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Weddings and Moving in With Your New Spouse During the Pandemic

For many couples, the coronavirus has interfered with even the best-laid wedding plans, and it has brought a once-thriving industry to a near standstill.

“Due to the pandemic, the wedding industry has been as deeply affected as the restaurant industry,” explains Amy McCord Jones, a wedding planner and florist for the past 13 years. She is also the owner of Flower Moxie, an online floral business that sells directly to DIY brides. “The Spring of 2020 was a total loss for all venues, caterers, wedding planners, and related wedding vendors, and they are scrambling to rebook and retain their clients.”

For many couples, there is a serious concern over how to plan a wedding during coronavirus, and moving in together after wedding celebrations presents yet another hurdle to overcome once life after marriage officially begins.

These tips will help you stay safe when it comes to planning a wedding and living together after marriage during coronavirus.

How to safely have a wedding during COVID-19

Planning a wedding during coronavirus is an entirely different matter than the traditional wedding.

“In many places, gatherings numbers are restricted and many states are taking a phased approach, which leaves couples to face planning a wedding without knowing exactly what restrictions will be in place by the time their scheduled wedding happens,” explains Katie Elder, owner of the Overlook Barn, a premier wedding venue in Banner Elk, North Carolina.

A recent survey by Promoleaf shows that 39% of those polled favored social distancing being enforced at weddings, with 41% preferring that all guests wear masks and 34% preferring an outdoor venue for COVID weddings. The median preference for the guest count is 50 people, with less than 1% of respondents comfortable with 200 attendees or more.

“We’re seeing smaller weddings, more elopements, and those holding on for normality by pushing their wedding another year,” says SJ Meyer, who offers wedding planning and catering services through her business, Lickskillet Catering, in Fort Collins, Colorado. COVID affected Meyer personally, impacting her own wedding plans. She has been forced to infuse innovation and ingenuity when reshuffling her clients’ dream mountain weddings.

The pandemic has made for an entirely different wedding planning experience than most couples and industry professionals are used to. If you’re wondering how to plan a wedding during a pandemic, or even how to move in with your new spouse in the age of quarantine, here are a few pointers.

Initial wedding preparations

When deciding how to proceed with your wedding, communication is your best friend. Talk to your significant other about your individual expectations and how best to meet them. This is a very stressful and emotional time, and the additional emotional and financial stress can weigh on your relationship if you are not careful.

To better ground yourself, create a detailed budget for your wedding and stick to it. These are some great resources from sites like The Knot and Wedding Wire that will help you understand and stick to your budget.

Follow CDC guidelines

As the country continues to fight the spread of coronavirus, experts at the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC) and the World Health Organization continue to highlight the importance of wearing masks in public to reduce infection. Calls for strict social distancing can impact even the slightest details of your wedding, making things like cocktail hour, reception seating, and dinner service all complicated to accomplish safely.

Elder has really seen the impact of coronavirus on weddings held at the Overlook Barn. “Weddings also look different this year, masks, sanitizing, distancing, a focus on outdoor celebrations . . .” she explains.

She spoke with us exclusively, listing some of the precautions you can take to help mitigate the risk of COVID-19.

  • Require masks for all guests and, of course, all of the regular hygiene – regular hand washing, sanitizing stations available, etc.
  • Move as much of the wedding and reception outdoors as possible. (For her part, Elder offers a brand-new outdoor pavilion that was built to accommodate coronavirus wedding couples.)
  • Consider “guest pods” to reduce mingling in larger groups. These are seating pods of people together who are related or who already see each other regularly to mingle together throughout the event.
  • Increase airflow wherever possible by opening windows and adding air filtration in more confined spaces. Elder invested in HEPA filtration for their bridal suites.

Hand sanitizer has also risen in popularity for many wedding gift bags and favors.

Look into vendor guidelines

It is also important to thoroughly review vendor guidelines and procedures to ensure the safety of you and your guests.

Brian Worley, owner and founder of Brian Worley Productions in Atlanta, walks through some of the precautions he and his team are taking.

  • Hand sanitizer provided around the venue
  • Social distancing the tables
  • Limited number of guests seated at each table.
  • Individually rolled flatware
  • All food stations must be chef attended and guests are not allowed to grab their own food.
  • All the bars had Plexi shield guards, much like the checkout at a store.
  • We are increasing the number of bars so that the lines do not build up.
  • There is only one bartender per bar, where in the past we have had two.

Don’t forget about the fine print in those contracts, either.

“The very first thing couples should do is read through their contracts. Hotels have actually been very good about moving the wedding without issue, but I have run into some issues with other vendors who consider it a cancelation and rebooking,” says Keith Willard, President of Keith Willard Events and President of NACE’s South Florida chapter.

COVID-safe ceremony ideas

Instead of extravagant wedding ceremonies, many COVID-19 couples are rethinking the traditional wedding approach. Smaller ceremonies are not only more affordable (a boon if you or your fiance were affected by coronavirus layoffs) and easier to manage, but they are considerably safer.

Outdoor wedding

SJ Meyer recommends instead moving your weddings to an outdoor tent. And if you happen to already own the land where you put the tent, even better. “Since guest counts are also lower, couples are also finding it easier to throw a wedding in their yard, around the pool or in a garden” says Worley.

However, he warns you need your outdoor space to be one that easily accommodates social distancing – and one with shade.

Wristband system

Jason Miller, CEO of Promoleaf, comments, “A popular trend we’re noticing is simply a three-tier, plastic wristband system issued to each guest or event attendee based on their own comfort level.”

How it works:

  • Red wristband for high-risk guests that prefer social distancing of at least ten feet
  • Yellow band for regular social distancing preferences of six feet
  • Green band for those who are comfortable with a handshake or hug.

“As long as everyone at the event respects the comfort level of others, this can be a solution allowing you to be inclusive while enabling all of your guests to feel comfortable and welcome.”


According to the National Association of Realtors (NAR), around 9 million people have moved since the start of the pandemic. Wow! Check it out below.

Moving Trends and Statistics in the US During the COVID-19 Pandemic