With the COVID-19 vaccine rollout happening across the country, many states have loosened restrictions for large gatherings. That means couples are finally getting the green light to say "I do!" with family and friends in attendance. But the virus hasn’t completely disappeared yet, and there are still concerns about keeping everyone in attendance safe and healthy. As the vaccine works its magic and people begin to gather many planners are still concerned about their health and safety.
“We are certainly still dealing with this in California now,” says Sarah Drake of Cole Drake Events. “It seems like the rest of the country is opening for gatherings, with more guidance and have specific protocols in place. Conversely in California, we have zero guidance.” Despite this, planners still need to earn a living—and that means doing what they do best. We asked some planners for their top tips on how they are navigating this post-pandemic dilemma.
Require Rapid Testing
The fact that someone could have this virus and not know is one of the things that makes it so nerve-wracking. This is why many planners are asking vendors and staff members, as well as clients and guests, to submit rapid COVID test results just before big events. Planners can even give their clients a list of rapid testing locations near the wedding venue. “We are also using guest lists for contact tracing purposes with our client’s permissions,” says Drake.
Implement Safety Protocols
Karla Casillas of Karla Casillas & Co. is keeping her staff—and anyone they are in contact with—safe through temperature checks and plenty of antibacterial use. They also have a 'no touching and handling of personal items' policy. Casillas goes over all of these safety protocols with her clients and gives them a copy they can place in guests’ welcome bags or on the couple’s wedding website.
Ask Everyone to Mask-Up
The World Health Organization (WHO) has recommended widespread mask use as a way to prevent coronavirus transmission. So it’s no surprise that Casillas and other planners are insisting on masks at all times, whether it’s during any in-person meetings or at events. The WHO website has all of the information about which kind of mask to wear, how to wear a mask properly, as well as tips on how to care for your mask.
Limit In-Person Meetings
Of course, planners want to give everyone they meet that special treatment, but right now it’s probably best to continue to use technology for most, if not all, communication. With that in mind, Casillas is holding initial consultations and planning meetings via Zoom only, which allows people to see her without the risk of exposure. “The walkthroughs and site visits are reserved for paying clients and we all must have been tested negative,” she explains.
Practice Social Distancing
Planners should be mindful of not just practicing social distancing during any meetings with clients and vendors, but also at the actual event. “My staff is always my concern, but when it comes to operating the event then the safety of everyone becomes a concern,” explains Casillas. It is possible to have a fun event while still maintaining a safe distance. In addition to spacing tables six feet apart, come up with fun and creative activities you can set up for guests to enjoy while still maintaining those six-feet apart standards.
Stick with Smaller Events
Just because some states are allowing for events with more than 100 guests doesn’t mean you should feel pressured to take them on if you don’t feel comfortable. In fact, for now, Cole’s firm is only working with clients who have a capped guest count of 50 guests or less. “While we are looking forward to the day when we can get back into those 100 + person celebrations, currently, we are just happy to be back to work,” she says.
Be As Safe As Possible
Alexa Kritis of Alexa Kritis Events is staying home as much as possible before events. “That means no working in coffee shops or taking unnecessary meetings when I know I have a lot of events coming up. I advise clients to ask the same of their guests—to minimize outings as much as possible in the weeks/days leading up to their weddings, knowing they are going to a gathering.”
Hero image courtesy of Allison Davis Photography