2020 is finally behind us, and 2021 is getting better by the day as COVID-19 restrictions are slowly being lifted across the country. Earlier this month in Nashville, Mayor John Cooper said wedding capacities can increase from 75 to 125 people, and Nashville bars and restaurants can increase capacity and stay open until 1 a.m. effective March 1. At JP Events, we’ve already seen an uptick in weddings being planned for later in the year (and we could not be more excited!).
Nevertheless, we should still be “COVID-conscious” as we plan weddings during Covid-19, even in 2021 and beyond. And the good news is, couples have gotten very good at turning strict COVID restrictions into opportunities to reimagine their weddings in thoughtful, creative ways. We think we’ll see many of those trends continue well into 2021.
In the spirit of making the most of our new normal, we thought we’d share some tips to help you prepare for some of the challenges you may see as you plan or re-schedule your wedding.
PLAN FOR EXTRA COMPETITION ON YOUR WEDDING DATE
Booking a venue and vendors on your ideal wedding date is always competitive, but it could be even more difficult now. Why? Couples who originally set a date to get married in 2020 or 2021 but had to postpone their weddings are now rescheduling them. Add to that the newly engaged couples who are starting from scratch, and you’ve got a lot of competition.
For this reason, it’s crucial to book a date sooner rather than later. Talk with your venue and find a few dates that work, then bring those options to your vendors.
We also continue to recommend talking with your venue and vendors about their postponement policies. (Here’s a look at what ours look like.) While we’re optimistic that we’ll return to normalcy by the end of this year, it’s better to be prepared for any potential changes. And, be sure to save room in your budget in case you have to send out a round of ‘save the new dates’!
SIZE MATTERS IN A PANDEMIC
When it comes to wedding size, your first consideration these days should be the city and state’s health department’s regulations. (Here’s Nashville’s). Your vendors and/or planner should be aware of any local regulations, and the CDC keeps its website updated with the latest federal recommendations and advisories.
Even if regulations allow for larger gatherings, it may be in the best interest of you and your loved ones to keep the size of your wedding smaller. There are several ways to do this while still keeping all your friends and family included in the celebration:
- Elope with just a few of your closest friends and family in attendance, and plan to host a bigger celebration at a later date, such as your anniversary.
- Livestream your wedding ceremony and invite additional guests to tune in.
There’s also the emerging trend of hosting a micro wedding. Think of it as a minimalist approach to wedding planning, with no more than 50 guests, including family, in a small, intimate venue (giving you way more options and flexibility), and it’s an opportunity to save some serious cash.
GET CREATIVE WITH YOUR VENUE
Smaller weddings open up a whole new world when it comes to your Nashville wedding venue. After all, there’s no need for a ballroom for a party of 25.
If you’re planning a Nashville wedding, think about renting a historic home or estate in Franklin, Tennessee, rather than a hotel or more traditional event space, and having your celebration out on the lawn. With AirBnB and Vrbo, your options are virtually limitless, and you can turn your wedding into a fun weekend getaway with your closest friends and family. You can choose a property based on your theme and save a substantial amount of money in the process, giving a new kind of flair to a wedding on a budget.
It’s important to let your host know that you will be having an event during your stay, and that you plan on adhering to COVID guidelines. It’s also imperative to make sure your vendors will service a more remote location. JP Events has a mobile kitchen that is completely self-contained and allows us to easily cater for 125 people no matter where they are located. We could even cater a wedding at a state park like Cummins Falls!
In addition, when you have a non-traditional venue such as a historic house, you may need to hire more vendors since many private rental properties won’t have tables or chairs or enough dishes to serve your guests. Opting for a full-service event planning company to take care of all those small details would be ideal.
TAKE THE NECESSARY HEALTH PRECAUTIONS
Even if COVID-19 isn’t a major personal concern, it could be for your guests, and there are plenty of ways to demonstrate that you’re keeping their health in mind on your wedding day.
If you’re cutting back on the number of invitees, out-of-town guests may be a good place to start. Traveling increases the risk of COVID-19 exposure and transmission, so the fewer guests who have to fly or stay in a hotel, the better.
Once your guest list is ready to go, make a seating chart that groups together those who already see one another. When you can, plan for social distancing between households.
For the day of the wedding, be sure to stock up on hand sanitizer, as well as masks. Having masks out for grabs is a friendly way to encourage mask-wearing without a ton of pressure. You could even place a sign next to the supply that communicates your mask policy. In addition, many couples are creating color-coded wristbands that designate “I’m okay with hugs!”, “Maintain your distance please,” or “No contact, please.”
Finally, be sure to let your guests know that you’re being proactive. Share what steps you’re taking on your wedding website. You could even consider including an extra card inside your invitation with a list of the precautions that are being taken. Consider something like this:
COVID-19 is unfortunately still a concern, and we want to respect the health and safety of all our guests. To respect the latest federal and state guidelines, we will be keeping our ceremony intimate. We will also offer socially distant seating, masks and multiple sanitizing stations. And we ask that, should you feel ill or have been exposed to COVID-19 within two weeks of our wedding, please stay home. We will offer live streaming of the service so you can join the festivities and toast from home. We look forward to celebrating with you soon!
Planning and hosting a wedding in the time of COVID-19 can actually be exciting! With a little ingenuity and compromise, you can create a memorable, safe event for all involved.
“Since 2008, JP Events has served Nashville and the surrounding metro county areas as the premier all-inclusive event planning and production company providing full-service catering, cake & pastry design, floral design & arrangements, event planning & coordination, event rentals, bar & beverage services, and more. Whether its a wedding, corporate event, or special occasion, we curate every detail to perfection to ensure a seamless, effortless experience that leaves every client, and their guests, smiling.”