How to have a wedding during a pandemic

Jun 10, 2020 | how to | 0 comments

You and your significant other have been planning for months.  But who knew something like this would ever happen?  Coronavirus has thrown a giant monkey wrench into the world and also into your plans.  You have a choice to make: postpone the wedding or go ahead with it.  It is a tough choice, especially if you had planned everything before the world fell apart.  There is absolutely no harm if you decide to push the wedding date back so that you can have your dream wedding with all of the particulars that you had planned previously.  However, if you are still adamant to move forward, then please read on!

Prerequisite

To be legally married means you must obtain a wedding license.  Every state has their own set of legislation so please do your research and find out what are the exact requirements you must meet.  

All in all, the government is making it very convenient to get legally married during these trying times.  In California where I reside, the local county clerk can email you a marriage license after a virtual conference as long as you meet some basic requirements.  They are: both adults are located in this state, both are present during the video conference, and both must show valid ID during the conference.  

Please keep this in mind!  You don’t want a do-over, do you?  Incomplete wedding licenses expire after 90 days in California.

Simplest way

The most basic way of getting legally married is to do it right there in the county clerk’s office, where the license is issued.  The county employee will officiate the wedding and another employee can serve as witness.  When everyone involved signs the marriage license document, then the legal part is over.  This option allows you to have the wedding portion done quickly so that the newly married couple can enjoy a nice reception with family and close friends in the comfort of their home or a familiar place (such as a favorite restaurant).  If not, then you and your spouse can simply enjoy starting your new life together.  Either way, in the eyes of the Law, you are a couple!

The next level of convenience is curbside license signing with the wedding officiant.  All jokes aside, we all used to snicker at drive-through wedding license businesses, but that has become the new normal now.  

Through June 29th of 2020, you can conduct a virtual ceremony in order to obtain your marriage license as long as both parties are present in the ceremony.  Now, this is in California so you should check with your local clerk or court to find out if this is feasible and offered in your area. This is super-convenient!  I am not sure what the deal is with your particular State so you should definitely find out if this option is offered.  There’s still paperwork involved, but everything can be done remotely. You do not have to venture out of the safety of your house, risking harm to your health.  

The New Normal?

The latest fad is the virtual wedding ceremony and reception where your close friends join via Zoom (up to 300 guests).  Beware!  Zoom free plan only allows 30 minutes of session duration.  Don’t have a panic attack in the middle of your ceremony trying to reconnect with a hundred guest accounts.  Instead, get their paid plan so that you do not have this train wreck destroying your wedding ceremony.  I’m not even an affiliate of Zoom, by the way. 

Another thing to keep in mind is that the older generation might have some problems accessing Zoom if this is their first time and also less tech-savvy probably need some help.  Be prepared before having the actual Zoom ceremony by doing a rehearsal Zoom dinner previously.  That way, things will definitely go more smoothly.  It would be best to have a practice run so that all are accustomed and feel comfortable logging online.  Or else, you know Uncle Benny is going to call in during the ceremony and complain that he and Aunt Sally can’t log in, am I rite?

With a little creativity, you can still have an awesome ceremony.  How about utilizing the virtual background feature of Zoom to throw a virtual beach wedding?  All you need is a green curtain to make a screen!  That would be cool, right?  

An additional thought: to Live Stream your wedding on Facebook is also a great idea.  Why not, right?  Your friends are probably all on that platform anyway. 

The venue

A major change brought about by the pandemic is that most (if not all) religious institutions (such as churches, synagogues, and mosques) have stopped hosting ceremonies due to the current world health situation.  It’s sad, but this is a new way of the world.  But what can you do?  The reality is that, even if the church was open, only few people will be able to attend because of social distancing rules currently in effect.  When a friend of mine passed away recently, only ten people were allowed at the funeral.  It’s very sad, but that is the new normal for a while (hopefully, not forever).

The venue can be a parent’s backyard or newly wed’s starting home.  This will be huge savings for the budget of the couple.  Also, your families will be familiar with the venue already.  Don’t think of it as being quaint; it’s quite charming, I think, that your new life together starts with a connection to your old single life.  Having your own place that you can decorate at your leisure will take a great load of stress off and also allow you to be even more creative with the decorations.  

Something to think about that is uniquely pandemic related is this: Having your wedding on a weekend means you’ll have to pay a premium for renting a venue.  Think about possibly having it on a Thursday or Friday instead.  Right now, the majority of the people are working from home so their schedule is probably more flexible than before.  Renting a venue location for a weekday could save you significant money (that can be used elsewhere).  

Logistics of a Pandemic Wedding

Did you know that, at some bakeries, you can order a mini-wedding cake and have it sealed at the bakery?  Some cupcakes these days are truly works of art.  When they come individually packaged, then you don’t have to worry about anyone getting infected from sharing cake!  In all seriousness though, The Times is forcing these precautions to be taken.  However, you do not have to have your spirit deflated.  Instead, stand tall!  Be creative and scrappy!

Champagnes and other bubbly can be ordered individually packaged for convenience so that each can be placed according to a seating arrangement.  We aren’t talking about those tiny bottles of liquor that hobos purchase at liquor stores to get smashed here.  These are legit cocktails that can stand on their own at any party.  Also, wines and beer can be purchased in bottles for consumption.  Some folks have used displays to show drink arrangements instead of a bartender to reduce the chance of exposure for guests.  Furthermore, you could ask beforehand what drink preference the guest wants in the invitation; this information will come in handy when you are planning the reception.  

Due to a smaller list of guests, you can provide them with personalized decor such as name tags.  We offer a wide selection of personalizing goods for all of your wedding ceremony needs. Please check them out here.  

You can order flowers online and have them delivered to you on the day of the wedding!  Furthermore, you can find individually packaged meal options online from quality restaurants.  

One thing you will not be able to avoid is facemasks.  If you are having even a small party, then it is something that you will have to consider.  But I think it is only an inconvenience, not a dealbreaker.  Your guests can express themselves with designer face masks if they so choose.  Heck, you could even provide them with fresh, facemasks that have a particular design on them to commemorate your wedding!  With you and your spouse’s name and date!  You can provide masks, gloves, and hand sanitizer as wedding favors.  

The new normal…

Wedding website

Most folks have a wedding website for the sheer convenience of placing all necessary information pertaining to the wedding online.  It makes it so convenient that some folks forego sending out invitations; in effect, an email that directs to your wedding website is the invitation!  Adding a Zoom link (in case you are planning to broadcast it) to your website is a great idea because your guests won’t lose it at the last minute.  Just be aware that the link is out on the internet; you need to protect it so that you do not invite unwanted internet wedding crashers (trolls).  One way to achieve this is to place password protection for your guests so that only the invited can access your website.  Here is a link to a great wedding website designer in case you do not want to deal with the hassle of creating your website but want a professional designer to handle it instead.

Alternate plan

Another option to have a wedding during the pandemic is that If you and your partner can’t wait until the world heals from the coronavirus, then why not have a mini ceremony now and then have the original ceremony when things get better?  That way, you don’t have to wait in order to get married and still have a large wedding ceremony with all of your friends invited when the pandemic has passed.  

Be creative!

When life hands you lemons, you make lemonade… garnished with mint leaves and a paper umbrella.  Do not go gentle into that good night!   You can do this!  Get scrappy and do your best to make a bad situation better.  

Check out this super creative method for getting married during the pandemic: https://www.oregonteardroprentals.com/weddings-on-wheels.  Now, I don’t think it’s an option for someone outside of Oregon, but maybe you can check if there’s something similar in your neck of the woods.  Anyway, I thought it was a brilliant solution during this difficult time to have fun in a creative way to have your wedding.  

In conclusion

Love is stronger than the coronavirus.  The truly important jewel here is to focus on each other.  It is not what holds you two together. All else is simply fluff.

Be positive!  You are getting married, after all, to your soulmate! 

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