With the end of lockdown in sight, but social distancing still a very real factor, couples who have been planning their weddings for months – sometimes even years – are faced with very difficult decisions about whether to go ahead with their ceremonies…

It’s a tough decision to make, given that social distancing is urged by government and, quite frankly, desperately needed to continue to curb the spread of the coronavirus.

Even after lockdown ends, restrictions will remain in place. While these are not yet defined, it is likely that large gatherings will still be banned for a while.

If you plan on going ahead with your big day in the next few months, read on below for tips on how to still make the best of your smaller, nonetheless special, day.

1.   Quaint outdoor ceremonies

If you are cutting down your guest list, perhaps consider moving your ceremony outdoors. This makes it easier to spread the seating to adhere to the guidelines for social distancing. We are spoiled for choice with beautiful beaches and wine farms in our country, and it would be worth your while to find out which businesses are willing to accommodate small groups.

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You will have beautiful views, your significant other, and your closest loved ones with you – which doesn’t sound bad at all. Make the best of the natural, outdoor lighting for amazing photo opportunities with your wedding party and guests, and get creative with catering: look into fancy picnics or bowl foods, to minimise the hassle around formal, seated dining.

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2.   Breakfast trend

If you are not able to find a venue that can accommodate your needs, or you think it would be more responsible to have something even smaller, consider a breakfast wedding. It’s not an entirely new concept, but certainly one that has been gaining popularity across the world.

Hotels with stunning views like BON Hotel Waterfront Richards Bay offer guests scenes of the waterfront, and the hotel has implemented special measures to limit the risk of coronavirus infection.

“We have always prioritised cleanliness, but since the outbreak of COVID-19, we have doubled down on our efforts. On each shift, we have one person dedicated solely to sanitising the property. We still want happy couples to have the most wonderful time, and do all we can to provide peace of mind to our guests,” comments Liza du Plessis, Banqueting Manager at the hotel. You will have the peace of mind of a smaller celebration, with all the safety aspects covered.

3.   Home sweet home

Perhaps the most extreme, yet very special way of celebrating, may be inviting everyone to you and your partner’s home – if you live together already. A small ceremony in your space with people you hold dearest to you, followed by a potluck dinner to seal the deal.

If you are missing loved ones due to travel restrictions or any other reasons, social media is a great way to include them in the celebrations. Dial them in via Skype, FaceTime or WhatsApp, and allow them to toast along with the rest of your guests.

SA couple ties the knot in Skype ceremony attended by friends & family