How To Get Married Now

Elated Still Photography

We have no idea when things will return to normal. A lot of couples are holding out hope for 2021. I truly hope next year is better but for right now we are not doing so many of the things we need to do to get this pandemic under control from consistently wearing masks and social distancing, to actually having an adequate testing system and public health system in place to handle this the way they have in other countries.

My best advice continues to be get married when you want to get married. Eloping in Oregon is beautiful and easy to do – you don’t need to spend a bunch of money on expensive prepackaged things with a team of vendors you can just do the following:

  1. Decide on a date. Week days will be the easiest if you do plan on having any paid vendors. But do it any day you want.
  2. Pick a meaningful place you want to get married, on the river on a dock, at a favorite park, in the forrest, on the coast, or in your own yard.
  3. Pick your key people who must be there. You should plan on just the most important people. The only rule is you need two witnesses, an officiant and yourself. Your witnesses can include a photographer.
  4. Hire a professional officiant, choose a family member or good friend to be your officiant and get them ordained if they are not already. If you work with us not only am I a wedding planner and floral designer, I am also an ordained officiant. I did this three years ago just to be safe as a back up plan but my major in college was English – I am a writer and I enjoy helping you write your perfect style and type of custom ceremony. I grew up going to Sunday School and have studied and planned all types of religious and non-religious ceremony but my comfort zone is the non-traditional non-religious ceremony.
  5. Write your ceremony and vows. Elopments are my favorite, you know why? Because they are all about the actual commitment, ceremony and love expressed as you vow to be a team for life. We can help you compose your perfect ceremony and give you pointers to write meaningful vows you will cherish for life.
  6. If you have a dress already wear it – doesn’t matter if it was designed for a huge celebration or a cathedral. Wear it! If you are planning a later celebration when you can and want a new dress for now we whole heartedly endorse having fun with this! Wear something fun, simple or colorful, or get a second wedding dress from a store like Blue Sky Bridal where you can go all out while saving.
  7. Choose flowers. If you are going to a public place where otehrs may be – we recommend keeping it very simple just a beautiful but simple bouquet and boutonnieres no extra decor needed. If it is in your backyard we can design an on site floral foam free floating arch, decorate an arch you have on site, or build a ceremony circle in the middle of your grass.
  8. Chairs and rentals are not needed! But if you are doing this at home and want them we recommend just small rounds 36″ round max and 30″ tall bistros with 2 – 3 seats per table. Get a six’ rectangle banquet for families of 4. Everyone should be seated by household. If you are only going to have a few tables we recommend you buy white tablecloths on Amazon, or get them in color. If you are just getting a few you’ll now have them for future Thanksgivings or gatherings and it will cost about the same as renting them for one day. If you were having 100 people of course you would rent them, but for 10 just buy them and use them again! Here’s the math 108″ rounds cover your 36″ round 30 ” tall table. A 6′ rectangle needs a 132″x 90″ rectangle cloth.
  9. What about the food? Order a charcuterie plate per table for pick up from Elephants Deli and give each table a split sized bottle of champagne. Pro tip order champagne glasses on Amazon so everyone can have their own glass at their table, you won’t spend a lot, and your house will be stocked for years of fun memories everytime you use them int eh future. Everyone gets their own table charcuterie plate! For desserts just get a small cutting cake with all white frosting – we can decorate your cake with a topper and flowers (yes I have a food handlers certificate and I’m a licensed florist so you’re safe and covered with one person). Order desserts and set a dessert plate per table. We recommend preordering your favorite treats from The Hungry Hero or just roll the dice stop in and pick out favorites available the day before your wedding day. Get your perfect white cutting cake from The Cakery (you can order an 8″ Vanilla Dream Cake online) in Hillsdale or go all in and get one from Dream Cakes. If you want dinner opt for a pizza per table vs. trying to safely cater and feed people in a pandemic – they’ll be ok with it. Or go to a nearby outdoor seating restaurant and sit at a couple of nearby tables.

Side note Halloween is on a Saturday this year. That could be a fun day to elope.

Our elopement services available:

Just flowers – the package is local seasonally available flowers in a color pallet you like with a bouquet, boutonniere and cake topper built on melted white chocolate so you can just place it on your cake – $200. Custom floral packages can include bouquets, boutonnieres, cake flowers, arch or onsite decor, table centerpieces with rentals or purchased vessels, and hair florals or crowns.

Planning – Assistance choosing your favorite spot, selecting vendors from officiant, food options near where you will elope in Oregon, videographers, streaming set up with zoom for you to have a friend or vendor run, rentals, and a mood board. $250 All of the above plus me at your elopement with set up of any allowed decor items, and assistance with clean up $500 (within 50 miles of Portland)

Elopement Officiating – assistance writing your custom ceremony and pointers for writing your own vows. Performing your ceremony and filing the papers – you must get your marriage license at least 3 days (but not before 60 days out) through any Oregon county. In Washington County you can order it by mail. $500 (within 50 miles of Portland)

All inclusive – assistance planning, flowers (1 bouquet, 1 boutonniere, + a cake topper), and officiating = $950

Phased Opening by County (Update 8-4-20)

Your Micro Wedding Size Will Vary by County and Phase of Opening

As things will continue to change as numbers and possitivity percentages change by county, some things are certain. Until there is a vaccine your best bet is to plan for an elopement 10 people max. If you would like more than 10, plan as close to your wedding date as possible and for a county that can accommodate your size of an event. A Phase I county can accommodate up to 10 people max anywhere indoors. Any church in the state will limit you to exclusively your immediate key people and the officiant 10 people only. Include your photographer in your numbers. Hire a videographer! They can set up a camera if they cannot be inside for your indoor ceremony.

Outdoors varies by phase and Venue – some venues can host up to 250 people, but in general the guidelines for gatherings are as follows (including staff and guests):

Phase I any venue max at 50 people

Phase II any venue Max at 50 people indoors and 100 outdoors

For private household events indoors max at 10.

Face masks are required throughout the state indoors or outdoors when you cannot maintain 6 feet distance at all times. Plan on requiring masks at your wedding, it will be safe to remove to eat and drink or even socialize within your own household spaced away from others and outdoors. We are here to help you plan an elopement or appropriate wedding with changes in a hurry.

Baker County

Baker City

Current Status: Phase II – 10 indoor for private events, 50 Max indoor at any venue, 100 outdoor Max for private events and 250 Max for any type of venue

Benton County

Corvallis

Current Status: Phase II – 10 indoor for private events, 50 Max indoor at any venue, 100 outdoor Max for private events and 250 Max for any type of venue

Clackamas County

Oregon City

Current Status: Phase I – 10 Max indoor, 25 Max outdoor

Clatsop County

Astoria

Current Status: Phase II – 10 indoor for private events, 50 Max indoor at any venue, 100 outdoor Max for private events and 250 Max for any type of venue

Columbia County

Saint Helens

Current Status: Phase II – 10 indoor for private events, 50 Max indoor at any venue, 100 outdoor Max for private events and 250 Max for any type of venue

Coos County

Coquille

Current Status: Phase II – 10 indoor for private events, 50 Max indoor at any venue, 100 outdoor Max for private events and 250 Max for any type of venue

Crook County

Prineville

Current Status: Phase II – 10 indoor for private events, 50 Max indoor at any venue, 100 outdoor Max for private events and 250 Max for any type of venue

Curry County

Golds Beach

Current Status: Phase II – 10 indoor for private events, 50 Max indoor at any venue, 100 outdoor Max for private events and 250 Max for any type of venue

Deschutes County

Bend

Current Status: Phase II – 10 indoor for private events, 100 Max indoor at any venue, 100 outdoor Max for private events and 250 Max for any type of venue

Douglas County

Roseburg

Current Status: Phase II – 10 indoor for private events, 100 Max indoor at any venue, 100 outdoor Max for private events and 250 Max for any type of venue

Gilliam County

Condon

Current Status: Phase II – 10 indoor for private events, 100 Max indoor at any venue, 100 outdoor Max for private events and 250 Max for any type of venue

Grant County

Canyon City

Current Status: Phase II – 10 indoor for private events, 100 Max indoor at any venue, 100 outdoor Max for private events and 250 Max for any type of venue

Harney County

Burns

Current Status: Phase II – 10 indoor for private events, 50 Max indoor at any venue, 100 outdoor Max for private events and 250 Max for any type of venue

Hood River County

Hood River

Current Status: Phase II – 10 indoor for private events, 50 Max indoor at any venue, 100 outdoor Max for private events and 250 Max for any type of venue

Jackson County

Medford

Current Status: Phase II – 10 indoor for private events, 50 Max indoor at any venue, 100 outdoor Max for private events and 250 Max for any type of venue

Jefferson County

Madras

Current Status: Phase II – 10 indoor for private events, 50 Max indoor at any venue, 100 outdoor Max for private events and 250 Max for any type of venue

Josephine County

Grants Pass

Current Status: Phase II – 10 indoor for private events, 50 Max indoor at any venue, 100 outdoor Max for private events and 250 Max for any type of venue

Klamath County

Klamath Falls

Current Status: Phase II – 10 indoor for private events, 50 Max indoor at any venue, 100 outdoor Max for private events and 250 Max for any type of venue

Lake County

Lakeview

Current Status: Phase II – 10 indoor for private events, 50 Max indoor at any venue, 100 outdoor Max for private events and 250 Max for any type of venue

Lane County

Eugene

Current Status: Phase II – 10 indoor for private events, 50 Max indoor at any venue, 100 outdoor Max for private events and 250 Max for any type of venue

Lincoln County

Newport

Current Status: Phase I – 10 Max indoors, 25 Max outdoors

Linn County

Albany

Current Status: Phase II – 10 indoor for private events, 50 Max indoor at any venue, 100 outdoor Max for private events and 250 Max for any type of venue

Malheur County

Vale

Current Status: Phase II – 10 indoor for private events, 50 Max indoor at any venue, 100 outdoor Max for private events and 250 Max for any type of venue

Marion County

Salem

Current Status: Phase II – 10 indoor for private events, 50 Max indoor at any venue, 100 outdoor Max for private events and 250 Max for any type of venue

Morrow County

Heppner

Current Status: Phase I – on watch list may go backwards. 10 Max indoors, 50 Max outdoors at a venue

Multnomah County

Portland

Current Status: Phase I – Max 10 indoors, Max 50 outdoors. On watch list may go backwards.

Polk County

Dallas

Current Status: Phase II – 10 indoor for private events, 50 Max indoor at any venue, 100 outdoor Max for private events and 250 Max for any type of venue

Sherman County

Moro

Current Status: Phase II – 10 indoor for private events, 50 Max indoor at any venue, 100 outdoor Max for private events and 250 Max for any type of venue

Tillamook County

Tillamook

Current Status: Phase II – 10 indoor for private events, 50 Max indoor at any venue, 100 outdoor Max for private events and 250 Max for any type of venue

Umatilla County

Pendleton

Current Status: Baseline Stat At Home – 10 Max

Union County

La Grande

Current Status: Phase II – 10 indoor for private events, 50 Max indoor at any venue, 100 outdoor Max for private events and 250 Max for any type of venue

Wallowa County

Enterprise

Current Status: Phase II – 10 indoor for private events, 50 Max indoor at any venue, 100 outdoor Max for private events and 250 Max for any type of venue

Wasco County

Dufur

Current Status: Phase II – 10 indoor for private events, 50 Max indoor at any venue, 100 outdoor Max for private events and 250 Max for any type of venue

Washington County

Hillsboro

Current Status: Phase I – Max 10 indoor, 25-50 Max Outdoor varies by venue.

Wheeler County

Fossil

Current Status: Phase II – 10 indoor for private events, 50 Max indoor at any venue, 100 outdoor Max for private events and 250 Max for any type of venue

Yamhill County

MciMinnville

Current Status: Phase II – 10 indoor for private events, 50 Max indoor at any venue, 100 outdoor Max for private events and 250 Max for any type of venue

Micro Weddings

What are they? Should I have one?

We live in Portland where micro weddings aren’t new – having a trendy name for it is. I have always defined micro weddings as 50 or less guests. In the times of a pandemic I think we can say if you were planning a 250 guest wedding that now needs to be 75 Max, you can call it a micro wedding.

So how do you plan a wedding when you don’t know what the hell is going to happen next month, nexts season, or next year? Many have been scrambling to change their wedding date to 2021. Many who are just getting engaged are avoiding planning yet all together or talking about eloping or a micro wedding.

One concern I have about people postponing for next summer is that while it may be all great by then, history and science tell us not to bet on that. Travel experts are predicting 2023 before travel activities are back to “normal”. To me, the only thing worse than planning a wedding for a year only to have to postpone it for another year, would be if we get to that date next year and nothing has changed – you still can’t gather with more than 100 people and vulnerable populations still can’t be at your wedding. While that is not what any couple wants to hear today, I’m a planner it’s my job to be an expert who tells you how to plan for what we know. When we don’t know, and we have no solid answer beyond “Don’t plan events or large gatherings above 100 people without a vaccine or treatment.” I’m going to assume we should listen to the experts who are telling us 12-18 months for best case scenario.

So how do you plan a wedding when at any given time we could have a 25 person limit, or a 50 person limit or a 100 person limit (including vendors)? This is my wheel-house. If you have a wedding you haven’t cancelled or postponed planned for June – September of this year here’s what you need to start doing right now:

  1. Decide if you will absolutely get married on time in a way that is allowed and a) cancel your original wedding or b) postpone your original wedding as an anniversary celebration. Or will you Postpone all together and hope for the best next year?
  2. Have a working Plan B and Plan C
  3. Inform your guests in a fashion that is appropriate

Making the call

How do you decide if you should get married on time? Set lists. Have a list of 10 (including yourselves and an officiant) then anyone you would and could have present if you elope and celebrate later. This might sound crazy when everyone is talking about reopening right now, but the reality is every reopening plan has a plan to go back to stay at home orders if hospitals reach certain capacity levels (so again, I’m a planner in the next 18 months to 2 years if you are planning a wedding you should have this as part of your plan).

Have a top 20 list – this is your back yard micro wedding list. These are the people you will have at your wedding if you decide to get married on time even if you can’t use your original booked venue. Next break each of the remaining groups from your original master guest list in to groups of 20 and rank these subgroups in this way (add to in person guest list if possible or create a separate celebration for this group). Make sure these groups of 20 make sense to have together (for example they all work with you or your spouse and live near by, they are all family and friends in one city who would have to travel to be present, etc.). Next brainstorm ideas for each group not in the core 20 for alternative later celebrations – a dinner at a restaurant, a backyard bbq, a brunch, etc.

When you finish this process, are any of these ideas and lists giving you a wedding vibe that is appealing to you, or does this all just sound awful and like you can’t do this and be happy? Ask yourselves serious questions so you can find the right answers. This will absolutely be different for every single couple. Next ask yourselves do you want a solid plan you can absolutely set or a floating Plan B and C that you can finalize just a few weeks before your wedding date? Again I’m a wedding planner floating plans and flying by the seat of my pants doesn’t stress me out. If it stresses you out choose a set path. That path will be different for every single couple.

If you decide you need your original wedding then postpone for a year and be ok postponing again if you have to next Spring.

If you decide getting married on time is important to you and you want set plans then plan a backyard micro wedding. Get keepsake invites made and mailed off to your core 20 list. Have extras you can send even to those who you know cannot and will not be there but who would like to keep one for their scrapbook. If you haven’t already, hire a videographer. You will need streaming capabilities and if WiFi is spotty a plan to post the uncut ceremony ASAP for anyone who can’t be there. Set up online invites for your separate lists, give them details of the change of plans info about how they can watch the ceremony online – if you will have a drive by parade for those who can’t be there at the ceremony to stick to numbers but they live near by you, include details about the timing for that (my next blogpost will be a sample backyard wedding and timeline). Finally invite them to a later celebration for their group. If the sub group is out of town and there can’t be a set date at this time let them know you will travel to them as soon as it is possible and details will follow.

If you don’t need set plans and there is a chance your booked venue will be operating on your wedding date with as many as 40-80 guests allowed have a Plan B and a Plan C. Plan B is 40-80 guests (in your original lists you should have had two of them that can be informed 8 weeks out that laws permitting they will be invited to your in person wedding stay tuned for confirmation). If your venue’s county is open for 50 on your wedding date you will have already sent keepsake paper invites to your core 20, now send digital invites to the 2nd core 20 after that. The rest will receive instructions on how to virtually enjoy your ceremony with details of a later separate celebration planned for that group. If your county will allow 100 (including vendors) invite your core 20 and your 2nd and 3rd core 20. If something happens and your venue cannot operate on your wedding date see the backyard Micro wedding details above – that is your Plan C.

Cancelling your original wedding

It is ok to wait to cancel your original contracted wedding agreements until you know what you will be doing and what will be allowed on your wedding date. If you contracted for 170 guests and the venue legally cannot host an event over 80 guests on your wedding date, you should either renegotiate for the event you can have or cancel and request a full refund to the extent allowed by law as your venue cannot legally uphold their end of the agreement and you cannot legally host an event with the number of people contracted.

If you would like to postpone for a later date, most of your vendors and your venue will likely be very happy to work with you to reschedule a date where they are still available in 2021. If they do not have a date that will work see above directions on cancelling. I am not a lawyer and cannot advise you on what to do exactly if a venue or vendor is unwilling to negotiate, but most must renegotiate with you if the original contracted event cannot happen by mandate of the state of Oregon.

My next post will be a sample backyard Micro Wedding and timeline. We will get in to ideas of types of Micro Weddings you can have at venues soon – but while nothing is yet open we are holding off.

Phased Opening by County

Your Micro Wedding Size Will Vary by County and Phase of Opening

As Oregon begins to reopen it could get a little confusing for events for a while. Some counties will be in Phase I some will be in Phase II and some will still be in shut down mode. In general the rule is up to 25 for Phase I counties, some will be at 10 max for gatherings, and no non-essential travel (This means your venue shouldn’t be outside 50 miles of your home or require overnight stays). In Phase II most counties will be at 50 max people some are based on square footage or have other numbers or no plan yet, but not more than 100 in Oregon through at least the end of September and not until Phase III. A vaccine or treatment is required to get to Phase III. It could be 12-18 months or more to get to Phase III – we don’t know. Please note max numbers should be treated as fire code numbers meaning include all people present — vendors, yourselves, guests. It’s not 25 guests it’s 25 total people.

We will try to keep this post updated regularly. While some may have projected dates and numbers these dates and numbers are potentially going to change if there is an outbreak and all may be adapted. These numbers should not be considered as your guide to planning, or guaranteed numbers, but they are as close as we can come to helping with what we know.

More info on guidelines for the public during the first phase of reopening:

Baker County

Baker City

Phase I: 25 Max -Applied for May 15

Phase II: June 5th earliest, TBD based on sqft not more than 100

Benton County

Corvallis

Phase I: 25 Max -Applied for May 15

Phase II: June 5th earliest, TBD

Clackamas County

Oregon City

Has not applied for Phase I yet

TBD

Clatsop County

Astoria

Phase I: 25 Max -Applied for May 15

Phase II: June 5th earliest, TBD

Columbia County

Saint Helens

Phase I: 25 Max -Applied for May 15

Phase II: June 5th earliest, TBD

Coos County

Coquille

Phase I: 25 Max -Applied for May 15

Phase II: June 5th earliest, TBD

Crook County

Prineville

Phase I: 25 Max -Applied for May 15

Phase II: June 5th earliest, TBD

Curry County

Golds Beach

Phase I: 25 Max -Applied for May 15

Phase II: June 5th earliest, TBD

Deschutes County

Bend

Phase I: 25 Max -Applied for May 15

Phase II: June 5th earliest, TBD

Douglas County

Roseburg

Phase I: 25 Max -Applied for May 15

Phase II: June 5th earliest, TBD

Gilliam County

Condon

Phase I: 25 Max -Applied for May 15

Phase II: June 5th earliest, TBD

Grant County

Canyon City

Phase I: 25 Max -Applied for May 15

Phase II: June 5th earliest, TBD

Harney County

Burns

Phase I: 25 Max -Applied for May 15

Phase II: June 5th earliest, TBD

Hood River County

Hood River

Phase I: 25 Max -Applied for May 15

Phase II: June 5th earliest, TBD

Jackson County

Medford

Phase I: 25 Max -Applied for May 15

Phase II: June 5th earliest, TBD

Jefferson County

Madras

Phase I: 25 Max -Applied for May 15

Phase II: June 5th earliest, TBD

Josephine County

Grants Pass

Phase I: 25 Max -Applied for May 15

Phase II: June 5th earliest, TBD

Klamath County

Klamath Falls

Phase I: 25 Max -Applied for May 15

Phase II: June 5th earliest, TBD

Lake County

Lakeview

Phase I: 25 Max -Applied for May 15

Phase II: June 5th earliest, TBD

Lane County

Eugene

Phase I: 10 Max -Applied for May 15

Phase II: June 5th earliest, TBD

Lincoln County

Newport

TBD not applied

Linn County

Albany

Phase I: 25 Max -Applied for May 15

Phase II: June 5th earliest, TBD

Malheur County

Vale

Phase I: 25 Max -Applied for May 15

Phase II: June 5th earliest, TBD

Marion County

Salem

Phase I: 25 Max -Applied for May 15

Phase II: 100 Max – June 5th earliest

Morrow County

Heppner

Phase I: 25 Max -Applied for May 15

Phase II: June 5th earliest, TBD

Multnomah County

Portland

Has not applied at this time

Polk County

Dallas

Phase I: 25 Max -Applied for May 15

Phase II: June 5th earliest, TBD

Sherman County

Moro

Phase I: 25 Max -Applied for May 15

Phase II: June 5th earliest, TBD

Tillamook County

Tillamook

Phase I: 25 Max -Applied for May 15

Phase II: June 5th earliest, TBD

Umatilla County

Pendleton

Phase I: 25 Max -Applied for May 15

Phase II: June 5th earliest, TBD

Union County

La Grande

Phase I: 25 Max -Applied for May 15

Phase II: June 5th earliest, TBD

Wallowa County

Enterprise

Phase I: 25 Max -Applied for May 15

Phase II: June 5th earliest, TBD

Wasco County

Dufur

Phase I: 25 Max -Applied for May 15

Phase II: June 5th earliest, TBD

Washington County

Hillsboro

Phase I: 25 Max – Not applied yet expect mid June

Phase II: 50 Max – TBD

Wheeler County

Fossil

Phase I: 25 Max -Applied for May 15

Phase II: June 5th earliest, TBD

Yamhill County

MciMinnville

Phase I: 25 Max -Applied for May 15

Phase II: June 5th earliest, TBD

Need Help Postponing or Redesigning Your Wedding?

Hannah Alena Photography

If you have been affected by COVID 19 shutdowns and uncertainty and need help designing a different wedding and rescheduling please let us help you.

How can we help you?

1. We are offering free advice to any couple in need of help by email only – sadie@vareusevents.com

Ask away!

2. Need help redesigning, cancelling and rescheduling? We’ll custom quote any rescheduling package. Prices will vary from $20-$200 depending on what you need. From simple help to more involved assistance in the process. This service is free to any of our existing customers.

Get started now fill out this online form for emailed free advice of other help rescheduling and redesigning.

3. Assistance writing or designing wedding website content for updating and informing guests.

FAQ

When should I decide to reschedule or cancel?

Any wedding through May you should either plan to redesign as a streamed elopement from home or reschedule completely.

June/July weddings, this is tricky. We will know more by May, but early June is unlikely to be better than May. Late June-July weddings may happen but look very different than you originally planned. Please start considering changes to make.

Seriously consider online invites PaperlessPost.com or GreenVelope.com, as opposed to traditional invites if you have been holding off until the last minute to do your invites. Order a short run of invite paper suites for moms and those who will want keepsakes (25 max) in case you need to make changes after they have been sent. The post office is not as reliable right now, services are delayed to some areas. And info is changing rapidly. Paperless invites are more affordable and you can work details of your wedding website in to them as links your guests can easily find in their inbox to get new info. As an added bonus updates or complete changes are easier to communicate digitally.

What if my guest count drops significantly?

Plan on fewer guests for any wedding taking place in the next 12-18 months. Until there is a vaccine travel will be difficult to impossible for at risk populations. Don’t put pressure on anyone in high risk populations to be physically present. Guests in other countries or states may not be able to travel due to restrictions where they are traveling from.

Even local guests may be suddenly unable to attend if they get sick. An unexpected fever will mean staying home, even if it ends up just being a common cold. Expect your guest count to drop noticeably. Changing venues can be an expensive move if you are keeping your date, try to keep your venue if it makes sense to do so. Work with your venue and caterer to make appropriate changes to reach minimums or redesign the set up to work with your new numbers vs. your original plans.

Work with all of your vendors. Understand supply chains have changed and been disrupted from florals to food supplies. You may need to be flexible with substitutions. Your change in numbers may not change your final price tag or it may dramatically cost less, but you may also receive substitutions and upgrades that end up changing your overall design.

What should I change or redesign to help keep my guests safe?

The biggest change you can make is to offer video and streaming services for anyone who is at risk. Those 65 and older, people with diabetes, asthma, pregnant guests, and guests with compromised immune systems, etc. should receive a call or special message or note from you giving them a connection to your wedding, without having to risk their safety to attend.

Many videographers are offering streaming services. At the very least delegate this task to a friend you trust with technology. Do a test run at the rehearsal to make sure it works. At the very least, plan to video or stream your wedding using zoom, or another service. Make sure your venue has WiFi, test it (I know I said this twice). Plan to set up a cell hotspot if needed.

Pass on buffets or family style meal service. For appetizers have tray passed items in containers or otherwise plan for items to reduce the number of contacts the items may have. Plated dinners by your servers is going to be safer than buffet lines with everyone touching serving devices.

Avoid choosing hand held foods like pizza or burgers, opting instead for meals eaten with utensils.

Have hand sanitizer available for guests and plenty of dodo in the venue bathrooms. If your. Enid does not have adequate hand washing facilities or if it is rustic with outhouses, rent hand washing stations and or upgrade to a more sanitary trailer bathroom service.

Have assigned seating. If you’re venue is very large and your guest count has been greatly reduced consider using more tables with fewer people – seat people from the same households at each table.

Should I change venues if I’m cancelling/rescheduling?

The answer greatly depends on a lot of factors. If your guest count has dropped significantly, you may want to change venues.

If your original venue was a destination venue or someplace far enough away from your hometown you rented an Airbnb or hotel, and your wedding is now 50 or less people, and you can cancel without losing more than you’ll save, consider this option. If the venue is paid for, and your dream venue, try to redesign at your dream venue rather than changing everything.

If you are simply changing the date, try to keep all the vendors you can. If you believe a winter wedding will be better than keeping your date with a redesign, reconsider this assumption. Nobody knows what will happen for the next year to 18 months. You cannot be certain things will not be worse in December than they are in August. If you want to marry your person, you love your venue, strongly consider having a changed wedding on your planned date vs. possibly having to reschedule again later.

Anybody who tells you they know what will happen is not being honest. Nobody knows. You have to dig deep. Talk to your loved ones and decide what is most important to you right now. We will get through this. It will get better. We don’t know exactly what will happen one month from the next. But there are experts we are listening to and changing situations we will adjust to.

We are sorry this is happening, your love will still be celebrated. Your upcoming marriage is still important.

When Weddings Are A Thing Once Again

Georgia Ruth Photography

We promise, people will be able to have weddings again. But if you’ve been planning a 2020 or even a 2021 wedding, things are going to change for the safety of everyone involved.

We are still recommending you not cancel or reschedule weddings beyond May, at this point. But here are some things you need to begin planning for if your wedding is scheduled for anytime this summer.

1. Your wedding will be more intimate than originally planned.

Even if everyone you invited lives locally, some people may not be able to attend your wedding or any large event until a vaccine exists. High risk individuals or people who reside or work with high risk populations will not want to miss your biggest day – but they may have to.

People who need to travel to be here may be unable to do so, depending on where they live and current circumstances in their own community, as well as yours. Cancelling or postponing your wedding because some of your most important people cannot physically be there is a difficult choice to make, but remember to make your decision for important reasons to do with your love for your future spouse and your desire to be married on your planned wedding date.

You may have a very different type of wedding celebration, that can go on in a very different way, and continue for the next year-18 months. Multiple smaller than planned celebration dinners over the next year+ as circumstances allow, will replace large weddings of the past. If you had a lot of family planning to travel from one place, instead you may plan on a future trip and future celebratory dinner in their hometown.

In Oregon, the trend has already been toward more intimate and different weddings. If you are recently engaged, haven’t begun putting down deposits, we’d love to help you think outside of the box and plan for a very progressive wedding perfect for the times we are living in, one that celebrates your love and supports your local community of small business owners.

If you already had the huge wedding planned start accepting it will change now – beginning with head counts.

2. Hire a quality videographer – one with the ability to add streaming services.

You’re going to have dear loved ones who cannot be at your wedding for their safety. They would likely rather you get married, as planned, instead of cancelling for them. Have those difficult conversations. Regardless of who can’t be there, we know they are people you love. Please hire a quality videographer! You are going to want to stream the wedding, as well as have a quality video for them, so they can see you get married even if they can’t physically be there.

3. Create a wedding website and use it, to keep your guests informed

Even when things begin to go back to more normal, they will not be normal until there is a vaccine, broad rapid result testing capabilities exist, and a way to determine who already has built up immunity. You will need to keep communication current for your guests.

4. If you were planning a buffet, change your plan to plated.

Buffets are popular for weddings, but they are the least safe food service for these challenging times. Ask your caterer now to give you new menu options for plated food service if you were originally planning for a buffet. Odds are your overall head count will go down so this should not greatly affect your budget. It will mean having to find out a food selection from guests, before your wedding date. Many wedding websites have online rsvp functions with meal choice selections as an option.

If you have already sent invitations or had them printed, you can create a google form to get this information by email, send a text link, share it on your wedding website, etc. it will create a google spreadsheet with the results, which makes it super easy for creating escort cards of place cards where you can indicate meal choice for serving staff.

Again, your planner can do all of this for you, or help you set it up.

4. Even if you’ve already mailed invitations, or have printed ones, you may want to send follow up email invitations with new information.

I’ve advised my couples to hold off on ordering invitations until the last minute. If it’s already too late, and things may have changed since you placed your order, consider using PaperlessPost, of GreenVelope to send new invites by email. It will cost less than printed invites and save you a lot of time and stress.

We’re here to help. If anyone has questions, ask. You don’t have to be a client.