Within a few days, the COVID-19 pandemic became a state of emergency in cities around the globe. Business shutdowns, large gathering bans, and social distancing warnings have left many couples unsure about what to do with their upcoming nuptials. It's an impossible, devastating position to be in. Do you continue to plan in hopes that the situation is resolved soon and your event will be back on track or do you switch gears to postpone or cancel?
If you’re determined to be married as planned and don’t want to reschedule, you might find an elopement or small private ceremony to be the perfect alternative
- There's less decision-making to do, as it's just you, your partner, and your witnesses.
- You can rest easy knowing you're doing your part to keep people safe and healthy, especially those at risk.
- You'll save money since you don't need catering or a large venue anymore.
- You don’t have to wait to be married to the one you love.
- You'll skip all the chatter as people weigh in on what you should do.
Of course, there are also some downsides to keeping your nuptials private. For instance, your family and friends will miss out on being there and you won’t get those memorable photographs with family and friends. However, there are some ways to mitigate the downsides and focus on what matters.
Here are a few tips for planning an elopement or small private ceremony during the COVID-19 crisis:
- Don't forget the legal aspects. Hire an officiant who is willing, potentially a friend whom you've already seen recently. Some wedding clerk offices are still open. You'll also need a wedding certificate and witnesses.
- Ask around for photographers who are willing to take photos despite the situation. Those who are young and less at-risk for getting sick may be excited to keep working.
- Consider inviting a very small group of friends or close family who are less at risk of getting sick to attend the ceremony with you and make sure those from different households keep two meters apart.
- Live stream the ceremony so your would-have-been guests can watch. Record the wedding to watch later. Hire a videographer to create a wedding video.
- Plan a big reception and party for your one-year anniversary. You'll feel better about everything just knowing that eventually you have all of the trappings of a traditional wedding including the speeches, dancing, and hugs from family members. You can even wear your dress twice that way!
- Ask family and friends to send videos of their well-wishes to you after your ceremony.
- Send elopement announcement cards with photos from your ceremony to family and friends afterward. The PHAC and the World Health Organization (WHO) say direct mail is a low-risk way to communicate and deliver items to others while social distancing.
Botanical PaperWorks Seed Paper Elopement Announcements will share your news and give a gift to plant and grow. Add a printed photograph when mailing them out so your family and friends have a keepsake from your ceremony.
Some Inspiration for Elopement Planning
Go as formal or casual as you want
Set up decor that's simple, yet classy
Order-in a cake, bottle of champagne, food, and floral arrangements. Many companies are still shipping and delivering.
Create a 'we eloped' sign and take a photo for the announcement cards, emails, and social posts
Wear your favorite dress, skip the traditional white if you feel like it
During uncertain times like these, it may be helpful to remind ourselves that crises have hit us before, and we have found a way through. What matters most is how much we care about each other and how we support each other when we need it. An elopement may not be what you originally planned, but it may be just the celebration you need right now.
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