What will your wedding look like as restrictions ease?
As someone who doesn’t have a political bone in his body, I have to say that I believe our government has done a good job in keeping us protected from the worst excesses of Covid-19.
And while there will obviously be recriminations at any fatalities that we have suffered in recent months, we only have to look to the U.K. and the U.S. to see how things could have been so much worse if our economy had not been shut down so completely.
Any government, by definition, is charged with looking after the Big Picture, and it’s hard to expect them to have specific answers for how the pub trade might re-open safely, or how hairdressers can keep their customers safe. To a large extent, individual sectors have to take the initiative themselves in planning a return to semi-normality.
That said, the world of hospitality has been given quite specific guidelines on how to manage weddings as the restrictions that have beset us over recent months start to ease.
The key points are set out below. They are intended for use by the venue – not by the bride and groom – but without doubt, they will have a major impact on the nature of your wedding, so it’s good to be familiar with them. And remember that any elements of the return-to-normal protocol are liable to be rolled back if there should be a sudden spike in cases of the virus.
- To avoid making direct contact with doors, guests should enter the property through doors that are automated or manually operated by an employee where possible.
- Hand sanitisers (touchless whenever possible), will be placed at all entry points. These must have a minimum alcohol content of 60%.
- Prominent signage must explain current physical distancing practices. This must be accompanied by clear and visible markings that illustrate the safe distancing protocol.
- A private room should be used, if available.
- Service stations must use physical distancing queuing systems.
- Tea/coffee/drinks and canapé stations must be managed by service personnel. There must be no self-service stations. Canapés must be in individual portions.
- Remove as much loose furniture (e.g. sofas, etc.) from the room to ensure maximum space for physical distancing.
- Entrance doors should be opened whilst guests are entering the dining area.
- Review the seating capacities to meet the current physical distancing guidance. There must be adequate spacing customers at each table in accordance with Government physical distancing guidelines.
- Table and guest spacing must adhere to Government’s Public Health advice.
- Hand sanitiser must be made available at the entrance to the dining room. These must have a minimum alcohol percentage of 60%. Signage must encourage all guests to use this when they enter and leave.
- Management must ensure signage is in place to welcome guests and reassure them that employees have been trained in line with the Government’s Public Health advice.
- There must be no shared items at the table. Instead: – Water jugs must be poured by service personnel only. – Salt and pepper shakers, butter dishes should be available only on request. – Instead each guest should be given individual portions/ sachets.
- For the meal service: – There must be no family-style service of food (i.e. no shared vegetable/gravy dishes, etc.). – Wedding afters must be served directly to each guest fully plated.
- Ensuring distancing on the dance floors: – Signage on tables and dance floors must ask guests to respect physical distancing guidelines. – Employees must monitor and manage distancing.
Also to Remember
- All third-party suppliers must ensure they adhere to the Government’s Public Health advice.
- Clear signage must be in place to request physical distancing.
- The maximum number of people attending a function (including service personnel) must be in line with the Government’s Public Health advice.
Most of the points above are little more than common sense in these very challenging and novel times, but there will definitely be a need to make sure that they are adhered to as the evening progresses. For example, it may be easy enough to ensure distance on the dance floor, but as a few glasses of wine are imbibed, there may well be a temptation to grow more relaxed. As a highly experienced wedding entertainer, I can guarantee you that there is usually a loosening of inhibitions as the night progresses.
To make sure that this doesn’t happen – and that your wedding is not remembered as being the source of a mini-cluster of Covid-19 in your area – it’s probably a good idea to get a small group of your non-drinking friends and ask them to be the unofficial distancing police right throughout the day and night.
The day can still be totally memorable – but for all the right reasons. And isn’t it fantastic to think that you can start your married life by being totally respectful of the health of your friends and family?
Stay safe – and keep washing those hands.