Wedding Ceremony Setups Ideas With Social Distancing
Social distancing remains a vital element of events in 2021, which is pushing event professionals and their clients to get more creative about floorplans and seating arrangements to ensure the safety of their guests. While reception spaces tend to easily accommodate more spacing, ceremony setups can get trickier as proximity is essential for guests to see and hear the big moment.
Couples want their guests to feel like they’re a part of their wedding, so we asked industry experts about unique wedding ceremony setups with social distancing and the logistical considerations that go along with them to limit risk while elevating the guest experience.
Here are a few setups to consider for unique ceremony layouts that can accommodate social distancing in 2021.
Seating in the round
Rather than stick to a one-sided floorplan with rows of chairs, circular seating arrangements can facilitate physical distancing measures and impress guests with a distinctive and special experience.
Nora Sheils, the founder of Bridal Bliss and co-founder of Rock Paper Coin, explains: “Weddings in the round are such a unique setup and guests tend to love it as many more will have a view of the couple. It has a ‘wow factor’ when guests enter the ceremony location to really start the festivities on a high note. A ceremony in the round works for small weddings as well as large, and really creates an intimate atmosphere where all feel involved.”
Making use of different levels is an effective way to add a dynamic touch to a ceremony space, with the added benefit of being easily adapted to social distancing.
“Because you’re working with tiers, it already naturally creates a distance between guests and, if you stagger guests within a tier, that still makes everyone feel included without compromising on safety,” says Jamie Chang, destination wedding planner and owner of Mango Muse Events. “That could be amphitheater-style, where the couple is at the lowest point and guests are on tiers looking down, or the opposite, where the couple is raised and the guests are looking up.”
Shorter guest lists may even consider ditching the chairs altogether and allowing guests to stand and be a part of the ceremony themselves. Guests can freely distance themselves as needed while remaining close to the festivities and engaging with the couple and other guests.
Kristen Gosselin, owner and creative director of KG Events & Design, elaborates: “For smaller ceremonies, there is something so intimate about having guests stand near and around you instead of seated. This works best for guest counts of 25 or less. As long as the venue or outdoor space is big enough to accommodate the space between guests, these setups can be social distancing friendly.”
Regardless of the floorplan chosen, make it a priority for every guest to be able to see and hear the momentous occasion. Shannon Tarrant, the founder of WeddingVenueMap.com, assures: “Everyone wants to be as close as possible to hear well and witness the special union. The key to success is making sure both the officiant and the couple have microphones to amplify their voices. As you space out the chairs for guest seating, pay attention to the audio for everyone to be able to enjoy the experience.”
The same goes for virtual attendees, too. “The guests watching from home or afar should have a prime view of everything happening,” adds Tarrant. “Consider hiring a company that offers the option of a roaming camera with their live stream so they can capture all of your special moments from different angles. It’s important to design the setup for technology as a forethought, not stick them in wherever.”
With the safety of the utmost concern, all wedding professionals are tasked with the duty of designing floorplans that can accommodate responsible social distancing without sacrificing an event’s design and its guest experience.
Meghan Ely is the owner of wedding PR and wedding marketing firm OFD Consulting. Ely is a sought-after speaker, adjunct professor in the field of public relations, and a self-professed royal wedding enthusiast.
Allseated makes designing layouts with distancing in place easy with our physical distancing tool. Learn more here.