Safety First: Tips on how to produce a safe in-person wedding in 2020 and 2021

Live parties are back...well, sort of. In Utah, we’ve seen our fair share of in-person weddings recently. If a couple didn’t postpone their wedding to 2021 (most did), eager hosts threw an end-of-summer or fall celebration. Sure, they were smaller in size, but not all were smaller in budget or style. 

This post-lockdown, still-in-Covid timeframe resembles the awkward time it takes to grow out your bangs (sorry, guys, only women will get that). Operating a live event during a pandemic proves to be tricky, just like attempting an updo when said bangs are flopping into your face. It’s annoying, but manageable.

So, how exactly can live functions, er, function in a post-shutdown world?

Reduce contact as much as possible. Meg Orsini of event-production company SceneMakers follows these safety precautions to reduce contact as much as possible: 

  • Limit guest count.

  • Offer family-unit ceremony and reception seating.

  • Skip the dance floor. 

  • Provide masks for those who come without.

  • Offer hand sanitizer at entry points and tables.

  • Leave a handout with a list of safety recommendations on each chair. 

  • Require all staff and vendors to be masked at all times.

Prepare guests ahead of time. Mara Mazdzer of Fuse Weddings & Events plans safety precautions well in advance, so come wedding day, attendees don’t feel restricted. Here’s how she does it:

  • Include invite inserts and updating wedding websites to let guests know in advance what to expect (not to come if they feel sick, bring a mask, plan to social distance, etc) 

  • Space all dining tables 6 feet apart for dinner.

  • Organize the ceremony by household and seated it accordingly, with rows 6 feet apart and sat by household. 

  • Ensure cocktail hour has enough seating and mingling tables for households to stay apart. 

  • Use sanitation services like the ones offered by Utah Live Bands, which includes onsite sanitizer stations and touch-surface cleaning crew for every event. 

  • Reimagine food service with caterers to ensure guests aren't touching surfaces others have touched. 

  • Eliminate self-serve water stations and charcuterie boards.

Know your state and county guidelines. Mary Quinney of caterer Magleby’s says that her team implements these protocols to ensure safety: 

  • Terminate charcuteries boards, passed hors d'oeuvres, family-style dinners and self-serve buffets.  

  • Recommend plated meal services. 

  • If someone wants to do a food table, set up decorative stanchions 6 feet away from the food buffet and have staff in between the stanchions and the food table (gloved and masked) serve guests and sanitize after assisting each guest. 

  • Provide additional hand sanitizers to encourage frequent sanitizing. 

  • Prioritize guest safety. The quality of food doesn’t have to change, just the way of serving it. 

Lead by example. DJ Cooper Brown of One Above Entertainment picked up on these safety precautions while on-site:

  • Ensure staff is regularly cleaning doorknobs and bathroom amenities throughout the night.

  • Spread people out in venues to utilize both an indoor and outdoor space.

  • Wear a mask. “I've noticed a big difference in mask wearing if the wedding couple is wearing one, but if the bride and groom aren't, then masks seem to be taken off by most other guests.” 

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