How about them 2020 weddings, huh? Thanks to the Virus That Must Not Be Named, celebrations of all kinds look different this year. With state regulations and new reports coming out each day about hotspots and sick celebs, it’s clear COVID is not only here to stay, but it’s here to f*ck with your big day for a long time as well. Because for couples getting married during a global pandemic, pre-wedding stress is at an all-time high.
Not only do engaged folks have to budget for things like gloves, makes, and hand sanitizer, but chances are they’ve had to postpone their events (multiple times, in some cases) and the end results don’t look anything like the celebration we all dreamed off since watching Bride Wars when we were in middle school. There are a lot of aspects that majorly suck, but one of the biggest is the fact that some of your closest friends or family might not get to be there on the big day.
Whether they’re high risk, morally opposed to big gatherings during a pandemic, or can’t risk catching anything due to work or their general love of being alive and not ill, odds are there will be a few VIPs who have to change their RSVPs from “hell yessss” to “uh, actually. No.” As someone who’s recently faced a lot of “you’re the worst” backlash after RSVPing “no” to every wedding in 2020 (with plenty advance notice, mind you—I’m not going texting the bride the day before saying I can’t make it), here’s how to deal when your guests decide that your big day just isn’t worth it rn.
Remember: There’s A Literal Pandemic Happening
Not to state to obvious here, but like, the whole coronavirus thing is still a big deal. As bars, restaurants, and sex clubs open back up, you have to remember: It’s not because we’re any safer. It’s because places need to make money. Your friends who are diligent about avoiding crowds, keeping their distance, and staying home when possible aren’t being dramatic. They just like, you know, want to stay alive and want to keep their friends and family alive and healthy. While it might seem like a personal affront for them not to risk their safety to watch you marry some guy you drunkenly met at a college bar, it’s not. It’s a literal matter of not wanting to catch or spread a potentially deadly disease. Keep that in mind before giving them the cold shoulder after they give you the news.
Keep Your Cool
Yes, your guests choosing not to go to your wedding is upsetting. But the thing is, they’re not wrong here. Having an event—any event of any size—is a risk right now. Your guests wanting to stay home aren’t in the wrong here. While people always have the option to RSVP “no” to weddings, the whole virus excuse is a really good one—and the fact that they’re courteous enough to (hopefully) politely tell you they can’t attend without lecturing you about safety practices is a win. Remember: They could send you pages of data about why having a wedding rn is risky, so consider yourself spared.
So, instead of bitching out your friends who don’t feel comfortable attending, trying to remain calm. Tell them you’re bummed but understand (assuming you understand, of course) and take some time to mourn. It’s a really hard time to be getting married, but creating strife in your relationships won’t make things any easier. Be kind and compassionate and chances are they’ll still send you a gift.
Offer Virtual Options
I know Zoom weddings seem sooooooo summer 2020, but not only are they still a thing, but they’re a great option for guests who don’t feel comfortable celebrating in person. Make sure to set up virtual links so anyone who doesn’t feel great about being in crowds can still be a part of the big day. No, it’s not ideal, but as someone whose maid of honor couldn’t be at her wedding pre-COVID due to pregnancy complications, the event can still be just as special. Make cardboard cutouts of your non-attending VIPs. Set up multiple Skype stations that guests can access so they can see different parts of the party. FaceTime any besties who can’t make it as you’re getting ready. This way you can still feel the love, and your guests can feel included from home.
Keep Your Priorities Straight
I know I’ve said this before, but if you’ve scrolled through Instagram, chances are you’ve seen people living their lives like a virus isn’t still running rampant through America. Yes, weddings are about dresses and flowers and attention, but mostly they’re supposed to be about marrying the person you love. Well, that and getting a KitchenAid mixer, of course. The point is, it sucks that this once-in-a-lifetime event is happening during a pandemic, but you still get to get married (something generations of people in interracial or same-sex relationships didn’t have the option of doing), you still have friends (unless you’re a total monster to everyone who says they can’t attend), and you’ll still get to rock that overpriced diamond band. If you can make it out of this with your relationships intact and your romantic bond strong, you’ll be able to get through anything.
Plan An Event Post-COVID
It won’t be the same as having the giant wedding you originally planned, but let’s be real: The world is going to look different after this. No one is used to going into an office anymore and we haven’t worn real pants in forever so like, yeah. That ship has sailed. With so many couples having to downsize their weddings, vow renewals or post-wedding parties are 100% going to be a thing in a year or two (just like how babymoons became something to do). If you shun everyone who didn’t come to your covid wedding now, you won’t have nearly the guest list you’d like when there’s a vaccine and you can have another party.
The point is: Yes, this sucks, but your friends aren’t bad people for not coming to your wedding rn. Don’t be a d*ck and hopefully, we can all go back to grinding on the dance floor to “Get Low” while our grandparents watch in horror someday soon.
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When it comes to weddings, we’ve come a HELL of a long way since March and April. Less than six months ago, we were crossing out every special occasion in our planners for the foreseeable future, hunkering down at home, and limiting the extent of our socialization to comments in passing with our roommates, but the wedding world has come alive as of late. Thanks to slightly loosening state restrictions and the rise of scaled-back celebrations like elopements, microweddings, and minimonies, couples are getting their “I Dos” done and happily moving on with their lives. At present, love is not canceled, but that can all change if soon-to-be-weds start going rogue and cases start spiking.
Earlier this month AP unmasked a disturbing reality about COVID weddings, writing, “No-mask weddings, no social distancing and dance floors prohibited in many states have been the talk of online groups for vendors around the country.” And when we consider that these vendors are pretty much living on Purell and a prayer as they return to the soirees that used to fill their calendars and pay their bills, it hits as especially inconsiderate. We get it, couples want their weddings to be as close to their pre-pandemic dreams as possible, but the fact of the matter is the risk of a wedding-related outbreak should necessitate some simple precautions like mask-wearing, maintaining six feet distance, ditching the dance floor, etc. While we get that you probably never pictured getting married surrounded by a sea of masked faces when you were seven years old planning your wedding, you probably didn’t plan for a global pandemic either.
In an effort to curb all the potential bride Karening before it becomes a thing, we chatted with a number of wedding professionals (including a photographer who was a corona bride herself) on the subject of mask-wearing and common sense safety during these (say it with us) unprecedented times. It’s the year 2020, folks, and the official wedding mood involves a mask, so here’s how you can embrace the novelty of these nuptials and have a great day.
Set Up Expectations
Whether you’re eloping, having a microwedding, or exchanging vows with a minimony, the best way to make everyone comfortable is to be transparent about expectations. This can be done easily through a “what to expect” insert included in your invitations. Betches co-founder and coronabride Sami sent something to her own wedding guests to give them a heads up on the ground rules for her upcoming wedding, including the steps she and her fiancé would be taking to keep everyone healthy and happy.
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ok so the #1 question we’ve gotten from microwedding brides lately is “how do I invite my guests while letting them know we need to be extra safe?” (2020 is so weird). so we’re giving you a sneak peek at what @sami’s including in her microwedding invitations. DM us with your invites, custom masks, or any other social-distance-safe wedding touches and we’ll share on our story!
In addition to being transparent with your guests, you should be open and honest with your vendors, too, about what you’re envisioning for your wedding photos, overall experience, and flow of the day. Nicole DeTone, the face of Nicole DeTone Photography, says that now, more than ever, it’s critical to discuss expectations before the wedding day. She and her second shooter will always wear masks and remain six feet away, but if her couple wants to omit face coverings for their (keyword: their) portrait sessions of the day, she’s okay with it—there just needs to be a plan in place to ensure safety for everyone.
“If my couples prefer no masks for group photos, I recommend going over the plan with their wedding party and family members beforehand to make sure they’re comfortable taking photos without masks,” she explains. “It goes both ways, too: I’ve had some awkward situations where family members were asked by the couple to either not be in the photo or, reluctantly, have them join without their masks.”
For DeTone, it’s imperative that brides and grooms discuss the dynamics with their photographer and planner, so that everyone is in the know about any people who are uncomfortable wearing masks or, conversely, who feel good about getting together for a group shot. That way, it’s much easier to plan certain poses, the number of people in a photo, and the location of portraits. Working together to plan out these “photo pods” can be a major relief.
Gift The Goods
We won’t lie, in the earlier part of this pandemic, we were quick to shake our heads at the mere suggestion of wedding or bridal masks. In our defense, at the time, having ANY kind of wedding was a bad, bad call and there was a critical shortage of personal protective equipment (PPE) for the people who needed it the most, our health care workers on the frontlines. So, yeah, we weren’t exactly pro-bedazzled facewear, especially when the costs were kind of hard to justify. Now, though, things have changed, and it’s hard to imagine a wedding without any sort of masks in sight.
Shameless plug, I ordered a pair of Plum Pretty Sugar’s face masks earlier in the pandemic, and they are so comfortable and so pretty. They also just came out with a white embroidered mask for brides. And they’re just $30 ($20 for two, for the bridesmaids), which is definitely a lot easier on the wallet than the hundred-dollar bedazzled ones out there.
Now that things are much better on the shortage front (we seriously have so many cool masks to buy from both big and small businesses), and weddings are cautiously ramping up, we’re all for mask wearing at the main event. Our take: If you have to wear a mask on your best day ever, then it might as well be pretty. Claire Pettibone, the LA couturier responsible for some of the most stunning gowns on the planet, first felt a little conflicted about making something beautiful for this ugly virus. But her dissonance was quickly resolved when she realized that she could contribute to the cause, donating a mask for each one sold, and make brides feel comfortable on the day they need to most.
“Brides have been ordering our masks for themselves, and even more, for their wedding party and guests. We’ve also had a lot of people purchasing them as gifts,” she reports. “Most brides planning a wedding right now have very limited guest lists, and depending on where they live the regulations may be different, but of course, keeping family and friends safe is a top priority, so outfitting their guests with attractive masks is something to consider.”
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Our Slate fabric (bottom of these 3), sold out in less than a week! Sets will now be your choice: all Taupe, all Ivory, or a combination of the two. For every mask sold, we are donating one to healthcare and front line workers. Your purchase enables our Los Angeles based team to keep working while helping our community. Thank you for supporting our small business!💕 #clairepettibone #lovemask #facemask #bridalstyle #handmade #fineartwedding #fineartbride #smallbusiness #smallbusinesslove #localbusiness #smallbusinessowner
Claire says that most of her brides are choosing her classic solid ivory with lace butterflies option to wear themselves, but looking at her printed floral patterns for their guests. And since adding new child sizes for the flower girls and ring bearers to rock, she’s gearing up to go all in for the entire group—grooms included.
“We recently added a child size, and had a wedding where we outfitted all of the kids with custom plain ivory masks for the boys and butterflies for the girls, while the adult guests wore a variety of the prints,” describes Pettibone. “We’ve just had some requests for men’s, so that’s something we have in the works. Our masks are really well-made and comfortable, plus the adjustable silk ties have a more formal look, so they do work well for weddings.”
If You Mask Them, They Will Come…
All it takes to have uniform classy photos is consistency in the masks your MVPs are wearing. Jennifer Larsen, lead photographer at her namesake, Jennifer Larsen Photography, put her camera down for the day to have her own minimony last month, and she couldn’t be happier with the way she made masks work. In her opinion, there’s nothing wrong with leaning into the COVID circumstances. Just because masks are necessary for safety reasons, doesn’t mean they have to be ugly!
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“We provided our guests with white masks that read ‘Quarantined for Life: Jen and Ryan are Married!’ in rose gold foil,” she recalls. “We wanted to make the masks less of a burden and more like a party favor that would bring a little joy and commemorate this season. I love the way they came out, and so did our guests!” Perhaps because Larsen is a photographer herself, she had total confidence in her own photographer to document the day like she wanted; nevertheless, being able to trust in her photographer was such a key to her staying calm.
Lean On Your Photographers
We promise, a few masked moments aren’t going to read as a documentary of the pandemic, but if you’re truly concerned that your photos and video will be plagued by the state of affairs more than they already are, then opt for your couple portraits and those with close family to be done sans masks—in wide, open-air spaces. For Larsen, being flexible and inventive can be what turns a COVID-curated group shot into an avant-garde, glossy mag kind of vision.
“For situations where you’d like to take a group photo, but still keep distance, I think getting creative with your setup makes the photo feel a lot less awkward. Group people together by couples/households, and space them out in clusters to create balance on either side of the bride and groom,” she says. “You can incorporate some chairs, to improvise a dynamic sitting and standing, staggered look, and it will feel like an intentional, creative choice rather than an awkward restriction. You can even try mixing in some fun cheering or stoic expressions to change it up from a typical ‘just smile at the camera’ shot to a more spacious Vanity Fair-esque portrait!”
You’re The F*cking Bride, But You’re Not Above The Rules
As Alexis Alvaraz, a wedding planner from Chicago, tells AP, “There’s just so much emotional baggage that has come with weddings this year that the idea of masks at their weddings is the last straw… but there is danger in that.” That’s especially true if people aren’t following state mandates and CDC codes of conduct. That’s why vendors, especially wedding planners and caterers, are doing even more to help couples navigate the nuances of wedding safety. Dance floor be damned, there’s a way to do it.
Emily DeLoach, Co-Founder and Executive Director of Sincerely Yours Events in Savannah, GA, has seen DJs and bands doing really cool things to make sure the guests have a good time, but safely. “I’ve worked with DJs and bands who have made QR codes that guests can scan at the event to submit song and announcement requests without having to have contact with their booth,” relays DeLoach. “This has been effective and fun, really engaging the crowd, curating perfect dance floor vibes, and getting loving announcements made to help bring the whole crew together!”
An outdoor silent disco? We’re down.
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This couple had a socially-distant silent disco at their microwedding as a fun alternative to regular dancing. Congrats Laura and Will! 🥂 “Obviously a reimagined ceremony during Coronavirus! But we were able to pull off a mini wedding with 40 family & friends in Will’s parents backyard on Cape Cod! I converted to Judaism during our engagement and Will and his two brother’s built the chuppah in the days leading up to the wedding. It was an epic evening with heartfelt speeches that ended with a silent disco with two channels – one of wedding classics and another live DJ’d by a friend with our favorite EDM mixes.” @theshensation 📷: @nicoleellengowan
And when it comes to food and drink, very easy ways to cross contaminate, caterers like Main Course Catering + Marketplace in New Paltz, NY, are adopting new ways to wow their couples. During the planning process, the Captain of Catering, Hogan Popkess, says that he and his team have conversations with clients about some of the options they have for events, including glass dome coverings on passed hors d’oeuvres trays, exclusively-served plates instead of displayed or family-style options. When it comes to masks, MCC’s staff is coming dressed in in-house made masks that match the ties they wear with the uniforms, plus black disposable gloves, so they look sleek while still being safe—if you care about that sort of thing.
Popkess also says of masks, “Some of our clients prefer everyone to have masks on the entire event unless of course they are seated and eating. Others have been comfortable without masks for the duration of the event. Our staff wears them the entire event as well as gloves to ensure our own safety and also make everyone feel comfortable.” He acknowledges, “The tables are turned when you enter a client’s home and you are a stranger. We have to keep our staff safe while also respecting the safety of the client and their guests.”
Following The Rules Can Be A Legit Piece Of Cake
Jen Larsen and her handsome hubby made sure that their wedding cake could be done safely for their July “I Dos.”
“We served cake after the ceremony, and that boiled down to little things like having hand sanitizer readily available for our guests, having a dedicated server to carefully cut and plate each slice, and pre-rolling individual sets of disposable utensils, etc.” she remembers. “I tried to think through any areas that would make guests feel uncomfortable or would be a high germ-spreading point of contact.”
The bottom line is that planning a wedding safely requires more thought and planning than before (as if planning a wedding wasn’t hard enough). But it can be done, and the extra effort of keeping yourself, your loved ones, and your vendors safe is well worth it.
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Images: Courtesy of Jennifer Larsen Photography; Courtesy of Tori Kelner Photography; betchesbrides (3), clairepettibone, plumprettysugar / Instagram
Whether you hate the wedding-industrial complex, are a bride planning a wedding and want to feel better about your own demands, or just need something to read, we’re doing a new series where we share the craziest, most out-of-touch wedding story we found on the internet that week. Submit your own crazy wedding stories to [email protected] with the subject line Crazy Wedding Story, and we just might feature yours. And make sure to follow @BetchesBrides on Instagram and subscribe to our podcast, Betches Brides.
On Saturday night, I was hustled, scammed, bamboozled, and hoodwinked into having dinner with three of my recently married friends. Annnnnnd kill me. Anyway, even though I was both a guest and a bridesmaid at all three of these girls’ weddings, they spent the first hour of dinner showing me pictures as if I didn’t spend my rent money on being a part of their nuptials. The main takeaway? Wedding Instagrams are to newlyweds what “take me back” vacation photos are to single people. So naturally, the bride and groom want their wedding to be as Insta-worthy as humanly possible. Understandable.
Unless you’re Adriana La Cerva getting married in Tony Soprano’s house, the bride usually gets to drive when it comes to every little detail of her wedding. But sometimes, brides attempt to take that too far. This leads me the most amazing thing I’ve ever read on the internet, the Reddit Am I The Asshole (AITA) subreddit titled “AITA for asking my bridesmaid to temporarily change her vibrant hair colour for my colour schemed wedding?” Ok, I’ll give her a point for being British, but will definitely crown her the asshole here because it’s 2020 and friends shouldn’t ever ask friends to change their appearance for a wedding.
But I know what you’re thinking: maybe this girl has like, bright blue hair, which I could kiiiinda understand the bride wanting to change even though the demand is unreasonable. And you’d be wrong. Even I didn’t see this twist coming.
The bride starts off strong:
“The ongoing issue is that my wedding has a blue and green peacock theme” (why) “and guests have been asked to follow this colour scheme with their clothes. Hair wasn’t originally included at all in the colour scheme, but my cousin Ella has natural bright ginger hair.
I would never ask someone to permanently change their hair for my wedding, I know that would be bonkers so I suggested some temporary hair dye, but Ella argued that she has been growing her hair for six years and doesn’t want to risk the colour not washing out. I thought this was ridiculous because it literally says washes out in like 14 washes. But Ella says because her hair is completely natural colour it might take strongly to her hair.”
First of all, wtf is a blue and green peacock theme? Why peacocks? Will there be peacocks at the wedding? Where does one procure peacocks? I need more info on the peacock situation. Condolences to Ella, though, on her lack of a soul, but as my beautiful redhead girlfriend
complains about all the time tells me, once a ginger dyes her hair, it’s really hard to get her natural color back. Anyone who’s friends with a red-headed person knows this because it’s literally all they talk about, so the fact that the bride is asking her bridesmaid/cousin who’s never taken a foil to the head to dye her hair for the sake of fitting in with the weird af wedding theme is pretty rude. Honestly, Ella shouldn’t have to explain why she doesn’t want to f*ck up her hair with drugstore chemicals, but here we are. Also, 14 washes? Unless you wash your hair every damn day, that could take weeks to get out, and the bride is acting like it’s easy-peasy.
“So I gave up on that avenue and suggested a wig, it is one day, one single day, and there are some amazing wigs these days. I had a look on Instagram and you wouldn’t even be able to tell. But she said she would feel self-conscious and weird wearing a wig and that because her hair is butt length that it might sit weird on her head. So she won’t dye it, and won’t cover it up. I really don’t want to come across as a bridezilla but butt-length flaming red hair will destroy the wedding photos, and ruin the colour scheme completely.”
I once went to a birthday dinner that was wig-themed, so I got a Kylie Jenner-looking number and truly hated it. It was so uncomfortable and stupid-looking that I couldn’t keep that thing on for more than a few minutes at a time, and my hair is only shoulder length! I can’t even imagine trying to get a wig on a head of hair that’s basically grazing the floor at this point. Tbh, I feel like the bizarre color scheme and wild peacocks will ruin the photos more than your bridesmaid’s very normal hair. Also, it’s not like she just recently dyed her hair magenta and it’s all anyone can see. Like, we’re talking about her natural hair color here. No one is going to be like, “She seriously came to this wedding with the hair color she was born with?”
Im at a loss, I can’t cut her from the wedding because my mom would murder me, but I can’t have freaking Merida ruining the photos, AITA for asking this of her for just one single day?
First of all, Merida was a brave soldier who saved her mother, there’s no need to bring her into this. Also, is anyone else seeing the hilarious irony here? Just the English major? Cool. So the bride is saying that her cousin should just dye her hair because it’s one day of her life, but this horrible dye job will not only live forever in the photos, it will also likely ruin her natural color and take at least two weeks to rinse out. Like??? Anyway, to answer the bride’s question, yes, honey, you are the asshole.
Before I end, there’s an update!
EDIT: Ella has dropped out of the wedding because we couldn’t reach a compromise so it doesn’t matter anymore. I now have to deal with my mom and aunt chewing me out over it all.
Honestly, good for you, Ella. F*ck your cousin. I’d drop out of the wedding too, and I probably wouldn’t even attend.
Look, the only time it’s okay to demand someone change her appearance is on makeover day for America’s Next Top Model. Other than that, we non-Tyras need to just let our friends and cousins and whoever look how they want to look. If red-heads are so offensive to you and your stupid photos, maybe don’t ask them to be in your bridal party. Then find a therapist to find out who hurt you.
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