Stations vs. Large Buffet Lines
While great food and libations are still top of mind for folks looking to celebrate, how dishes and drinks are prepared and served will follow stringent safety precautions. To minimize the amount of contact the food as we are suggesting smaller stations be incorporated rather than a long assembly line for a full buffet.
Each station will have a serving steward to listen to the guests' choices and "make the plate" for each guest, to ensure that only one person (the steward) has access to the serving utensils.
If you don't have the space for stations, and need to serve in a buffet line we are asking that the number of guests is limited to 5 at a time. We can also provide custom buffet sneeze guards for buffet displays. Once again, we ask that our serving steward be responsible for making all the guests' plates while they are in line.
The health and safety of guests are of utmost importance. Event hosts should communicate to guests the measures being put into place and emphasize that by following their guidelines, they're showing love and respect to them and others in attendance.
Hosts may offer gloves and masks to guests (potentially even in colors or patterns that coordinate with their overall event décor and style), and even adopt formal gloves as a fashion accessory for wedding celebrations. Historically, gloves have been seen as an elegant and timeless fashion accessory, which some couples have natively adopted with handshakes in mind.
All Silver Spoons staff will wear personal protective equipment, while serving guests.
According to The Knot’s global research, most engaged couples whose weddings have been impacted by COVID-19 are not canceling their weddings (92% globally, 93% in the US), and are rescheduling for either later this year, 2021, or not making any changes at this time. With a strong desire to celebrate their weddings as they had originally planned, 94% of couples in the US and 87% globally do not plan to reduce their overall guest count, and 95% in the US and 90% globally do not anticipate lowering their budget .
OPEN-AIR ADD-ONS RISE IN POPULARITY
Couples are encouraged to work with their wedding venue in staging socially distant, yet creative, ceremony and reception groupings for guests, as large, dense crowds will still likely raise concerns. Couples in early planning stages, who have not yet chosen their vendor team, may consider incorporating open-air or outdoor elements to their celebrations to eliminate guests feeling confined. For those who have chosen their venue already, couples will be more intentional with who they’re inviting and guests they’re grouping together at both the ceremony and reception dining tables.
The Rise of the Quarantine Minimony: Marry Now, Wedding Later
While in quarantine, many couples have gotten creative with ways to honor their original wedding dates, with some planning to get married before their rescheduled celebration (27%) and partaking in mini-ceremonies, or what The Knot has coined a “minimony.”2 Couples are celebrating their marriage ceremony intimately between the two of them or with a small group of loved ones in person or virtually. While minimonies don’t take the place of a couple’s postponed wedding celebration, the small commitment ceremonies are often a cathartic way for couples to bond in honoring their original wedding date during this unprecedented time. In addition to a couple’s officiant joining virtually to conduct the virtual ceremony, they can also lean on their wedding planner to help bring a “minimony” to life. Planners are helping couples coordinate with their other wedding vendors, such as their cake baker who may be able to provide a smaller “mini” version of their wedding cake, or their florist who can create a mini bouquet. Couples can also hire their wedding photographer to capture this smaller minimony, and then post photos to their wedding website as a sneak peek for guests of what’s to come.
Evolution of Event Formats Influence Timelines and Guest Count
The influence of social distancing and limiting large group interactions will likely continue to shape weddings even after distancing restrictions are loosened or lifted. Couples will likely make changes to their wedding day formats, whether that be shifting to a weekday wedding to ensure their full vendor team is available, revisiting their guest list for a more intimate and intentional gathering, or planning multiple wedding celebrations to accommodate various guest groupings. New wedding day formats may include:
Many couples are being flexible when rescheduling their wedding date, with some US couples opting to switch their wedding celebrations to a different day of the week (12%)—most commonly Thursday (8% of those who switched days), Friday (40% of those who switched days), or Sunday (33% of those who switched days).2 Couples are making this decision to ensure their full vendor team is available on their new, rescheduled date. Plus, these days are often still convenient as an extension of the weekend for both traveling and in-town guests.
The Knot initially coined the term “sequel wedding” in 2019 when referring to couples who had multiple ceremonies for cultural, religious or other reasons. In the time of COVID-19, sequel weddings are taking on a new meaning for couples who still want to celebrate with all those nearest and dearest to them safely. A sequel wedding is a larger-scale second celebration (i.e. a wedding that’s been postponed), following an event that is more intimate in nature like a minimony or microwedding. Having a minimony allows couples to solidify their union or to honor their first proposed date, while throwing a sequel wedding allows them to bring their wedding vision to life and celebrate with all their guests.
The concept of a shift wedding may also appeal to couples who want to maintain a full guest list, allowing them to celebrate with all their loved ones in a similar way to what they initially planned, but in shifts. With shift weddings, couples are able to host their wedding day festivities at their original venue and with their full team of wedding vendors in shifts of people, allowing them to adhere to social-distancing guidelines and event capacity restrictions. Venues will properly clean and sanitize between groups arriving on site. This concept may help couples create a fulfilling celebration after a long period of self-isolating, without having to make the difficult decision to cut their guest list.
Guests can utilize the events they already had planned for their wedding weekend (the rehearsal dinner, ceremony, reception and next-day brunch) to host multiple celebrations, inviting different groupings of their guests to each event. This concept, similar to a shift wedding, allows couples with a guest list on the larger side to celebrate with each and every one of their guests throughout multiple separate festivities. Unlike the shift wedding, multiweddings happen over a span of an entire weekend instead of just one day, allowing for lengthier events.
Due to unpredictable lifting of social-distancing restrictions, some couples may look to move forward with planning a microwedding, or an intimate wedding celebration with a reduced guest list. With a couple’s reduction in guest count, they can create a truly one-of-a-kind macro experience, splurging on elements like a top-shelf open bar, a decadent sit-down brunch at a five-star restaurant, or outside-the-box guest entertainment. Some couples who host microweddings may also choose to host a larger party in the near future with the rest of their guest list.
Rethinking the Guest Experience
Guest Communication Enhanced by Digitization and Increased Frequency
To help guests feel safe and in the know, couples will likely shift their methods for communicating with guests in advance of wedding celebrations, inclusive of incorporating more details on paper stationery, like heath and safety information, and an increased reliance on technology like wedding websites, digital wedding registries like The Knot Registry, virtual gifting, and streaming platforms.
Wedding websites are the best way for couples to remain in constant contact with guests on updates related to their upcoming wedding. A list of frequently asked questions is a great place to start, with details on any new accommodations like hotel blocks or day-of transportation, and any new health and safety precautions that will be incorporated into wedding festivities.
Guest Experience Enhanced With Alternative Entertainment
Couples are planning with precautions in mind for limiting close quarters and may include hyper-personalized alternative entertainment for their guests to enjoy at a safe distance. These experiences can be a fun play on the couple’s relationship, their passions or their cultural backgrounds with unique, live musical performances, or the couple’s band or DJ creating a few different themed music areas throughout the reception to limit crowds. Music vendors may also lean into technology, like the silent disco concept, so guests can celebrate more spread out at a safe distance.
Personalization to Reach an All-Time High
Hyper-personalization doesn’t stop at entertainment. Couples will incorporate more of their unique love stories into every element of their celebration, from favors and welcome bags (which may now be mailed to each guest in advance) to creative send-offs at the end of the night. With planners working closely with couples on curating a completely personalized celebration, The Knot anticipates many creative new trends emerging in the next year due to couples infusing more personal, unique touches into their special days.
"Pros will help couples curate intricate food and beverage moments, allowing these staple wedding reception elements to become part of the entertainment for guests,” said Emily Elizabeth Gordon, owner of Em and E Events. “You may see a string quartet perform during the soup and salad course, followed by a carefully interactive magic show during the main course, with an interactive dessert display to end the evening. The options for couples are endless if they get creative with their pros, and can also include caricature paintings for guests with different scenes from the wedding incorporated, or a local school marching band show for high school sweethearts."
Livestreaming for Faraway Loved Ones
The rise of wedding streaming for loved ones tuning in from afar will also likely increase in the next year due to guests who may be uncomfortable traveling or being in large crowds immediately following the pandemic. In addition, guests will likely take a digital-first approach when it comes to gifting for weddings and wedding-related events like showers and bachelor(ette) parties.
Wedding Planning Continues in a Social-Distancing World
For couples planning weddings for 2021 and beyond, there are a few things to keep in mind. First, wedding planning is still very much able to happen right now and can easily be done in the comfort of your own home. Many vendors are conducting virtual appointments and getting to know couples and their style just as easily as they would in person. Couples can take virtual venue tours, try on dresses at home, enjoy home-delivered tastings from caterers, browse photos from photographers and videos from videographers, and read reviews of all vendors they’re looking to book for their day. In fact, one-in-four vendors surveyed in The Knot’s research have used video chats to connect with clients, and among venues, one-third have hosted a virtual tour.3 Second, couples should be flexible and open to days like Monday and Thursday. As 93% of couples who have had to postpone their weddings have rescheduled for later this year or 2021, couples are open to alternative wedding days to lock in their desired season or preferred team of wedding professionals.