With the world changed so unrecognisably by COVID-19, thousands of couples have either been forced, or are - understandably - choosing, to postpone their weddings.
At the time of writing, the current Government guidance permits only 30 people at a wedding or civil partnership ceremony (this includes the couple, witnesses, officiants, guests and suppliers including photographers). Socially distant wedding receptions are now allowed (hallelujah!) for up to 30 guests (including the above list but not including venue or catering staff), professional and non-professional musicians can now perform, but sadly there’s still no dancing allowed.
It is completely understandable that, in light of these restrictions, so many couples are choosing to postpone their celebrations. We understand only too well that, for many, one of the most important parts of a wedding is the gathering together of all your friends and family to celebrate your love and the start of your life together as a married couple. It’s about the crowding together to hear your vows, the chink of champagne flutes at the reception, the feasting together around big tables and the packed dance floor at the end of the night. However, lots of couples are determined not to let COVID-19 get in their way and have decided that their desire to get married is bigger than their hope for a huge celebration. As such, they’re finding beautiful and infinitely creative ways to celebrate their wedding on a smaller scale. Here we share some of our favourite ideas to create the most special, intimate wedding.
1. Make every guest a star
One bonus of having such a tight limit on your guest numbers is that you don’t need to come up with an excuse as to why your second-cousin-twice-removed, can’t bring the guy she’s been seeing for 3 weeks. Everyone there will know and love you both more than anyone else in the world, and with a limit on guest numbers, this means you could take the time to celebrate each of them individually. Whether that’s a personalised mention in your speeches or Order of the Day to let everyone know how and why they’re so special to you, or a handwritten note on every guest’s place setting thanking them for being there, making each guest feel thought of will make your intimate wedding even more special.
2. Pick key things to include from your original wedding plans
It’s understandable that you may want to scale back your original plans but just because your guest list’s been reduced, it doesn’t mean this should feel any less like a wedding. Some of the most exciting parts of the planning process are the creative touches that make everyone - including you! - smile on the day. So if you’re reevaluating what you need for your day, be sure to retain the parts you were most excited about. Whether it’s a breathtaking floral installation, a beautiful welcome sign to greet your guests or a decadent 3-tiered wedding cake, DO IT ANYWAY!
3. Re-appropriate wedding day roles
You might have planned to have 5 bridesmaids but social distancing measures mean you can’t fit that many people next to you in the church. It’s always going to be awkward having to tell your best friends or closest family member that they can no longer play the part in your day that you’d all planned but, given the circumstances, you’d hope everyone would understand. If possible, try and reassign roles - maybe ask them to do a reading or give a speech - so they can still pay a key part in your day.
4. Treat yourselves to new outfits
If you’re not able to wear the dress or suit you had planned because you weren’t able to complete your fittings, take this as a sign from the powers that be and go online shopping! You seriously deserve it. This could be a chance to wear something totally different - and maybe better! - than what you had planned. And you can always wear your original dress and suit for any future celebrations you might plan with a bigger group post-lockdown.
5. Get creative with the format
Naturally, keeping you and your guests safe is the most important aspect of planning a lockdown wedding but the challenge of adhering to Government restrictions actually gives you an amazing opportunity to get creative. This is especially true if you’re planning a bigger celebration or party in the future because this gives you another chance to do something totally different. Your original plans may have included a four-course sit down dinner for 200. But an intimate reception for <30 could involve a picnic rugs and individual hampers for each guest. Totally different but equally as gorgeous and probably more memorable.
And last but not least….
6. Plan a 1 year wedding anniversary party
Let’s face it, one of the best parts of a wedding is going wild on the dance floor with your closest friends and family. So, instead of feeling disappointed that everyone’s missed out on Uncle Clive throwing Aunty Joan in the air to ‘(I’ve Had) The Time Of My Life’, why not plan a 1-year anniversary party instead? That way you can gather all your nearest and dearest for a superdupermega celebration. Just to be sure to request two presents from everyone ;)
Image credits (from top):
Image 1 | Wedding Newspaper: Made by Wood & Wood, Image: Claire Penn Photography
Image 2 | Bobbi Photo
Image 3 | Jenny Smith & Co
Image 4 | Sign: Made by Wood & Wood, Image: Rebecca Carpenter Photography
Image 5 | Claire Penn Photography
Image 6 | Storenvy
Image 7 | Elena Popa Photography
Image 8 | Dress: Temperley London, Photo: Dan O'Day
Images 9 & 10 | Jo Greenfield Photographer
Image 11 | Claire Penn Photography