Let’s be real…planning your big day during these crazy times has been super stressful. Your wedding date, location and whether you have out of town guests, are all major factors that play into planning your wedding during this time. As your Certified Wedding Planner, I am here to give you some insight into the madness!
To properly guide you through this process, I have spoken with a few of the top wedding vendors in Central Florida. This blog will explore not only what to expect while planning your wedding, but also what to expect on the day of.
During the Planning Process:
Communication to your guests:
Wedding Website: You can easily create your own wedding website using The Knot or Zola. These websites are most likely the fastest and easiest way to keep your guests informed on updates or changes to your wedding day!
Safe Places to Stay: To encourage out of town guests that it is safe to attend your wedding, you want to make sure you have provided safe overnight stay options for them. On your wedding website, you can have a section reviewing these options that are either linked to your venue or nearby. As your wedding planner, it would be my job to do the research for you. If you are having your wedding at a hotel or resort, I would speak with your venue directly to find out exactly what they are doing to properly clean rooms and space out guests. If you are having your wedding at a stand alone venue, then I will research nearby Airbnb's and other hotels that I have approved to be offering safe practices for your guests.
Speak with your venue and all vendors: We'll dive into this in the next section, but it is important enough to state it twice! After speaking with your vendor team to find out their new policies for wedding day, you can then list those policies on your on your wedding website.
Planning Meetings with vendors:
You may be thinking - how can you make it a safe experience for you and your guests on wedding day? It all starts with the planning process. You'll want to meet with all of your wedding vendors prior to wedding day, to get better idea of their new policies. This will let you know what to expect on wedding day so that you can adjust your plans accordingly.
Below are a couple of questions to ask your venue/caterer during the next planning meeting:
Do you have new restrictions on maximum capacities?
Make sure to request to view a new floor plan that fits their new guidelines. This is super important as it could affect your guest list.
One of the biggest opportunities to stay safe is to make sure you space out your ceremony, cocktail hour and reception layouts as best as you can. Outdoor spaces are definitely key to this equation! You'll want to properly space out your ceremony chairs and reception tables 6' apart.
2. Are you servicing plated/buffet meals differently?
The best way to go is with a plated meal. This ensures everything is handled through your caterer and limits the amount people coming in contact with your food.
If you have a buffet, ask your caterer exactly what they are doing to limit contact between each guest.
3. Are you requiring guests to wear masks or take any special precautions on wedding day?
4. What are you requiring of your team members on wedding day to ensure a safe environment?
To give you a different perspective, the first vendor I am featuring in today's blog is Arthur’s Catering. Arthur’s has been in the event industry for the past 30 years and is located here in Central Florida. They not only provide offsite catering services for the venue of your choice but other popular venues, such as Casa Feliz, Howey Mansion and Harriett's Orlando Ballet Centre, exclusively use them as their caterer.
When meeting with Arthur’s Event Designers, you have the option to meet them at the office, venue or virtually using Zoom, Facetime or any other virtual platform. Prior to meeting at the Arthur's office, Event Designers and clients will have their temperature checked and be provided with hand sanitizer upon entering the building. Arthur's Event Designers are required to wear masks during the meeting, while the clients are encouraged to wear masks and can be provided with one when requested. When meeting in person, all hard surfaces are thoroughly sanitized prior to and after meetings, as well as at regular interval times throughout the day.
Day of Experience
Venue/Caterer: On wedding day, you will see the Arthur's Catering team members wearing custom made black masks, with their logo on the side, at all times. This keeps their team members, not only protected, but also in a uniform and professional look for your wedding day. Upon starting their shift, team members are required to have their body temperature checked and carry their own hand sanitizer. Throughout the event, hand sanitizer will be available at any service stations or bars. When handling anything food related, team members will be required to wear gloves and change them if contaminated, damaged and at regular intervals. Hand washing is also required for team members between each and every task. Another service Arthur's Catering is providing is their "Touchless Service". The "Touchless Service" is where team members serve your guests so they never have to come in contact with anything food related that another guest has touched.
The overall goal of Arthur's Catering is to provide the utmost level of service while keeping the safety and well-being of their team members and guests in mind. Their new motto is "Eat. Drink. Celebrate Responsibly"!
Rentals: If your chosen venue doesn't already provide sanitizing stations, you have the ability to rent plenty through Orlando Wedding & Party Rentals. Having a couple sanitizing stations at your ceremony, cocktail hour and reception will remind guests to wash their hands and make them feel safe. You can place one at each entry point and at another area that may be a popular gathering point. If you are taking the extra step to stay safe and are having your wedding outdoors, you can also include these sanitizing stations there too! Orlando Wedding and Party Rentals is really one of the best go-to rental services in Orlando as they offer a wide variety of rental options. In addition to the sanitizing stations, if you plan on having your event outdoors, make sure to check out their tent rental options to keep your guests covered and safe. Kudos to Orlando Wedding & Party Rentals for offering this great rental item so quickly in this time of need!
Entertainment: Our DJ Rocks is another vendor offering a new way of servicing their weddings. Our DJ Rocks is a female run DJ company that has been rocking weddings for 11 years here in Central Florida. To continue the party, they have also released their new policies for events.
In preparation for events, all of their equipment in their warehouse is continuously cleaned with disinfectant solutions. On the "day of", you will see your wedding DJ wearing masks at all times. Gloves are used when necessary, such as when handling photo booth props or handing the mic off to wedding guests when making a toast. All of their vans/trucks are fully stocked with sanitizing wipes and hand sanitizer to make sure they are fully prepared on event day. All team members are instructed to use the 6' rule and social distance whenever possible. If their team members state that they are sick or feel ill, they are asked to remain at home until they're medically cleared to return to work.
Our DJ Rocks also offers Our Photobooth Rocks! To keep this additional service safe, those staff members are required to wear masks and gloves at all times too. They have created special signage outlining the rules for using their booth. Before touching any props or entering the booth, guests are required to use hand sanitizer provided by Our Photobooth Rocks. As part of the photobooth package, you receive a scrapbook with all the photos taken during the wedding. To keep this a fun and safe experience, the team will not touch your scrapbook and we regularly clean the materials used throughout the event.
Favors: One unique option to offer your guests is a customized mask to put out as a wedding favor! Instead of having this wedding favor out at the end of the night, you can offer it by your guest book at the ceremony. You can get these customized masks off of Etsy Shops to have fun and make them fit your wedding day theme! People are going to have to wear masks for a while now, so having this as your wedding favor during COVID-19 is a good option. Might as well have a little fun with it and give them something memorable!
Etsy Shop Recommendation:
With COVID-19, mandates and policies are constantly changing. This blog touches on just a few details, so I recommend always keeping in touch with your vendor team to stay aware of the latest updates. If you ever have any questions, I am always here to help. Take a deep breathe and keep on planning out your wedding day because girl- you’ve got this!