If you are newly engaged and excited to start your wedding planning journey it may well be rather daunting with a pandemic looming over everything. Covid-19 has had a huge impact on weddings in 2020, from limiting guest numbers to preventing receptions and banning dancing. With the release of the new vaccine there have been tentative talks that weddings could be back to more normal function from the spring but as we know things can change very rapidly so couples are asking how to plan for such an uncertain future.

There are plenty of ways to plan and adapt your big day to meet this new way of planning. You may find that having a smaller guestlist means you have more budget to play with, which means you can go big on the guest experience and splash out on your priority items like amazing food, a free bar, live entertainment or floral displays.

Pick a Date
While it might feel daunting to pick a date given the uncertainty of the pandemic, choosing a day far in advance will help ensure that you get the venue and vendors that you want most. Many of the 2020 weddings that were postponed moved to 2021 so bear in mind peak weekends may already be fully booked for venues and suppliers alike, Be open to a weekday wedding which increases the likelihood of your venue and whole supplier team being available, and ensures you can marry in the season you want if weekend dates are busy. Alternatively why not look further ahead, many suppliers have opened their diaries for 2022 and beyond.

Explore Different Types of Wedding

A minimony is a mini-ceremony with a small group of loved ones, in person or virtually. If it is important to you to get married sooner rather than later then this is a great choice. Your minimony will be followed by a wedding at a later date, where you can either have a reception with all your loved ones or have a blessing ceremony too.

Micro Wedding
A Micro wedding has fewer than 20 guests, and right from the beginning, that’s the number that the couple were always planning to invite. It isn’t about whittling down a guest list; it’s for those who love the idea of a really intimate wedding in the UK or abroad. You’ll use your budget to splurge on your guests, with incredible food, entertainment and a unique venue. Traditionally, with a micro wedding, there’s no future, larger reception planned.

Multiday Wedding
Multiday weddings include festivities over the course of three days, with a pre-wedding rehearsal dinner, the wedding day, and a next-day brunch or lunch. You can invite different groupings of guests to each separate events, meaning those groups don’t overlap at all and you can keep the numbers for each event down while celebrating with your whole large guest list. This is a great way to celebrate if you have a Barn, Tipi or private Dry Hire Venue across several days.

Livestream Your Wedding
For loved ones who can’t attend, we’ll see more couples livestreaming their wedding. Elderly relatives or those at-risk may not want to be in a large group, so allow them to watch your wedding live on a video platform.

Take It Outdoors If Possible
Being outside is much safer than gathering indoors because there’s more space and airflow. If possible, see if you can plan an outdoor wedding instead of an indoor event. Or, if your ceremony is inside, try to organize an outdoor reception. indoors/outdoors wedding were already rising in popularity—now is a great opportunity to embrace the trend.

Your Venue
Wedding venues come in all shapes and sizes and range from hotels to dry hire barns, glamping sites to town halls, tipis to private hire stately homes. Each one will have different ways of operating depending on their license, for instance a hotel may have back to back weddings across a weekend whereas a barn or dry hire venue may be available on a 4 day hire. Speak to them about their covid safe protocols and whether they provide hand santisers or if that is something you need to consider adding yourself.
If there are government restrictions at the time, speak to your venue about their guest limitations so you don’t invite too many people. Talk to the venue about their rules regarding masks indoors and social distancing as well. That way, you can tell your guests exactly what to expect on the wedding day.
You should also think through the layout of the space to allow for proper social distancing. Work with the venue coordinator to figure out how guests can stay within their bubbles and avoid mixing tables up too much.

Meet with Pros Virtually
In order to finalise your team of wedding suppliers, organise virtual meetings to get to know your potential suppliers. Being able to talk with them will help you make an informed decision on the best pros for your wedding day. Address important questions with your suppliers from the start—that way, you’ll be on the same page from the beginning. It is recommended that suppliers and clients come to an agreement and commitment with one another while addressing all the possible outcomes, ask questions like, What if our date comes but we are only allowed X number of guests? and What if my guests aren’t comfortable attending or flying on that date? and ‘What if we have to postpone?’ While the future ramifications of coronavirus are unpredictable, it’s best to address any possible issues upfront. In turn, having these discussions will help eliminate any miscommunications down the line.

Communicate with Your Guests
Guests might have a few nerves about group gatherings after a long time away from them. There are loads of ways to make your guests feel safe without sacrificing the look of your day. Your guests will be opening doors, picking up glasses, touching chairs and shaking hands so the best way to contain any spread of germs is to have lots of hand sanitiser and wipes available. It’s going to be tricky to keep your guests two metres from anyone outside their household or ‘social bubble’ at your wedding so consider signage placed around the venue as reminders, a clear and humorous sign at the entrance to your venue stating that you’d like everyone to maintain the two metre social distancing rule will make your intentions clear and keep the request light-hearted. At the end of the day, this is done out of love and respect for the safety of your guests, and they will understand that.

Wear Masks
Wearing a mask is one small, simple thing you and your partner can do to help keep your guests as safe as possible. We know the idea of rocking a face covering on your wedding day isn’t the most exciting, but it does reduce the transmission of coronavirus. We really love this floral version to match the wedding bouquet, supplied by Charlotte Staff Flowers

Styling Your Venue
Fallen in love with a big venue and not sure what to do now you’re only 15 people? There’s lots of creative ways to create an intimate atmosphere even in bigger venues.
Create clusters of decor, rather than spread everything out around the room leaving the centre of the room empty and potentially void you could create cluster features at the edges of the room as well as through the middle. This could be achieved by incorporating tall trees, plants, grids or frames with foliage etc.
You could then position tables between the clusters so each table has it’s own intimate dining zone and is naturally shielded from the next allowing guests to feel safe.
Using larger tables with fewer guests around which will automatically increase the amount of floor space you are using up but also allow for larger centrepieces.
Opt for tall, oversized centrepieces which make the ceiling appear lower, break up the space and create the wow factor!
Consider your colour palette as White tends to make a space appear more light and airy so using rich dark colours can make large spaces seem smaller and more intimate.
Many barns and stately homes have beams and tall ceilings which can add to the feeling of too much space, so ideas for bringing the ceiling down are worth exploring – lighting canopies, drapes, hanging paper lanterns and foliage displays can all be suspended above guests heads to create an enclosed space.
Consider setting up a few bars, buffet or snack stations around the venue so no one area is too busy at once, maybe each area could serve a different style of food or drinks. Self service items such as grazing buffets and sweet tables are currently not allowed but individual bowls of snacks or ready packed bags of sweets or candy floss can be selected from each station, along with ready poured glasses of cocktails on drinks trolleys are a great way of filling space, and giving guests the opportunity to interact when selecting their food or drink before going back to their table.
Creating lounge areas with vintage seating, Persian rugs and greenery is a great way to fill space and encourage people to break away from tables to sit in small groups dotted around.
Wherever possible, use outdoor spaces for the different sections of your day. Find ways to incorporate open-air elements, like an outdoor ceremony, photographs and reception drinks on the lawn, and an outside lounge area with fire pits for guests to mingle in the evening.
So while your wedding day might look a little different from your original plans, the meaning of the union will ensure it will still be one of the best and most memorable days of your life. It has never been more apparent that the most important thing about a wedding is the love of two people.