What will social distancing-compliant weddings of the near future look like? How can couples, who may be nervous about keeping their guests safe and staying within their locality’s guidelines, rest assured that their wedding celebration can be successfully pulled off in the early phases of post-pandemic? A unique showcase held in Oregon during the week leading up to the Fourth of July endeavored to answer these questions.
The “Phase Two Wedding Information Event” was hosted at Castaway Portland, a wedding and event venue space in Portland, Ore. The purpose of the event, according to participant Cindy Labuhn, owner, Bridgewood Event Rentals, Milwaukie, Ore., was “to give our clients and couples a sense of what an event or wedding should look like following Oregon’s social distancing guidelines in COVID times.”
“The ringleader of the project was [event planner] Kim Morrill of Your Perfect Bridesmaid,” Labuhn says, noting that The Party Place, an event rental business in Portland, Ore., also participated in the project alongside her own rental business. “Kim and I sit on the board of the Live Events Industry of Oregon, which we helped to establish as a voice to lobby for relief for our industry. We wanted this mock-up wedding to provide guidance for hosting a wedding that would be in full compliance with our state reopening guidelines.”
“Our area is in ‘Phase One’ of reopening right now. The showcase was set up to help people understand, process and work through how to put their event together once we reach ‘Phase Two.’ Although we are not there yet, our goal was to show people in advance how their wedding can look once we get there,” she says.
Exhibits in the showcase included table setups and bar arrangements allowing for the necessary spacing in between, whimsical floor signage indicating areas to walk or stand to maintain adequate social distancing, tasteful hand sanitizing station positions and unique methods of communicating with onsite vendors, such as texting song requests to DJs.
“There were food options on display, too,” Labuhn says. “We demonstrated how food can be served to guests in individual containers and cute dessert boxes. These ways of serving food at events are going to be necessary because you won’t be able to serve anything family-style.”
Bridgewood Event Rentals’ contribution to the showcase was their plexi-shield barrier that can be used for separation at bars or chef-attended food stations. For the setup, pipe and drape were used for the frame along with a 4-ft.-by-8-ft. piece of plexiglass.
The “Phase Two Wedding Information Event” went live on Friday, June 26, and was staged for a period of one week. Labuhn says that there was a good deal of positive feedback on the project.
“We had a lot of people come through to check out the displays,” she says. “We felt that something like this would take a lot of stress out of couples’ minds, giving them a sense of how they can successfully and safely pull off an event in the current climate. Also, it helps vendors understand all of the PPE that is involved in the planning of an event in these times.”