COVID-Friendly Wedding Protocols for Venues

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Procedures to put in place to reduce risks during weddings

As venues prepare for a ‘new normal’ of hosting weddings amidst COVID-19, it can be helpful to learn what other venues have been doing to conduct weddings safely.  Here are some of the actions and procedures that some venues around the country, and around the world, have put in place for events to minimise health risks for their guests, staff and service providers amidst the COVID-19 pandemic.

The below protocols have been implemented at venues around the world with different levels of restrictions, so be sure to stay up-to-date with your current local recommendations as protocols will evolve as Government regulations change.

Guest Movement

  • Stagger guest arrival
  • Staff escort for each guest into the venue one-by-one
  • No valet parking
  • One-way systems
  • Escorted to seats / toilets

Ceremony

  • Socially distanced chair spacing
  • Immediate seating to minimise guests mingling

Masks / Gloves

  • Provide complimentary disposable gloves near food with signage “gloves recommended”
  • Provide complimentary disposable masks with signage “masks recommended”
  • Wedding couple provided masks for guests
  • Masks for sale by venue

Santising protocols

  • Hand sanitiser stations placed at entrances and throughout venue
  • Disinfectant foggers between events

Photographers / Other Suppliers

  • No shared props for photobooth
  • Pre-wedding phone calls with each supplier and distribution of ‘info sheet’ to ensure all professionals are familiar with safety protocols and requirements

Table Seating

  • Guest seating spaced 2 meters apart
  • Tables spaced 2 meters apart

Catering / Food Service

  • Guest encouraged to use hand sanitiser before taking food at buffet/table
  • Plexiglass sneeze guard at buffet
  • Replace self-served food with staff-served plated food
  • Servers wear masks & gloves
  • Disposable plates/containers for passed appetisers

Bar Service

  • Disposable cups
  • Plexiglass barrier
  • Signage “no mask, no service”
  • Bartender wears mask & gloves
  • Queue distance markings on floor
  • Drinks served at tables only

Dance Floor

  • Only couples who came together can dance together
  • Extended dance floor outdoors

Risk Reducing Measures

  • Ask wedding couple to inform guests in advance of protocols and restrictions in place
  • Maintain records of staff, customers and visitors to support NHS Test and Trace
  • Signage – themed / stylish signs reminding guests to socially distance, wear masks, wash hands etc.
  • Staff member verbally reminding guests to respect Government guidelines

At Elsham Hall in Lincolnshire, the first COVID-friendly wedding took place on Saturday 4th July with 11 guests.  The venue implemented a variety of procedures to promote safety including staggered guest arrival, hand-sanitiser available, escorts to seats / toilets, one way systems, verbal communication of Government guidelines and temporary contact info collection.

Elaine Brocklesby, of Bride Beautiful Ltd at Elsham Hall, said that couples and guests were happy to comply with the new restrictions and remained positive despite the unusual situation. “From the couples point of view, they certainly made the most of the difficult decision to go ahead with their vows, they embraced the masks, they had fun with photos, they brought their own champagne to pop the cork in our gardens and country park.”  

In consideration of venue staff and third-party service providers, Ms. Brockelsby found the new restrictions to be positively embraced by the professionals working the event. “They understand and appreciate the new protocols. The registrars and photographer understood and welcomed our health and safety measures.”

Understandably, hosting weddings under restrictions will be nerve-wracking, especially in the beginning phases. The revised procedures may make weddings feel less like the carefree, happy, huggy celebrations to which we have become accustomed. But, remember that couples are still thrilled to be getting married and it is possible to make it a lovely and memorable experience, whilst complying with Government restrictions with safety measures in place.

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For more business advice we’ve collated all of our COVID-19 resources for wedding professionals to help you easily find the support you need. If you have any questions at all or need any help then please do reach out to anyone in the Bridebook team.