Whether you’re moving forward with your intimate wedding or you’re amping up to have family over for the holidays, health and safety is on every host’s mind. While we aren’t planning huge celebrations right now, we are helping a few wonderful couples, families and businesses host the most intimate of events. While every guest has a different comfort with interacting and attending celebrations as a whole, we’ve found the following actions can make every guest in attendance relax and enjoy themselves that much more:
DESIGN A SOCIAL DISTANCED FLOW
Turn your celebration into a little bistro with tiny tables of two that are just as beautifully designed as a traditional table of 10. Or if you’re having a backyard movie night, give each guest and their date/family their own individual lounge area or blanket all to themselves. There’s a million ways a celebration can be distant without skipping on the intimacy.
REQUEST GUESTS GET TESTED PRIOR TO ARRIVAL
While most of our clients are providing rapid testing at the door (see next tip), a great alternative is to ask guests in advance to obtain their own test within 48 hours of your event (or whatever feels reasonable in your area). This allows guests to triple check their own health and make sure they are only celebrating with those who are equally cautious at the same time.
PROVIDE RAPID TESTING
As mentioned many of our clients are opting for rapid testing at the door. While not readily available in all locations, right now you can hire health administrators to screen your guests upon arrival with a nostril test that returns results in 15 minutes. The consummate hostess in me cringed at the thought of making guests endure discomfort the moment they arrive, but after watching the enjoyment that ensues once guests know they are all virus free, I’ve decided this is a great option for those who want to marry or continue to celebrate during this time.
CREATE SANITATION STATIONS
It goes without saying that hand sanitizer is everyone’s best friend right now and it is an especially hot commodity at events. I recommend having a sweet display of individual spray sanitizers available upon arrival so guests can carry it with them. In addition, keep a bottle in every area that guests will need to share with others including the entry, the restrooms, the bars and perhaps even one on each guest table. And if you’re looking for a product elevated enough for a celebrations, below are a couple of our personal favorites:
ASK GUESTS NOT TO COME IF SYMPTOMATIC
While it may go without saying for some, depending on how close the guest is to the host, they may try to push through a mild fever or subtle cough to prove their dedication to your celebration. This can be alleviated by making it very clear in the invitation that while they will be missed, for everyone’s comfort, you prefer they sit this one out if they aren’t feeling 100% in any way.
For cocktails, appetizers and any other item that may traditionally be shared or served, opt for individual servings. Small bottles of premixed cocktails or a bottle of champagne on ice per each dinner table, is not only great for guest comfort, it can be a very special moment as well. Consider mini charcuterie plates per person, a picnic basket filled with goodies or individual birthday cakes when the occasion calls for it. Get creative, make it personal and guests will simply think about the charm of each touch rather than the purpose behind the presentation.
SET GROUND RULES IN ADVANCE
If you are asking guests to wear masks the entire event, be sure to let them know. If you prefer no hugging or touching at the wedding, give them a heads up. Be crystal clear about what guests can and cannot expect during the celebration in the save the date or invitation so they can not only determine their comfort level as a guest but also adhere to the boundaries you’re hoping to uphold.
PROVIDE MASKS FOR GUESTS
There are so many gorgeous masks out there right now and we love to help our guests discover them. Whether you want to provide a chic silk mask or have masks custom made for your event, masks are oddly the hottest favor one can receive right now. Below are a couple of favorites we find to be celebration worthy:
DON’T FORGET ABOUT THE VENDORS
When it comes to testing requirements, masks and sanitation, make sure to take vendors into account as well. No one wants to take all the precautions, go through all the testing only to arrive and find out that vendors have been left out of the mix. Request that any servers, bartenders and any other vendor in attendance test in advance or use the rapid testing option upon arrival, if applicable. Provide great masks that coordinate with your event design, ask them to follow the flow created and ensure they are provided their own individual meal rather than eating from a vendor buffet or other food source that requires too much social interaction.
HIRE A RESTROOM ATTENDANT
Whether you’re having guests use the restroom in your own home or you’re in a public space, consider having a restroom attendant on standby to sanitize the restroom between use. This small investment can help all guests feel that much more taken care of.
As event designers and planners, our number one goal is creating an experience that allows guests to stay present and enjoy. While the current environment certainly adds a new challenge to meeting that goal, we’ve found that thinking through the above details helps guests understand that you’ve truly thought about their health and comfort first and foremost. And that goes a long way in ensuring they are fully present and able to enjoy the celebration you’ve worked so hard to create.
Author’s Note: These suggestions are written with the assumption that readers are adhering to the social gathering guidelines currently in place in their state and not meant as a guideline to bypass CDC guidelines or legal mandates related to gatherings.