests won’t be able to use them afterwards) – make them in lovely cotton fabrics that match your colour scheme. Mini antibacterial gel bottles, and any other Covid-19 related gadgets are welcome right now.
10. What should I do to make sure I am being safe and hygienic?
This is obviously something that your suppliers will guide you through, especially your planner or your caterer. There are legislations in place, and these, as before, will be changing as we continue to navigate this situation. I would recommend doubling up your “welcome to the wedding” sign as an automatic hand gel dispenser for example. People are now used to this and will feel very comfortable with this. Have a basket of confetti and next to it a mask basket. I would have someone managing these and asking people to pick up the first one and not shuffle through them to pick. Make sure that you have sanitiser gel across the venue, and readily available, on top of your usual health and safety measures.
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Before entering the world of wedding & event planning, Charlotte Ricard-Quesada worked in luxury fashion for 8 years, for Dior and Tom Ford, amongst other brands. During this time, she would attend industry parties and shows. After witnessing their organisation first-hand and the often difficult process of working with planners abroad, who didn't necessarily understand the language or culture of their clients, she knew that something had to be done about it. In 2016 she founded La Fête, a wedding & event company with a difference. Not only does Charlotte’s professional experience allow her to translate the codes of luxury fashion to her clients’ events, but she also uses her multicultural background and fluency in four languages to transcend borders and work globally. Charlotte innately understands her clients, no matter their background, religion or culture. Ultimately, with every event she creates, Charlotte loves making the impossible possible.