It is my job as an event organizer to manage client expectations for the big day. Now more than ever, the management of guest expectations is just as critical.
Things are weird right now, for everyone.
Planning a wedding during a global pandemic is weird because you're excited about the future, but you also feel anxious about making people comfortable and safe.
Responding to a wedding invitation during a global pandemic is weird because you want to celebrate, but you also feel anxious about your safety.
You don't need to feel guilty if you're getting married during the pandemic.
Like we said in our previous post, postponement or cancelation isn't a solution for everybody. Moving forward with a wedding during the pandemic does mean things are going to look different, including the overall flow and guest experience.
In the past, you could toss some travel information into your invitation suite and call it a day. The biggest concern out there was making sure you heard back from everybody and that the kitchen made a vegan meal for your cousin. Ah, the bliss of the 2010s.
The management of guest expectations is more important than ever.
Your guests have questions. You don't want to deal with fielding questions from everybody you've ever known asking the same thing. And yes, they'll ask. You'll get texts, calls, and emails. We wouldn't put it past someone to toss a question for you into their holiday card this year. Avoid the chaos by addressing their concerns all at once, and in one location. Get a text? Send the link.
Know your guest's concerns, while potentially outshining their excitement at first, are not intentionally diminishing your celebration or their happiness for you.
With each text you get, you'll feel overwhelmed and annoyed. Understandable. You've been looking forward to and have planned the wedding of your dreams only to have to rethink everything and the first thing you hear from your grandmother after she receives that expensive, painstakingly-packaged invitation suite is if she should bring her own hand sanitizer.
We get it.
But the pandemic has changed our lives.
We've been quarantining. We don't leave the house without PPE. We're hyper-aware of everything we touch and purposefully avoid others in public.
Your guest list is happy for you, but their idea of normal looks different now. For many, gathering in a group isn't part of reality.
Reiterating a point we made in our last post, because it's critical: you cannot guarantee anybody's safety. It's a liability to do so; in fact, many venues and vendors are requiring couples sign waivers for this very reason.
A guests discomfort might catch you off-guard, but know it's not any easier for guests to miss out on the fun. The virus has made decision-making deeply personal and all we can do is agree to disagree.
It's not personal, it's a pandemic.
We always encourage our clients to set up wedding websites because it's an easy resource for people to access at their leisure whether they've lost the address of the church or can't remember where you're registered. But now, even more so, the wedding website is crucial for you as a bride or groom.
As soon as you can, even if your wedding isn't until 2021, set up a COVID-19 FAQ page on your wedding website and make sure everybody invited to your wedding gets the link.
Post links like those to the CDC, your state's guidelines for social gatherings, and even those to your ceremony and reception venue. Your venue(s) might have pages of their own outlining their safety protocols.
As your event nears, and before mailing invitations, we recommend updating your site's page with specifics regarding your safety plan and the expectations you have of your guests.
When you do mail invitations, include an insert directing people to your safety plan on the wedding website.
Presenting people with an outline of your plan to enforce restrictions and guidelines will help your guests with their RSVP.
Providing information on when and where masks will be worn, how food service will work, if there is a dance floor, etc. will help people in making the decision that is right for them.
Again, it's not personal, it's just that everyone's level of comfort looks different.
We also understand that to tell you to create a safety plan sounds simple in theory, but that on the logistical side of an event is complex. So, we've compiled a list of questions for you to consider to put a thorough safety plan into effect.
Do you think you need more guidance? Contact us!