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Your wedding during the Coronavirus crisis COVID-19

June 20, 2020

Wedding Planning

Close up of wedding Rings over invitation

Your wedding and Coronavirus : A resourceful guide (UPDATED: Nov 19th, 2020)

For you and other couples looking for guidance about your Minnesota wedding during the coronavirus crisis (or anywhere really!), I made this with the information I have learned and with the confidence that we can all get past this and go back to dancing and celebrating with our loved ones!

COVID-19 and weddings postponements

The coronavirus is disrupting many weddings, showers, parties, engagements, everything! With many guests traveling, couples have been trying to decide if they should postpone or cancel.

Most of us, venues and vendors, are being flexible to reschedule ! Try to think of rescheduling rather than a complete cancellation to avoid losing out on deposits .

Many couples have decided to have a smaller ceremony, leaving the big reception for a later date. Others are rescheduling to the following year, or simplifying their wedding to have it be safe for everyone (including streaming video of the event!)

Are weddings allowed in Minnesota?

Here is some  guidance on how your event is affected by the current restrictions in Minnesota.

(Original texts  for March -June removed)

Official Minnesota Updates on 11/19/2020

  • UPDATED Guidance for Safe Celebrations & Events 2020 STAY SAFE MN
  • For Minnesota, the previous Stay at home order expired on 5/17/2020 and was replaced with a Stay safe guidelines, which include Phases 1 to 4, beginning May 18.  Since June 10th, we are on Phase 3
  •  As of July 25, 2020, people in Minnesota are required to wear a mask in all businesses and public indoor spaces, per Executive Order 20-81 
  • For other states, please check on current orders and capacity restrictions of your state, as well as  CDC recommendations for canceling events of any size with COVID-19 cases in your community.

Small Weddings receptions in Minnesota  are currently not allowed to happen as we have a current social gathering restriction due to the amount of COVID cases in the state.

Wedding restrictions : Indoor and outdoor events  (EVENTS on hold : Updated  Nov 19th, 2020)

  • 11/21/2020: 4 Week Pause on all Wedding Receptions and gatherings. This applies to all venues or homes, unless the people gathered are all in one household inside their own homes.
  • This update does not apply to wedding ceremonies,  only to the related receptions, celebrations, parties and gatherings that occur before or after the service or ceremony. If you are hosting your wedding ceremony at a VENUE, you should still plan on following the celebrations guidelines . However, any reception to follow must abide by the guest count limitations.

 Wedding Ceremonies at places of Worship and venues.

Wedding ceremonies are governed by the guidance on places of worship unless it is happening in a non-church setting, in which case it would need to follow guidelines for that type of venue.

These ceremonies are allowed under these restrictions: Attendees keep 6 ft distance, max of 50% capacity for INDOOR venues and for both Indoor and OUTDOOR wedding venues it cannot exceed 250 individuals. Face Masks are strongly encouraged. All guests must leave right after  ceremony.

  • All venues must develop and implement an event-specific COVID-19 Preparedness Plan
  • Ensure mask usage and a minimum of 6 feet of distance indoors and outdoors
  • Health screening needs to be established for anyone with symptoms
  • Strongly encourage attendees to wear masks when not eating or drinking (workers to were them at all times)

Weddings at Private Residencies

Weddings at Private Residencies can’t involve people from different households starting November 21st.

Source: Safe Events MN

Mask usage

 Face covering in all indoor businesses and public indoor spaces is required in Minnesota as of July 25, 2020. This includes indoor event venues and indoor spaces of combined indoor/outdoor venues . This extends to include any private rental of indoor venue space, regardless of the private vs. public nature of the event.

Masks are supposed to be worn while inside when not seated at a table and moving around an indoor space. Masks are not required if outdoors, but social distancing must be followed.

Dancing : Is Dancing allowed?

Dancing at weddings is currently on pause as receptions aren’t allowed. 

Photography

Updated guidelines have been released about photography, specially for group photos. Standing close together is a high-risk activity, even when it is a shorter period of time. Large group photos are discouraged and group photos should be taken outside if possible. With the coming colder months, the following guidelines will need to be kept in mind by photographers and videographers for group photos. 

For group photos consider these guidelines:

  • Avoid extended family photos
  • Take  group photos by household or family, or socially distant bigger group photos.
  • Wear masks as they get into position and keep the mask on until the photographer provides a command to remove masks and take the picture.
  • Group photos should be taken outside if possible. 
  • Minimize crowding together while coming into the area by following a line or taking turns
  • Spots should be marked or signaled of where people should stand for a group photo to minimize crowding
  • People should face forward in the same direction.
  • Time without masks should be very brief. People should replace their masks as soon as photos are done.
  • People should quickly separate after the photos

Weddings in the Winter 

For weddings in the first months of winter of 2021, we recommend to  talking about a backup plan with your venue especially if your wedding is over 25 guests and Indoors.

Health and Safety Protocols when keeping your wedding

If you are considering keeping the wedding as planned , I suggest creating a safety and health “protocol” for your event as well as a backup plan.

  • Safety Worldwide Follow CDC guidelines for public gatherings and local government orders for social distancing and events
  • Minnesota guidance on how to stay safe on social gathering.
  • Social Distancing Social Distance is required at all times. See the Minnesota Department of Health Guidelines for Social Distance here
  • Stay home Tell your guests to stay home if they have any symptoms or have been in contact with someone that has symptoms
  • Hand Washing Hand washing and sanitizing is THE most effective way to protect yourself, aside from physical distancing and mask usage.
  • Hand Sanitation If you can’t provide additional hand washing stations , alcohol-based hand sanitizers can work in a pinch. Setting a hand sanitizer station for indoor and outdoor events is recommended
  • Cloth Face Masks Mask are currently mandatory . Provide guests them with cloth/ disposable masks or even better get your DIY on!
  • Respiratory Etiquette Encourage attendees to cover coughs and sneezes
  • Supplies Make sure you or your venue can provide plenty of soap, water, hand sanitizer containing at least 60 percent alcohol, paper towels, tissues, and no-touch trash cans.
  • Signage An information and cute sign including reminders for Handwashing, covering sneezes and keeping your mask on will help everyone remember to stay safe
  • Layout  You can only have 6 guests maximum at standard 72″ round tables if they are living in the same household. If they are not living in the same household, that number is 4 maximum.
  • Catering Check with your caterer about buffet serving . No type of self-service is permitted, this includes food, coffee stations, passed hors d’oeuvres, and wedding cake/desserts set on serving tables.
  • Bands are allowed but must maintain social distancing.

COVID-19 considerations to have in mind :

  • What area are you in?
  • Is your Wedding venue open/ closed at the moment?
  • Is your wedding going to be Indoors or Outdoors?
  • Wedding vendors postponing policies and available dates.
  • How many guests are you expecting?
  • Are there key wedding party members who need to travel?
  • How many of your guests are going to have to travel to attend your wedding?
  • Are there any high risk loved ones on your guest list who should consider staying at home?

With all the information “on the table”, you can look at all the options you have and you can decide whether to move forward or not.  If any of these are worrying you both, my recommendation is to make a backup plan IN CASE you have to postpone your wedding.

Backup Plans

When thinking about your wedding and the coronavirus,  is very important to have a plan in place. If your wedding is after June you might still be able to have your wedding – even then, create a backup plan!  Here are a few ideas in no particular order:

  • Change your wedding to be just a smaller ceremony & reception
  • Modify your wedding to be a smaller outdoor ceremony & reception
  • Move your wedding to be a smaller backyard ceremony & reception
  • Have just an intimate wedding ceremony and do the reception later
  • Ask guests to let you know if they will be able to attend and adjust the numbers.
  • Downsize your wedding guest list
  • Downsize to just immediate family members and bridal party with you
  • Create a guest list of 10, another of 25 and another of 50
  • Create a soft backup date with your venue and most important vendors
  • Call and email your vendors and ask about their rescheduling policy and availability for backup dates
  • Get married at the courthouse and postpone everything
  • Postpone everything until 2021

Even for small weddings or if you postpone your date consider the importance of photographing these moments. Many venues and photographers like me offer  Small Wedding Photography Packages .

Here are ways to keep your wedding date and make sure to involve everyone in someway

  • Video Broadcast your wedding online for guests who can’t make it.
  • Drive in Have your guests do a drive in parade to congratulate you!

Rescheduling / Postponing Your Wedding date during the Coronavirus

As vendors, and friends, we understand the heartbreak it is to consider rescheduling in any scenario!   I recommend you consult with your venue (or venues) as they will assessed how these restrictions affect them particularly already, as well as having a plan!

First of all, I know this isn’t easy! I know how much effort and money goes into planning a wedding! In an effort to be helpful I put together these steps from what I have learned – A few of my couples were impacted in the early days of the pandemic and neither of us knew what to do .

  • “Make the call” Together with your partner make the decision on whether to postpone
  • Check on your loved ones – How is everyone in your close family feeling about it, are they able to attend later, are they healthy?
  • Breathe: These times are new and complicated for everybody so brace yourselves, together, for the challenges and feelings that comes with the decision Allow yourself to feel all the feels.
  • Contact your venue-  Find out your wedding venue’s contract policies and availability for possibly rescheduling.
  • Reach out to other important vendors: Once you’ve confirmed availability for a date, you’ll want to call the photographer and other important vendors like officiant, music, caterer, florist, etc.  Think first of the vendors who can only do one wedding per day .
  • Pick a date ! This sounds easier said than done – Be flexible around dates of the week!  If you can find one date that overlaps with  most of your vendor team, you should try to lock it down ASAP.

Letting your guests know of the changes

If you choose to have a smaller ceremony and need to have fewer guests, you will want to let your guests your event is not happening as planned and you are having to do a small ceremony instead. People will understand as everyone is informed about the COVID-19 crisis.

You can make your small wedding ceremony special by recording a video to play at your reception later or even streaming it to your guests! Read all about streaming your wedding here.

  • Email is okay! Here is an email template.
  • Facebook message: A Facebook post is also OK! You can include a photo of your original invitation or a photo of you two.
  • Couples have been sending ” change the dates ”  cards , bride and designer  Mara Albert made these available to share and makes custom ones.

Will I lose my retainer if I postpone my wedding?

Is no secret that weddings involve a lot of money and that rescheduling will probably mean you will have some financial burdens to think about, for this reason, I expanded my rescheduling policy to make it more flexible for all of my couples. If couples choose to postpone their wedding because of COVID-19, I have requested them to share with me the alternate dates provided to them by their venue so that we can find a date that is mutually convenient for as many vendors as possible to avoid any rescheduling fees.

What date should I postpone my wedding to?

At the moment, the cases of Coronavirus are increasing and there is so much uncertainty about when will all be back to normal. If you are rescheduling right now I would suggest to book in later fall 2021 or choose a date in 2022.


If you are planning your 2021 wedding or just starting to plan

Now is a good time to have a planner to help. 2021 wedding dates are still being booked and consultations are being held online. Virtual expos are happening too !

If you are currently planning for  2021, it’s a good idea to book the most important vendors such as venue and photographer. Wait on things like flowers, caterer, makeup until we have more information and clear vision of the situation. Be sure to read contracts and ask about rescheduling policies, specially for a Pandemic case. 

Specially for Winter 2021 and Spring 2021, consider having a smaller gathering and opting for an outdoor venue, as well as having backup plans.

Try to stay positive and follow good news. It’s an exciting thing to get married to your best friend! Think of the music you will want to play and dream on what your ceremony vows will be!

couple looking away to the river during their small ceremony

Personal update

If you are one of my current couples, and have questions we haven’t talked about yet, reach out anytime and I will help you navigate your current situation and share in detail my action plan. I can assure you that I’ll do whatever I can to help and make your event happen! I am taking precautions and staying healthy for the time being, being flexible and proactive about the events and sessions I have on my calendar.

I cannot wait to see you and your loved ones soon ! 

I hope you find this helpful !
Feel free to email me or reach out if there is anything else I can do to help!

Resources to have:

If your wedding is affected by COVID-19, here are some resources that you may find helpful!

– CDC recommendations for events

Minnesota and other states have Stay at home Orders

Resources by Minnesota Events Coallition 

– MN announcements and orders 

– The White House nationwide federal guidelines 

– The Minnesota Department of Health’s website.

– The City of Minneapolis Coronavirus Website

– The State of Minnnesota COVID-19 Website

– The Minnesota Department of Health Website

– The World Health Organization’s Coronavirus Website

More useful links for Weddings impacted by the CoronaVirus – COVID-19

Minnesota Facebook Support Group for Covid Couples

How to Postpone Your Wedding Amid the COVID-19 Pandemic by TheKnot.com

A Guide to Postponing Your Wedding by Ruffled Blog

The Coronavirus and your wedding by The Budget Savvy Bride

Should You consider postponing your wedding due to COVID-19 by Style Me Pretty

What you need to know about coronavirus and your wedding by Martha Steward weddings

Top questions about coronavirus right now by Brides.com

Postponing your wedding: A step by step guide by Budget Savvy Bride

Coronavirus wedding planning: Advice on postponing and canceling via Equally Wed

The 12 Best Change the Date Cards to Send If Your Wedding is Postponed on Brides.com

 

Laura Alpizar Photography recommends all to adhere to CDC regulations and guidelines put in place by local and national governments! 

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I grew up in the tropical lands of Costa Rica, where I met the love of my life, and we started our lives in Minneapolis after years of long distance! Together we have the most spunky little one. 
My photos are all about the genuine smiles, the connection between people and the LOVE!

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I grew up in the tropical lands of Costa Rica, where I met the love of my life, and we started our lives in Minneapolis after years of long distance! Together we have the most spunky little one. 
My photos are all about the genuine smiles, the connection between people and the LOVE!

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