As we know for the next six months, wedding ceremonies and receptions are limited to 15 guests. As 2020 has seen a lot of postponements with a few celebrations, everyone has come to realise this restriction will likely continue into 2021, and the reality is people want to get married! Here are some ways in which you can make your wedding day special despite the small guest count.

Think about your options.

Every couple is different, some of you will not want to comprise and for other’s, they feel like their life is on hold. Here are some things you can consider that might suit you.

  1. Have the intimate celebration
    1. For those of you who can’t wait to start celebrating the love between yourselves, having and the intimate style ceremony will allow your lives to start together sooner rather than later.
  2. Split the day
    1. For those who are torn between wanting to celebrate with all your friends and family but want to get married as soon as possible, splitting the day to a ceremony and a reception at a later date means you can do all of the above. 
  3. Post-pone
    1. If you don’t want to compromise, and then don’t! Maybe end of 2021 or event 2022 is a safer bet for your larger number weddings and this way you can have the wedding you want.

Either way this is still a difficult decision to make and it something you should do as a couple. 

How to cut the guest list?

First, sit down as a couple and divide the numbers into two.  You both count in those numbers so you have 13 guests to put on your list. One of you will have a bigger family to the remainder number can be given to that person. 

Who?

Immediate family, parents, siblings and grandparents. If your immediate family is smaller than 6 then what friends are like family to you?

As you will be limited on your bridesmaids and groomsmen, perhaps just have one maid of honour and one best man, if you can squeeze them in of course.

The good news is that as of (07/10/20) government guidelines state that venue staff and additional suppliers like band & photographers are excluded from your guest numbers.

This may seem like the most daunting of all decisions. Just remember your guests are expecting the un-invitation! Try and do this face-to-face or over a call. It will seem more personal this way. They will be okay with it and there are other things you can do to make them feel more involved. 

How to keep those un-invited involved?

For the extended family that didn’t make the cut, perhaps include them in the process. Things like shopping for dresses, venue, suits and cake, take them with you to make them feel apart of it. 

Get them to help out with decorations or any DIY projects you are incorporating into your wedding day. Keep reading to find ideas.

Send party favours. With the limited amount of guests you should be well under your budget for the wedding, you can use this to send things to the guests who couldn’t be there. 

Lastly, stream the day! Have on your guest’s stream the service and allow for your at-home guests get dressed up and excited for the day. 

How to make the day as special as possible

There are some benefits to having a smaller wedding. These include having a more personal celebration, more time with guests and more of your budget to spend.

With having a bigger wedding you are inviting extended family, their friends, friends of friends etc. It could be possibly a more special day spending it with those you see all the time and have known for years or even your whole life!

It would also allow you and your partner more time to enjoy the day yourselves. We all have heard wedding day’s flash before your eyes, both trying to speak to everyone, take pictures, with no time to have a drink and actually take it all in.

Finally, having a smaller celebration is much more cost-effective, you can either save the money or use it to make your day even more magical. Maybe upgrade on the food or extra flowers and decorations to fill the space. Try to embrace the restrictions and personalise it to make it your day.

Things to consider about your venue

Much like many venues, here at Ravens’ Ait we are following guidelines to make a COVID secure environment. Make sure to speak to your co-ordinator or planner about how the day will work, what signage and one-way systems will be in place. This way you can work towards the personalisation of your special day.

For example:

  • When should you wear PPE?
      • According to recent guidance, (07/10/20), everyone attending the event including the couple, should be wearing a mask when roaming the venue. You do not have to wear one when seated at a table, saying vows at the ceremony and for a small portion to take photos.
      • There are some really great bridal masks that can be purchased or even for your guests, make personalised masks with their names, date and the couple’s names. (This can be given as a favour and also designed by a creative at-home guest).
  • How will the one-way systems affect the flow of the day?
      • Depending on your venue this may seem confusing however your ushers and co-ordinators will be there to walk your guests throughout the day and with the couple in advance.
  • What extra precautions are in place?
      • Things to consider are signage and hand sanitising stations that may disturb the aesthetic of the day. You can design signage with your own theme and even the hand sanitizer bottles can be personalised and scented. 
  • How will service work?
      • Buffets and approaching the bar are not longer allowed; it will likely be table service for food and drink.
  • How will tables be set out?
      • Tables will be based on households and bubbles including the ‘meter plus’ rule. At Ravens’ Ait we can have a maximum of four guests from different households at one table. Talk to your co-ordinator or planner to discuss this ahead of time.
  • Who is in charge of track and trace?
      • Either you or your venue will be in charge of track and trace. There are two ways to do this: getting the information a head of time maybe a hassle but you can do this when gathering information from your guests to do the table plan. Alternatively, you can have your guests sign a form on the day, which might add time to the event.
  • When do we have to leave?
    • Across all hospitality venues the current restriction is guests out by 10pm, which means last drinks at around 9:30pm.

Summary of new rules enforced:

  • 15 guests until March including couple,
  • Evening reception and live music not advised unless part of a bubble, or all from the same household,
  • Guest numbers do not include suppliers,
  • Close at 10pm,
  • Only table service for food and drinks,
  • ‘1 meter plus’ rule,
  • Masks can be removed when: someone has an exemption, when sitting at tables, small portion of ceremony, taking some photos and or outside,
  • No raising voices at any point especially during ceremony,
  • Low level music is allowed but no singers,
  • No buffets or casual style dining,
  • And avoid face-to-face seating.

Remember to keep up to date with the government guidelines (www.gov.uk) and ask your wedding venue or planner for more information. It is possible to make your smaller wedding just as special, so embrace to restrictions and make it your own