You can now host weddings, but everyone must wear a mask and you can't invite more than 48 people

A bride and groom wearing medical masks as a precaution against coronavirus (Covid-19) during their wedding at Bornova district in Izmir, Turkey on July 1, 2020. Wedding halls in Izmir started to provide controlled services within the scope of new types of coronavirus measures. (Photo by Omer Evren Atalay/Anadolu Agency via Getty Images)
A bride and groom wearing medical masks as a precaution against coronavirus (Covid-19) during their wedding at Bornova district in Izmir, Turkey on July 1, 2020. Wedding halls in Izmir started to provide controlled services within the scope of new types of coronavirus measures. (Photo by Omer Evren Atalay/Anadolu Agency via Getty Images)
  • The last few months have been characterized by alarm bells brought on by various events catalyzed by Covid-19.
  • Following travel bans and the halting of public (and family) events, our doorbells were left to rust, and wedding bells muted.
  • But it's now time to slowly and safely go back to normality and resume festivities - on a micro-scale, at least.

While some couples will be willing to delay their big day even further due to the coronavirus outbreak, others will find ways to forge ahead within the lockdown regulations.

“Large gatherings will likely be prohibited for some time,” points out wedding planner, Emily Lockhart. “Even when the lockdown is lifted, smaller, more intimate weddings, are likely to become the norm.”

READ MORE: Bridal couple ranks guests in order of importance, tells others they are on a waiting list

However, if you've been holding on to your wedding gown in anticipation of the day hosting events would get the thumbs up, you'll be glad to know that government has given the green light (or rather, amber light) to resuming nuptials.

First things first, everyone at the wedding has to wear a cloth mask - including both the bride and groom.

Where it gets a little creative, as per gazetted regulations, is that you may opt to wear "a homemade item or another appropriate item that covers the nose and mouth."

So, there is room for some fashionable expression (or extravagance) when putting together your bridal outfit, or if you're a guest, you may also go to town with your designs. 

For some inspiration, consult a previous W24 article where we asked: Is it shallow to make a case for more 'fashionable' protective cloth masks?

For a wedding, I'd say a fashionable mask (and sex on the beach) is the order of the day - since we're back to legally sipping on alcoholic drinks too.

READ MORE: SA wedding photographer stuck in New Zealand on lockdown - 'Flights were between R30 000 and R110 000'

You are also allowed to serve food and eat at the event. However, this is the only time you may remove your mask.

Here are a few other regulations to keep in mind:

  • You can only have 50 people at the event (48 assuming that the bridal couple's presence is non-negotiable)
  • Weddings can now be hosted at venues. This includes "theme parks, amusement parks, water parks, family entertainment centers, nature and game reserves, national parks, botanical gardens, zoos, aquaria, sanctuaries and other entertainment and cultural attractions."
  • Social distancing of at least one a half metres needs to be adhered to.

You may be wondering if the bridal couple is allowed to kiss? What about the first dance and dancing in general? These issues have not been addressed directly in the gazetted regulations, but at first glance, it's safe to say, for now, they are probably not be allowed.

READ MORE: Joburg couple cancels wedding due to coronavirus - ‘We’ve lost R80 000 so far’

Either way, you'll probably have to make the wedding accessible to your family and friends who didn't make the guest list by broadcasting it in one way or another.

Here are some virtual wedding planning tips to help you share the moment with your nearest and dearest and make the best of the limitations around lockdown rules:

1 - Consider officiating online

Officiator Fiona Bowden from Hatches, Matches, and Dispatches says the legalities would need to be followed up in person for now. "Thumbprints and the signing of documents needs to be in person. However, this could be digitised in future as well," she says.

READ MORE: Cape Town bride gets surprise lockdown wedding from filmmaker fiancé, plus he made cardboard guests

2 - Wedding moments captured virtually

Live streaming your wedding is not something entirely new. When people marry in somewhat unconventional wedding locations such as Las Vegas, to which couples typically elope, they may have had their families and friends log-on to watch the ceremony live. 

However, Graeme Brunt from Wedding Frames Film Company says he could never have forecast that live streaming a wedding would one day become a necessity.  “Some time back, we looked into this as an optional extra. It’s relatively simple if all the technical issues behave themselves!”

Graeme does point out that the most affordable and convenient way is currently to broadcast using your social media page. Other innovative ways include using social media hashtags and virtual photo solutions. Recently, DJ Jarryd Sunkel from KZN Wedding DJ created a virtual photo booth for his last online wedding. “As guests posted photos, I picked them up to create a collage to send onto the bride and groom later.”

READ MORE: After a KZN couple was arrested at their lockdown wedding, here are 5 tips to unplan your big day

3 - Deliver your favours

The innovation doesn’t end there. “If you apply your mind positively to the challenge, creative solutions will always bubble up,” says Charmagne Mavudzi, Volvo’s head of marketing and communications.  

“The car has always played a significant role in a wedding as the bride’s chariot. For a virtual wedding, the car could rather be used to deliver party packs and guest favours. This way, you will bring the wedding theme into each guest’s home, so that you can share in some of the same wedding experience together.”

READ MORE: Love and coronavirus: It could bring you closer, but there's a risk of increased domestic violence

While digital innovation in the wedding industry is undoubtedly accelerating, much can be said for seeing your loved one getting married in the flesh.

“I don’t see virtual weddings ever replacing the real-life experience,” comments Emily. “This pandemic will pass, and the traditional wedding will return. In the interim, virtual weddings will be a short-term necessity. All the valuable digital solutions that are developing along the way are likely to become ‘must-haves’ for future weddings though.”

Have you hosted or attended a lockdown wedding? Tell us about it here.

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