1.  Stay informed: With all the rumors and false information being spread about the virus, it can be confusing and stressful while making important decisions about your wedding day! Stick to credible sources like the World Health Organization and the Center for Disease Control.  Make sure you can legally stick with your original guest list count.

2.  Ask sick guests to stay home: This is a no brainer, but needs to be said! Communicate with your guests via email or your wedding website about any updates pertaining to your wedding. There’s a lot of uncertainty happening so a simple message to assure your guests everything a-go, OR there are adjustments to your day. Communication is key! And of COURSE, ask sick guests to STAY HOME! Tell guests about the precautions you’re taking to make a fun, but safe environment at your wedding.

3.  Shop locally: If your wedding or bridesmaids dresses will no longer come in time, shop off the rack at a local boutique. If you were planning on importing flowers, ask your floral designer about locally sourced floral options. Consider renting decorations from local rental companies, better yet, thrifting or purchasing second-hand!

Tuscan estate wedding photography on film in Cleveland, Ohio by Kristen Kaiser

4.  Trust your planner: They’re used to working in crisis mode!! This is uncharted territory for most of us, but if anyone know how to hold the fort in chaotic circumstances it’s your wedding planners/photographers. Be in communication with your planner during this time. Tell her about your concerns. Create back-up plans. Get creative! They’re here to help you!

5.  Have fun with it: Just because extra precautions are now necessary on your wedding day, it doesn’t mean those precautions can’t be elegant + fun. Hand out cute welcome bags with hand sanitizers to guests. If you can’t get your hands on bulk amounts of sanitizer, opt for sanitizing stations around the venue instead (you can actually display them beautifully!). Purchase monogrammed masks with your wedding initials as options for guests. Instead of what you were planning for your signature cocktail, name it “Cure 4 Covid.” If guests see you’re being safe but having fun with it, they’ll be more relaxed!

Tuscan estate wedding photography on film in Cleveland, Ohio by Kristen Kaiser

6.  Skip the handshakes + hugs: While everyone and their brother would usually be hovering around you after the wedding, communicate with guests that you’re respectfully asking them to skip the hugs and close proximity greetings.

7.  Offer white glove service: Speak with your planner about giving white gloves to any staff who will be interacting with your guests. Valets, servers, coat checkers, bar staff, etc.

8.  Offer a serviced meal: Instead of a buffet or family style dinner (where guests are touching the same handles over and over again), offer a serviced meal instead. Talk with your caterer about options for this. If you’re having family style tables, you can still switch to a serviced meal and keep the feel of this!

Moab, Utah destination desert elopement film photography by Kristen Kaiser

9.  Move your wedding outside: If you have the option, move your ceremony and reception outside to allow for more breathing room between guests. Space out your chairs and reception tables a little further than normal.

10.  Get intimate:  Perhaps the safest thing you can do is consider downsizing the size of your wedding. Instead of 400 guests, invite 50 of your closest family and friends.

11.  Live stream your wedding:  This is a great option for elderly guests, the immunocompromised, sick guests, and those not able to fly in for your wedding.

Best Chicago Wedding Photography on Film by Kristen Kaiser at Fourth Presbyterian Church

12. Hire a videographer:  If you weren’t planning on hiring a videographer, it’s time to reconsider so you can share memories of your day with guests who can’t safely attend. Keep track of guests who weren’t able to attend, and plan on sharing the link as soon as you receive it from your videographer so they can feel a part of your day even if they could not attend.

13.  Elope now, celebrate later: This is the best of both worlds. Have an intimate ceremony with just the two of you on your original date, and have your original reception once the virus has cleared up! A lot of venues + vendors are waving date change fees. You could opt for an intimate ceremony on your original date with just the two of you or with close family/friends, then have the original celebration you dreamed of a few months down the road!

Santorini, Greece destination elopement film photography by Kristen Kaiser

14.  Talk with your photographer about options. Most of us are more than willing to be flexible and brainstorm with you so you can have a safe, but special day! Review your postponement/cancellation options, and talk with them about options for moving your collection to an elopement.

15.  Keep the day in perspective: Pandemic or not, something ALWAYS goes wrong on wedding days. But remember, the goal is to be married. Whether your ceremony is with 500 people in your dream venue, or just the two of you out in a field until it’s safe to celebrate, all you need is each other! Don’t forget to keep things in perspective about what’s most important on your wedding day!

Stay safe, friends!