Weddings in 2020. Adjusting to the new normal.
Since the start of lockdown, I’ve been inundated with enquiries from couples, asking about my availability on various dates that they’re hoping to wed – subject to the terms of the government’s roadmap.
Rather than answer them all individually, I’m setting out here my understanding of what is and isn’t allowed under the terms of the roadmap.
The first mention of weddings in the roadmap relates to Phase 4, which kicks in on July 20th.
It reads as follows:
“Social gatherings by family and close friends will be allowed but are to be limited to a maximum number of attendees for a period of time where social distancing can be maintained (for example: small weddings, baptisms).”
It’s interesting to note that no mention is made of what constitutes a small wedding, so it seems to be left to the discretion of the couple to decide what’s small and what’s big.
The next mention in the roadmap relates to Phase 5, starting on August 10th –
“Some larger social gatherings can take place (for example, weddings). These will be restricted due to the risks involved. Some large social (non-family) gatherings can take place – these will also be restricted.”
Again, it’s important to note that there’s no definition of how big a wedding can be.
There are a few important points to make about how these snippets from the roadmap will impact on your wedding.
First of all, there will be no ‘wedding police’ keeping tabs on how many guests you have. But do you really want to take a chance by having a bigger wedding that the roadmap intends?
The government guidelines exist for a reason, to keep our entire community safe and well.
Secondly, if you’re going to proceed with a wedding over the coming months, you need to consider what will happen to any overseas guests.
If they arrive in Ireland, will they be forced to quarantine for two weeks in advance of your wedding?
This could well be a factor in deciding whether you should put them under any moral pressure to attend.
For the time being, however, let’s assume that you’re looking to forge ahead with your wedding in this calendar year – either on its original date, or perhaps on a new date that you’ve managed to secure.
To make sure you take maximum care of your guests, here are some important points to remember:
The responsible thing would be to ask your guests to self-declare as not having the virus – or having got over it at least two weeks before your wedding date.
You can also have a temperature check at both the church and your hotel venue, making sure that anyone with a high temp is asked to return home. And remember to apply the same diligence to guests coming to ‘the afters’.
It’s hard to dance two metres apart, so if you’re going to have a wedding band, maybe the brief should be to play ‘background music’ as opposed to tunes that will fill the dancefloor.
The hotel venue is liable to have its own distancing measures in place to make sure that the bar does not become crowded, but it’s no harm for some of the wedding speeches to deliver a gentle reminder about bar etiquette.
It’s absolutely essential that you have hand sanitizer available throughout the day. Check with your venue to see if they will be taking care of this – otherwise you’ll need to bring your own.
It would be a very good idea to appoint a few Covid Deputies, whose job would be to keep an eye on things during the day and night, and make sure that high spirits did not lead to a relaxing of standards.
I hasten to add that none of the above suggestions are based on anything other than my own instincts as to what might constitute an achievable wedding between now and the end of this year – along with my own experience as a wedding entertainer and the conversations that I’ve been having with my clients.
The situation is changing by the day, so make sure you’re fully informed before you make any important decisions – whether to postpone your wedding or to go ahead with it.