It’s true; weddings look a little different this year (and in the future) thanks to COVID-19. But take heart, lovers. Even though you’ve shelved your international guest list and said goodbye to the buffet, you can still celebrate in style. Grand style. All it takes is an open mind (we’ve scoped out some COVID-safe wedding formats for you here) and love, love, love.
Because 2020 may have scuttled your best-laid plans, but one thing remains strong and bright — the beautiful commitment you’re about to make. Keep this front and centre and watch the rest fall into place. Also in your favour? Queensland’s talented and endlessly resourceful wedding professionals who are experts at creating unforgettable moments in tricky times. They’re here for you.
So, let’s delve in! From micro-weddings to the rebooted wedding weekend, bring your dream day back on track (and maybe better than ever) with these fresh wedding formats which can still deliver a perfect celebration.
P.S. We’ve also popped a quick ‘legals’ recap at the end. Oh, and for 10 practical ideas on staying COVID-safe at your wedding, check out our handy Love Must Go On guide.
Elopements, minimonies, and micro-weddings
An intimate elopement was once the only choice for 2020 weddings and remains a romantic and stress-free option. No distractions, no overblown budgets. Just you and your beloved (standing as close as you like) and two required witnesses who must be over 18 — often your photographer does double duty in this role. Then head directly to your romantic #honeymoonathome.
If you want to expand the audience slightly, opt for a ‘minimony’ which is a simple, legal ceremony for up to 10 guests. You can still say yes to the dress (and the cake, and the photographer) but this is a small-scale production. Couples looking for a low-fuss option will love this idea, and it also sets the scene for a bigger bash later down the track (see The Sequel Wedding below).
Want a petite classic? Look to the ‘micro-wedding’ which is basically a cute name for an intimate wedding of up to 50 guests (usually less). This style can still adhere to current safeguards while including many of the traditional highlights of a bigger event. In fact, scaling back your guest list allows you to amplify other elements. We’re talking opulent florals, spectacular lighting installations, decadent restaurant-style dining, and luxe welcome packs.
Mini wedding tips:
Consider following up your mini-event with a more extravagant knees-up to celebrate one year of married bliss.
THE WEEKDAY WEDDING
Because Saturday weddings are so 2019
With couples rushing to rebook their wedding or eager to name the date, 2021 is filling fast! Meaning a weekday wedding is suddenly very tempting. Weekdays are usually considered ‘low season’ in wedding terms, so you’ll save on key costs including venue hire and photography and have a better chance of scoring your dream date.
Currently, just over half of all Australian weddings fall on a Saturday, but we expect this to change into 2021. Weekday weddings are the norm in many parts of the world and when it comes down to it, isn’t the act of “I do” or even your choice of venue, more important than the day of the week?
The potential to create a wedding long weekend is a clincher for weekday weddings. Let your Friday afternoon nuptials flow into a minimoon for two or a series of memorable catch-ups with small groups of friends and family. Or gather guests for a relaxed weekend of fun before a low-key Monday wedding.
Weekday wedding tips:
Give your guests plenty of notice so they can secure time off work if needed. Inner-city “I do”? Check the parking around your chosen locale as it tends to be in higher demand during the Monday-Friday rush.
The only thing better than one wedding is two!
A term first coined by The Knot in 2019, ‘sequel weddings’ are those with multiple ceremonies to mark your marriage, often for religious or cultural reasons. A two-part celebration is ideal for right now as you can have an intimate “I do” with close family (see The Mini above) and then plan a bigger bash with a broader net of family and friends.
As well as a stellar excuse for multiple gowns, sequel weddings are seriously A-list. Take Priyanka Chopra and Nick Jonas who married in a Western ceremony (both wore Ralph Lauren) and then a traditional Indian ceremony where the couple donned traditional Indian dress. Or model Karlie Kloss who wed Josh Kushner in a low-key Jewish ceremony in upstate New York (the bride wore custom Dior) before celebrating a surprise second wedding in Wyoming eight months later. The bride wore a white Jonathan Simpkhai gown to kick off their outdoorsy “party on the prairie” weekend. Love.
Sequel wedding tips:
You may have to double your budget to accommodate both events – or get creative with key elements. If you’re not wearing traditional dress, perhaps your groom won’t mind wearing his suit at both weddings?
THE NEW WEDDING WEEKEND
Keep festivities flowing with a ‘multi-wedding’ weekend
Wishing for a full-blown wedfest? Wedding weekends have been steadily gaining traction as couples extend their time with out-of-town guests and enjoy a range of events. In a COVID-era remix, ‘multi-weddings’ comprise multiple, separate celebrations over one weekend. The twist is, you’ll have a different guest grouping at each.
Unlike the shift wedding, the multi-wedding unfolds over several days, allowing all your planned events to stay in play. We’re talking rehearsal dinners, after-parties, next-day brunches, and cocktail catch-ups. You’ll also have more time to connect with each of your guests. Winner!
If some of your chosen guests can’t make the ceremony, share the love as newlyweds by including them in the Sunday catch-ups.
THE SHIFT WEDDING
One incredible venue, two memorable ‘sittings’
A wedding in two shifts? Stay with us on this one. If you can’t handle the thought of culling your guest list, a shift wedding could be a game-changer. For starters, you’ll be able to host everyone at your dream venue, albeit over two sittings, with the space given a sparkly clean in between.
A shift wedding can streamline the planning process and allow your vendors to concentrate their talents in one place. It’s a format worth exploring if you have a large group of friends and family to accommodate, and because you don’t have a dance floor to fill at the end of the night, you can stagger the entertainment to suit each crowd.
Having a small break between guest groups will also allow you to catch your breath, check your H&MU, and take a just-married moment.
Shift wedding tips:
Thoughtful planning is key to making this work. Consider elderly guests and parents with young children for your first sitting – they will often appreciate an early mark anyway — and be clear on your invites about timing. Having a professional MC will also help ease the transition between sittings.
Get the legal low-down on Queensland weddings
Here’s a snapshot of how Queensland weddings will look for the foreseeable future. As of July 01 2020, up to 100 people can attend a private wedding ceremony while still adhering to social distancing protocols. Receptions are a little different as only one person per two-square-metres is permitted (up to a total of 50) for venues of 200 sqm or less. For venues over this size, a ratio of one person per four sqm applies. Self-service buffets are on the back burner (swap them out for luxe restaurant-style dining) and dance floors are still a no-go. See Queensland Government Health for the most up-to-date guidelines.
[Featured image: Jessica Turich Photography] Carolyn and Sasha knew that navigating their wedding during the Coronavirus Pandemic might mean a few twists and turns, but nothing could stop these adventurers from enjoying a beautiful and COVID-safe celebration. Catch their full story in the Spring/Summer 2020 edition of Queensland Brides – due for release this October!