Because we truly value our clients and our couples in the community planning their big day, we are providing some tips to help relieve some of the stress and anxiety couples may be feeling right now.
We have put together a short guide to help answer some of your questions and to hopefully, put some of your concerns to rest. Here’s what you should expect going forward while planning your wedding during this time.
I STILL WANT TO GET MARRIED AND HAVE A WEDDING, WHAT DO I NEED TO KNOW?
As of March 2021, most of Oregon and Washington have entered into a "Moderate Risk" category for special events, giving us all new COVID guidlines nad restrictions based of Venue choice -either Private Property or Event Venue. Weddings, elopements and micro weddings may commence IF all attendees are socially distanced, wearing a mask and are physically distanced 6 feet apart.
WEDDING AT A VENUE: Depending on the county your venue is in you may be able to have up to 100 people inside or 150 people outside, however same rules apply: all guests are socially distanced, wearing a mask and 6 feet apart.
WEDDING ON A PRIVATE PROPERTY: Private Properties actually have much tighter restrictions than venues, and both Oregon and Washington Governors are only allowing 8-10 people at your home, for any social gathering -and yes, that includes a wedding. You may get married at home or a private property but your guest list must not exceed the 8 or 10ppl, all guests must be 6 feet apart and same mask wearing policy of 100% of guests in masks at all times.
1.) HAND WASHING STATIONS
Give your guests peace of mind by adding hand sanitizing stations throughout your event. Some venues will provide hand sanitizing stations, however more than just a couple is encouraged. If you need to rent these, Bridgewood Event Rentals and The Party Place both offer stand alone stations for rent (Cost: $110).
2.) EXTRA SIGNAGE TO HELP GUESTS UNDERSTAND THE RULES
If there's one thing American's can agree on and it's that the rules of COVID entertaining are a bit blurred. Make sure your guests don't have to wonder what is allowed and not allowed. Add extra signage around the event to encourage physical distancing, hand washing and mask wearing when not at their table.
3.) PHYSICAL DISTANCED LAYOUT (Reception + Ceremony)
Since your event has to stay "physically distanced", the standard layout for any event is now based off of what they call a "Quarantine Bubble" and is considered a max of 10 people who are either already living together, have decided to quarantine together or are comfortable being less than six feet from one another, and without a mask on. While a quarantine bubble can be up to 10 people, it is not a rule to have 10ppl at the table. If a group (quarantine bubble) is two or five people we will make a table that seats only that amount. Expect tables to vary in size. This goes for your ceremony as well. These same quarantine bubbles will be used to created safe seating arrangements. We still have to keep the same 6 feet apart when creating a ceremony chair layout, however it doesn't look weird and guests hardly notice.
4.) COCKTAIL RECEPTION RULES
One thing to understand is that while events are allowed, the way we used to "cocktail" together during the "cocktail hour" is no longer allowed. Activities such as appetizer buffets, or passed canapes are no longer considered safe. Similarly there is no open mingling allowed and no lines at the bar. All guests must stay at their table in their "quarantine bubble" and some of the best ways to still have a "cocktail reception" hour is to have individual small plates for each guest (at their table) to enjoy an appetizer. Or you are able to do a family style appetizer for each quarantine bubble. Caterers are really upping their game with this presentation, you'll likely get some pretty fun ideas that you may not have normally thought of.
5.) BAR SERVICE
No more lines or group congregating at the bar, no more bar top seating and the state has discouraged the use of reusable glassware -just like in a restaurant or bar your event is no different. To adjust to these new regulations the industry has suggested instead of serving beverages where many people are self-serving and touching dispenser handles, grab and go individual beverages are the best way to serve non-alcoholic drinks. Also expect to be adding acrylic plexi shields to bar fronts, just like you in grocery stores to protect the catering staff and guests alike. Plexi bar shields can be rented at Bridgewood Event Rentals and The Party Place, both run about $150.
6.) PLATED DINNER SERVICE + DESSERT
Goodbye buffets and open cocktail hours with passed canapes, hello plated dinners for everyone! Most caterers are only offering plated food service now that buffets and self served food is no longer allowed and mandated by the Governor as a "not allowed". Some counties, however, are allowing buffets with a plexi shield and a catering staff person behind the shield serving your items, much like a cafeteria lunch line.
7.) SPACED OUT DANCING
While dancing is allowed, all guests must keep their physical distance at all times, while also wearing a mask. The way we have seen it done is that each table has it's own little sectioned off area for dancing, guest are not allowed to intermingle, rather stay at their table to dance. If you are having an outdoor event on your own private property then we suggest checking with your county on it' rules and safety regulations if it's suggested that wearing masks while dancing outside is considered "ok".
HOW MANY PEOPLE CAN ATTEND MY EVENT?
First, it depends on whether you're at a Venue (indoor/outdoor), Restaurant, Faith Based Institution or a Private Property and if you are having an "indoor" or "outdoor" event. Each venue has a legal classification expressing their type of establishment.
MODERATE RISK: 100ppl or 50% of venue total capacity -whichever is smaller.
LOW RISK: 100ppl or 50% of venue total capacity -whichever is smaller.
CURFEW IN MODERATE OR LOW: 11PM Curfew (meaning your event must be vacated by then)
MODERATE RISK: 150ppl MAX
LOW RISK: 300ppl MAX
CURFEW IN MODERATE OR LOW: 12AM Curfew (meaning your event must be vacated by then)
MODERATE RISK INDOOR: 100ppl or 50% total capacity -whichever is smaller. Indoor seating is up to 6ppl per table.
MODERATE RISK OUTDOOR: 150ppl MAX -outdoor seating is up to 8ppl per table/pod.
LOW RISK: 300ppl MAX
CURFEW IN MODERATE 11pm, OR LOW: 12AM
FAITH BASED INSTITUTIONS:
MODERATE RISK INDOOR: 150ppl or 50% total capacity -whichever is smaller. Indoor seating is up to 6ppl per table.
MODERATE RISK OUTDOOR: 250ppl MAX
LOW RISK INDOOR: MAX 75% of total capacity
LOW RISK OUTDOOR: 300 MAX
Guest count restrictions are very tight and currently only allow up to 10ppl in "MODERATE RISK" and up to 12ppl in "LOW RISK". (2021 is NOT the year for Private Property Events, Contact us to discuss alternate options.)
IS MY VENUE AN "INDOOR ESTABLISHMENT""?:
An indoor entertainment establishment is a venue that regularly hosted events before COVID and is four walls enclosing the entire property.
IS MY VENUE AN "OUTDOOR ESTABLISHMENT"?:
An outdoor entertainment establishment is a venue that regularly hosted events before COVID 100% outdoors, meaning if there is a structure (tent, covered balcony, structure with roll up garage doors, etc), three of the four walls must be wide open or completely nonexistent with full air flow must be present.
READ THE EXACT RISK LEVEL DOCUMENT THIS INFO CAME FROM, HERE
FIND YOUR COUNTY'S RISK LEVEL, HERE.
WHAT IS DOES "TOTAL PEOPLE/GUEST COUNT" MEAN EXACTLY?
Total people refers to 100% of the humans present at any time within the venue or property. This count includes you and all your guests AND it includes all your vendor teams (including catering kitchen staff) and on site venue management. You will need to take into account you must include your vendor team and venue management in your total guest count.