Let’s Talk About It: Is a COVID Wedding Right for You?

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Well, friends:

 2020…. WHAT.A.YEAR!!!

To say that this year has thrown us for a loop is an understatement, and while we are seeing the light at the end of the tunnel for COVID-19, we aren’t out of the woods quite yet for 2021 Weddings. 

Many couples, in Edmonton and beyond, are starting to wonder… should we change our wedding plans?

Do we need to postpone, or postpone AGAIN? What does this mean for our wedding, etc.? UGH NOTTTTT AGAIN!!!! 

Breathe, friends, breathe…. You can do this! 

It’s no surprise that we get asked all the time “should we postpone our wedding?” and the truth is…. I don’t have that answer for you. What I can tell you is that you need to start discussing the realities of our current times. 

And while we don’t believe in operating out of panic, we absolutely do believe in being proactive. 

Having thoughtful “what if” conversations in these challenging times is going to be helpful in so many ways but most of all, it will prevent you from making important decisions in a highly emotional state. Instead, you will have prepared in advance and can change plans as needed without a big shock factor. Weddings are highly personal and highly anticipated events, with a lot of investment on all fronts…mental, emotional, time and, of course, financial so when you feel like you’ve lost control of the day you’ve planned it can be jarring. 

So get out that wine, put on your comfy sweats and get talking! 

“Having thoughtful “what if” conversations will prevent you from making important decisions in a highly emotional state.”

At this point because most of you are far out from your wedding day (or, sigh… postponed date) and things are so uncertain, so the most important thing to do is to sit down and determine your priorities, from overall experience to guest list, and of course life before / after marriage. 

Among many others, things like the importance of a packed dance floor, guest travel requirements, desire to have babies right away, and of course the names and numbers of the guest list, are all factors to discuss. 

But before you start chopping away at your guest list, one thing that is CRUCIAL to keep in mind is that a wedding amidst COVID is not the same as a pre-COVID, regardless of number. 

A gathering allowance of 50 people, for example, does not mean that the entire experience would remain unchanged pre-2020, just with fewer guests. 

Many things have to look different and you have to discuss whether or not you are ok with implementing these restrictions and having them be a part of your wedding.

A wedding amidst COVID is not the same as a pre-COVID, regardless of number.

Some examples of possible potential significant impacts:

  • Social distancing of tables and ceremony chairs that are outside of each other’s cohorts / groups
  • No regular dancing (while some dancing is possible, a full dance floor of people co-mingling and hugging just cannot be done safely.)
  • Masks worn by guests any time that they are not seated within their group
  • Decreased social interaction … hugging, kissing and closeness
  • No live singing
  • Hesitancy or refusal to attend by important guests (grandparents, for example)

These are all important factors to consider and be aware of before proceeding. 

 ***Since restrictions and gathering limits are province or area specific, please ensure to connect with a professional Wedding Planner in your area to help guide you through the planning process.  

If you have not thought about the potential changes that span well beyond just changing your guest list, this is the time to discuss. 

Are you comfortable with all of these adjustments? Are any of these a non-negotiable for your ultimate goals of your wedding day? Why are these elements important, or not important to you, etc.? These are all questions that will guide you one step closer towards an answer. 

While we don’t know what the gathering allowances in Alberta for 2021 will be , one thing that is almost certain is that some restrictions will still be in place. 

So if you would be absolutely upset about having a smaller wedding, not packing the dance floor with a conga line, sharing hugs and kisses with all of the guest or potentially missing very important people at your wedding, you can start discussing a potential postponement. 

When should you make that call? 

Here is where it gets even more tricky. Things have been changing so fast, and while we’d like to say wait it out as long as possible, the truth is at some point you do have to get off the emotional rollercoaster. So if your wedding is in the next 4 months, and you know that you wouldn’t be content with a wedding full of restrictions, it’s time to contact your venue and vendors and start the postponement process. If your wedding is further out than that, wait it out and keep in touch with you wedding planner on updates.

If you’ve considered all of the implications of a wedding during COVID and are still ready to proceed with your wedding despite restrictions… awesome, let’s get planning! 

But first, ensure that you are ok with some uncertainty because rules and restrictions have a way of changing very quickly. 

Now… let’s talk about that guest list. 

Our recommendation is to have various guest lists starting with your original and then slowly cutting it down. For example, if you had 150 on your original invite list, narrow it down to 100, then 50, 25 and then 15, or stop when you are having to sacrifice the attendance of key people in your life. But remember, staff and vendors do count towards your numbers so ensure to include your wedding team on your guest list.  A great way to do this is to review the historical allowances in your area and use them as a guide. 

In Edmonton, for example, our guidelines since March 2020 have spanned as follows:

  •  < 250 
  • 50 for indoor receptions, 100 for indoor ceremonies and 100 for outdoor ceremonies or receptions
  • 15 for indoor receptions, 50 for outdoor receptions
  • And, most recently 10 for seated ceremonies and 0 for receptions  

It could, of course, fluctuate but in Alberta this is what we’ve seen so far. But again, all is subject to change depending on government mandates. 

If you are able to have those guest lists in mind then making decisions come closer to the wedding day will feel easier. 

Then, at 4-6 months prior to the wedding when invitations typically go out, refer to the guest list that matches up to current government mandates, again with the understanding that you may have to make further changes as the wedding day nears. 

Speaking of invitations, our recommendation is to only send them to the guest list that can accommodate the government listed restrictions at the time of invite. You may have to make more adjustments, either by inviting more or sadly uninviting guests closer to the wedding day, but in this case etiquette rules can be broken – because this year is not like any other and it’s outside of your control. 

Ok, phew!!!  

You’ve discussed some important considerations, you’ve narrowed down your guest lists and are still excited for a 2021 wedding, BUT now you feel anxious about how to pull it all off.  

We get it, these are uncharted waters for you, but fear not, we’re here to help! 

Take some time off over the holidays and then come back next time for another blog post to get our take on unique COVID-friendly wedding ideas that don’t sacrifice your wedding day experience. 

Talk it out, hug it out and we’ll see you here next time. 

Until Next Time,


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