As we navigate the inevitable changes to the wedding landscape forced by postponements due to the Covid-19 epidemic, there will invariably be weddings that can't happen on a Saturday, and won't follow the traditional structure of 'ceremony, cocktails, dinner, dance'. My goal with this blog series is to help you imagine how your wedding could look if you need to change the structure or format, particularly if you must postpone it to a non-Saturday. Hopefully through this series, you'll find or adapt an idea that will work perfectly for you. My wish for you is that you can get excited about your wedding again!
GROUP ACTIVITY? What do you mean?
When I say "group activity", I'm talking about getting SUPER creative with the structure of your wedding. Perhaps you've had to totally change vendors due to a COVID-related postponement, and you're starting from scratch. Or maybe you're trying to figure out how to make your existing venue work in a different way, on a different day. Regardless, what I'm talking about here is finding a way to engage your guests in a non-traditional wedding activity that allows you to enjoy spending time with them, much as you would have during the cocktail hour or the dance at your more traditional wedding.
Time of Day/Week:
- a group activity could literally happen at any time, any day - as long as it works for you, and your guests are able to attend, you can make this work on a Wednesday lunch hour or a Monday evening
- keep in mind your guests' schedules: if you're planning something over a lunch hour, know that guests will likely have to take an extended lunch, and be mindful of what you plan so that the time works as well as possible for most of your guests. If you're planning an evening event after work, allow guests time to finish work, go home and change
In this scenario, the whole wedding is the entertainment! You'll want to think about activities you could do with your guests that will allow you to mingle and spend time with them, that are enjoyable for all, and that can be planned to accommodate your guest count appropriately. Think about things like:
- a cabaret-style concert, or a sit-down concert with a cocktail hour after
- a movie screening (perhaps you could screen your ceremony video, if you had a smaller ceremony at a different time)
- bowling, go carts, mini golf, games tournaments
- book a box (or several boxes) at a sporting event
- playing sports/going skating
If you're using a venue that you had previously booked, but in a different way, think about the space and how it could be alternately configured:
- use the banquet hall to set up a games tournament (board games, card games, etc), show a movie, or set up a come-and-go luncheon
- if there's a stage, hire a band or entertainment and put on a cabaret-style concert where you can mingle and chat with your guests
If you are changing venues, consider the following:
- Museum London has a movie theatre
- The London Children's Museum rents the WHOLE space
- Aeolian Hall, the Grand Theatre and The Palace Theatre can be rented
- Palasad, East Park and Fleetway take private bookings
- You can rent out a sports field, baseball diamond or skating rink
- if all of your guests will be in the same place at the same time, you can stop the action at any point to have your ceremony
- if you're doing a come-and-go style event, have your ceremony right in the middle of the time frame
Food & Beverage:
- this can be as unique as your event, and will be dependent on your venue. Many venues have onsite catering, but many will allow outside caterers or even take-out
- look into licensing restrictions - if you've exclusively rented a space, you may be able to obtain your own liquor license, or you may be prohibited if it's a public space. Many alternative spaces have their own liquor license, and will provide you with alcohol at their pricing.
Things to Think About:
- clearly communicate to guests that this is a non-traditional wedding. You may wish to specify appropriate clothing, or let them know if they need to bring anything specific along
- be very clear about the timeline on the invitation, or put more details on your website