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So, a little thing called COVID is causing you to rethink your wedding plans...

and with information that is changing daily, it is hard to know how to plan. You want to celebrate with those you love, but you also want to protect them from illness. Additionally, many options seem limited because the community has been placed under mandatory health measures that direct what gatherings can and cannot look like.



It's just kinda hard to know what to do.



So, where do you go from here?



The good news is this; while your wedding may not be typical or what you expected, it can still be incredible and meaningful!



The purpose of this guide is to help you navigate these new waters of wedding planning during a pandemic. I will inform you of current health directives in regards to weddings, share ceremony and reception options with those in mind, and leave you with practical tips as you move forward with planning.



Ultimately, this is such an amazing opportunity to refocus things on what really matters. My primary hope is that this guide will stoke within you a renewed excitement about what your wedding could be, inspire you in the beauty of simplicity,  and prompt an excitement about the freedom available to to you to think outside of the box to plan a celebration that is truly "you".

Current Directed Health Measures

"Gatherings are prohibited. A Gathering is defined as any event that brings together more than 10 patrons, customers, or other invitees, excluding staff, in a single room or space at the same time... does not include religious services...Religious services, including weddings or funerals, are allowed but shall be limited to the ceremony or service only. During religious ceremonies and services, party(s) must maintain a minimum of 6 feet of separation and consist of a household unit or individual. Items should not be shared or distributed between different parties."

Lancaster County is under this directive until May 10, 2020, unless extended.

Merrick, Hall, Hamilton, Douglas, etc. are under this directive until May 31, 2020, unless extended.

For updated health measures for your specific county visit: The Department of Health and Human Services COVID health measures website.

what are your options?

option 1. small ceremony on original wedding date, larger reception at a later date



You don't have to wait to get married.

You get to make the ceremony a small and intimate event with only those closest to you.

You are still able to have a large celebration with family and friends once directed health measures have been lifted.

You do not have to worry about finding and rebooking another ceremony location.


You are planning two events.

Remember that ceremony capacity is not really the issue. Under the health measures, wedding ceremonies are an exception to the "10 person" rule. As long as proper precautions are taken, you can invite many people to your ceremony. The issue is the reception, which does not qualify for exemption.

Tips for making it special:

Consider thinking outside of the box for your ceremony location. With a small ceremony, there are so many more options available to you. You can get married at a scenic overlook, a grassy pasture at sunset, or somewhere by the river. Pick a location that holds special significance to you, and keep in mind that I also have access to various outdoor locations too.

Plan something special for afterwards. You could do a small and elegant outdoor picnic at your ceremony location, or plan a simple cake cutting with wine and music for your first dance. Whatever you decide, don't just say your vows and go home. Plan a way to celebrate, even if it's small.

Make a plan to display your ceremony photos at your larger reception. Family and friends who were not able to be at the ceremony will love the opportunity to relive it with you through your photos - so, plan to display them in something like a book or slideshow.  

option 2. small ceremony and reception



You don't have to wait to get married.

You get to share your special day with only your closest family and friends.

You have the freedom to plan a beautiful event with a much smaller price tag.

Easier set-up.


Your guest list will be limited to whatever the health directive dictates at the time of your wedding. This means that some important people may not be able to celebrate with you.

This may mean that many previously planned things (food, venue, decor) will need to change.

Tips for making it special:

Choose a location that accommodates a small guest list. Smaller weddings and receptions require different considerations than your typical large wedding. Typically, the location needs to be more conducive to a small group of people. Think of your reception more as a really nice small dinner party and consider hosting it in a restored barn, the beach of your favorite lake, or the gorgeous back room of your favorite restaurant. Stay away from really large spaces, as they will typically feel really vast and empty without enough people to fill them. 

Put thought into the decor. Because your wedding and reception is smaller, you will have more flexibility on really adding your personal touches. Additionally, carefully thought out decor will go a long way in elevating your event to make it still feel incredibly special. Renting your decorations are a great way to go. There is typically a wide variety of decor to choose from, and you have the added benefit of not having to pay to buy everything only to turn around and sell it again. From ceremony arches, to chairs, to beautiful rugs, to center pieces, to farm tables for your guests to eat dinner around - you can literally rent almost anything you would need. 

Keep some of the old traditions. Even though your small wedding may feel like it is anything but traditional, keeping some of the classic wedding traditions will help you feel as though you still had some of the traditional wedding experience. Consider still lighting a unity candle, cutting a cake, doing toasts, and having a first dance.    

option 3. large ceremony and small reception



Religious services, which includes wedding ceremonies, are exempt from Nebraska's gathering restrictions.

You don't have to wait to get married.

More friends and family are able to come to your ceremony.

Like option 2, you are still able to celebrate but with a much smaller price tag.


Many people who attend your ceremony will not be able to attend the reception.

Tips for making it special:

Because many will not be able to attend the reception, help them feel included by giving them a special part in your wedding. For example, if your favorite cousin doesn't make the very small reception guest list ask her if she would be willing to read a scripture verse or selected quote during the ceremony so she still feels valued and important.

Include a special note from the bride and groom on your wedding program. Typically receptions are not just a celebration, but also the bride and groom's way of saying "thank you" to their wedding guests. However, in a season where receptions have to be small, a note from the bride and groom can go a long way it letting wedding guests know they are loved and appreciated. A great place to include this is on the back of the program. Let your guests know how much they mean to you, and how thankful you are that they could be there to support you and witness your big day. 

The tips from option 2 (above) also apply here. Choose a location for your reception that lends itself to a small guest list, put thought into your decorations, and keep some of the old traditions.   

option 4. Reschedule ceremony and reception



You get to continue with original wedding plans.

You do not have to cut the guest list.

More time to plan.


You have to wait to get married.

No guarantee that even at a later date large receptions will be permitted. According to government agencies here in Nebraska, the plan for the foreseeable future is to begin to gradually lift restrictions on gatherings (assuming all goes well). There is a possibility that later this year, while restrictions will be eased, there may still be a limit on gatherings (ex. 100 or less). No one knows the future and information changes daily, but just be aware that a gathering limit could possibly be in effect for the next several months.

Tips for making it special:

Take this time to continue preparing. The great news is, you have more time to plan. Continue to think through elements and details that you would really like to include as part of your ceremony and reception. You now have more time to save up for and put together things you weren't sure you could swing initially. Remember, time is your friend. Breathe easy knowing you can slow down a bit and have more time to think about planning decisions that you were unsure of before.


Regardless of what you decide to do, know that I am here and happy to help you through this process. Don't hesitate to reach out!

There are of course many more options for your wedding day, those listed above are just a few to help you better think through things, the most important thing is that you do what is the best for you.

Happy planning!

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