After reaching the one-year mark of living during a worldwide epidemic, many of our traditions and routines have changed, but a lot has remained the same. As people receive their vaccines and local governments begin lifting restrictions, some people say it’s time to get back to normal, but is it?
Do you stick to your original LDS temple wedding date? Should you reduce the number of guests? Or do you postpone in the hopes of having the wedding of your dreams later— complete with no social distancing norms and a full guest list?
In the age of the coronavirus, it is hard to know what is right. Fortunately, a few different trends are sweeping the matrimonial world that offers just as much luxury and happiness as its predecessor—micro weddings, holding multiple events, temple sealing, LDS ring ceremonies, virtual ceremonies, and asking guests to adhere to certain procedures.
If you decide to move forward, here are five tips the experts at White Elegance compiled to make a COVID wedding a success.
1. Have a Micro Wedding
With so many couples postponing their wedding ceremonies due to COVID, many gorgeous venues and wedding planners have more availability than usual.
These unusual conditions give couples who are ready to get married a chance to organize smaller, more personal weddings at a date and time convenient to them. This is the new micro wedding standard.
What is a Micro Wedding?
Micro weddings, also referred to as minimonies, usually have five to a few dozen guests. The smaller guest lists allow bride and grooms to stick to social distancing rules while still allowing them to celebrate with their closest friends and family.
In the end, it’s a chance to have the best of both worlds—you can get married today with a small group of guests, then celebrate with everyone you love in a big celebration next year. (It even takes some of the sting out of having to choose between the two options.)
Plus, many Utah brides get married in an LDS temple where seating is already limited. So, rather than inviting a large group to join you at a wedding reception after your temple ceremony, stick to the micro wedding model.
Ask only those who would be in the temple with you to come that day. Then, if you want to celebrate with more people later, you can.
How to Plan a Micro Wedding?
If you are planning a micro wedding, start by rethinking your guest list. Decide on a select group of people who must be at your wedding. Perhaps you want it to be just you and your partner or you two and your parents. Keep it small and intimate.
Once you determine who will come to your small event, our team advises rethinking your paper items. Create and order invitations in two different styles– one for those who will attend the event and another for those who will miss it.
The latter should include a modified version of the first that explains that you will miss their presence but look forward to celebrating with them at a future date.
Your guests will understand that you had to modify plans but appreciate that you remembered them during planning. This small effort will go a long way in respecting other people’s feelings about missing your wedding.
Along with modifying the guest list, consider ways of toning down your day-of plans. Since you won’t be hosting a large celebration, you might not need to do all the usual wedding traditions. However, if it is important to keep such traditions, you should.
If you want to wear your original white wedding dress, do it. Do you want to organize the first look and carry a bouquet? Go for it! It is still your big day. But you shouldn’t feel obligated to do anything you don’t want to do. We recommend sticking to the traditions and elements of a wedding that are most meaningful to you.
Micro Wedding Ideas
Along with changing how you plan your wedding, you will need to consider how the micro wedding structure will go. For instance, since social distancing is paramount, there are setups that you can arrange to help promote keeping a safe distance between guests without it feeling too spread out.
An option that might work for your micro wedding is a round setup. A circular arrangement is a terrific approach to include all the guests while also giving them enough space. Everyone will also have a great view of the ceremony without bringing in any extra sound system or speakers.
Plus, there is no better way to tie the knot than to be surrounded (literally!) by the people you care about the most.
Along with helping keep those at the ceremony safe, this configuration makes it easy for someone to Livestream or capture the ceremony without blocking any in-person guest’s view.
2. Host Multiple Events Around your Wedding
If you are worried about party size, there are other options besides having a micro wedding. One is hosting multiple events rather than holding all of your celebrations on a single, big day. Have different guests attend different portions of the wedding so that multiple people can join in on the celebration.
You may also have a wedding on one date and a larger event when government jurisdictions completely lift restrictions.
Fortunately, in Utah, many brides already follow the multi-event structure. Many LDS brides get sealed in the temple, hold an LDS ring ceremony, and host a wedding reception later in the day.
While you might not allow the same number of guests as you would pre-COVID, each of these events offers additional opportunities for different guests to attend.
Recently, the Church of Jesus Christ of Latter-day Saints opened all temples to living ordinances, including temple sealings. While each temple varies its requirements for temple sealings, most adhere to these standards:
- Temple Recommends
Both the bride and groom must bring two recommends. A conventional temple recommend and the Recommend for Living Ordinances. Both of these recommends should be given by your bishop and co-signed by your stake president.
- Marriage License
A valid marriage license is required. Check the requirements for the state where you intend to marry.
If possible, a female already endowed in the temple should escort the bride, ideally a family member. If an escort is not available, a temple employee will assist you.
Limit the number of guests you invite to the ceremony to the maximum number that can fit comfortably in the sealing room. Guests are not required to wear white but should dress in their Sunday best. Women should not wear pants. Guests should come 30 minutes before the ceremony.
- Temple Dress Guidelines
There are certain standards that a bride must adhere to when participating in a temple sealing. Some of these include wearing a floor-length white dress with long sleeves and an appropriate neckline. Remember no veil, caps, or tuxedos.
Although exchanging rings is not part of the official temple ceremony, you may exchange them afterward. The Church encourages holding ring ceremonies, especially for family members who can not attend the temple ceremony.
LDS Ring Ceremony
As mentioned earlier, the LDS ring ceremony is a formal event for many LDS brides, especially those with family members of other faiths. If you aren’t getting sealed in the temple, you may also hold a wedding or LDS ring ceremony to exchange vows and rings.
The rise in the LDS ring ceremony began long before COVID, but it has only become more popular since the outbreak.
The Church issued limited official LDS ring ceremony rules to help guide those planning on holding a ring ceremony.
“Exchanging rings is not part of the temple sealing ceremony. However, couples may exchange rings after the ceremony in the sealing room. Couples should not exchange rings at any other time or place in a temple or on temple grounds. Doing so can detract from the ceremony.
Couples who are married and sealed in the same ceremony may exchange rings at a later time to accommodate family members who are unable to attend a temple marriage. The ring exchange should be consistent with the dignity of a temple marriage. The exchange should not replicate any part of the temple marriage or sealing ceremony. The couple should not exchange vows after being married or sealed in the temple.
Couples who are married civilly before their temple sealing may exchange rings at their civil ceremony, at their temple sealing, or at both ceremonies.”
A few different guidelines members may follow during their ring exchange include:
- Holding the event before the sealing
- Speaking of the importance of temple sealings and eternal marriage
- Invite family members of other faiths to participate
- Don’t exchange vows, but loving words
- Talk with your bishop for further guidance
LDS Wedding Reception
The LDS wedding reception is a long-standing tradition in the Church’s faith since only endowed guests may attend the official temple sealing.
Usually, an LDS bride and groom will hold a reception after the ceremony to celebrate their commitment to one another. Part of this event is greeting friends and family, eating a light dinner or dessert, dancing, cutting the cake, throwing the bouquet, and the traditional bride and groom send-off.
Since you can’t invite as many people to your wedding reception, as usual, you can either postpone the reception for a later time or have a few guests join you for a small gathering. Together, you can eat, enjoy each other’s company, and celebrate your small, intimate wedding.
3. Go Virtual
Another great option COVID brides have is limiting the number of guests attend in person but inviting others to join virtually. You can live stream your ceremony to give friends and families a chance to be a part of your big day.
While you might not hear or see what is happening on the other side of the camera, it still will bring a little joy to their lives to feel like they were there, even if it was virtually.
4. Encourage Guests to Stay Safe
Those guests you invite to your small COVID wedding should adhere to any standards you set for their health and safety. If you are worried that some guests won’t do their part, speak with them beforehand.
Try to stress how important it is to you that everyone feels safe throughout your wedding day. If you think they might break your rules after speaking with them, politely ask them to stay home.
You can also encourage safety by assigning seating. Keep vaccinated people seated together and those who aren’t with members they live with or their family.
You can also do your best to provide enough room at the venue for people to social distance while distancing and serving food.
5. Provide Safety Equipment
Another tip to help make your COVID wedding a success is to provide guests with white masks at the beginning of the day. Please encourage them to wear their masks throughout every event.
You can also provide small, personal hand sanitizers as guest favors, as well as station bottles of sanitizers throughout the venue.
Shop for White Bridal Dresses for Your COVID-Free Wedding at White Elegance
Now that you know what you can do to make your wedding COVID-free and safe, it is time to find the perfect dress. White Elegance has a beautiful collection of modest wedding dresses for LDS brides, including affordable designs that will work for every event.
No matter what you need, White Elegance is the Utah dress shop for you. Our selection of affordable and modest wedding dresses perfectly complements any and every Utah bride.
We also have a large selection of various simple temple dresses, beautiful skirts, and blouses to wear at your wedding dinner, LDS temple ceremony, and reception. These items are made from easy-care washable fabrics that resist wrinkles, so you won’t need to pull out the fabric steamer halfway through the day.
Find everything you need to make your wedding day perfect at White Elegance, whether during the pandemic or afterward. Shop online or visit us in-store to get started.