A wedding is a monumental milestone that marks the beginning of a huge emotional and financial commitment to another person. For most couples, planning a wedding looks like weeks and months of ordering invitations, picking decorations, finding catering, scheduling a venue, and trying on fancy outfit after fancy outfit. The extensive and costly preparation leads up to one big day of love, celebration, and fun surrounded by the most special family and friends.

This is all rapidly changing in the age of Covid-19. With social gatherings limited to only a few people or none at all and most typical wedding venues closed for a minimum of a few months, couples are rethinking what’s essential on their wedding day.

Some have postponed their weddings altogether, but others have come up with creative alternatives to go through with a meaningful ceremony. From at-home Zoom weddings and virtual celebrity appearances to courthouse elopements and social distancing parades, here are some of the most beautiful, fun, and festive events of the past few months.

1. Car Circle Wedding

Having hundreds of guests flanking the aisle or tearing up the dance floor is not an option during the Covid-19 pandemic. That didn’t stop this couple from seeing their loved ones on their wedding day. Guests who could drive to the location of the ceremony gathered in a big semicircle, sitting in the trunks of their cars to maintain social distance. What a wonderful gift from groom to bride!

2. Surprise Wedding Parade

This couple received a similar surprise on their wedding day in the form of a parade. Friends and family met at a parking lot and drove past the couple’s house caravan-style, honking and waving all the way. Why not let the whole neighborhood know you’re getting married?

3. Zoom Wedding Ceremony

Some couples are going completely no-contact with an at-home Zoom celebration. An online ceremony is especially appropriate for those living in states under strict stay-at-home orders, like this couple. Though calling off a carefully planned and long-awaited event surely elicits disappointment and frustration, couples are discovering the value of a truly intimate wedding.

4. Social Distance Celebration for the Wedding Party

This family created a special experience for the maid of honor and flowers girls who couldn’t make it to the ceremony due to travel restrictions and stay-at-home orders. They set up a makeshift aisle in their kitchen, got all spruced up, and tuned into their bride and groom’s wedding live stream. Having remote guests decorate and dress up made the celebration more meaningful for the couple and for their loved ones.

5. Live-Streamed Social Distance Elopement

This couple knew they wanted to go through with their union at all costs and ended up eloping in a nearly empty church on a Tuesday evening. Though it wasn’t the fairy tale ending they originally imagined, the bride and groom enjoyed every moment of the last-minute wedding and topped it off with a magical first dance on the street corner.

7. Celebrity Surprise Wedding

John Krasinski caught wind of this love story and enlisted the help of a few of his friends for the ultimate one-of-a-kind wedding gift. If there’s a couple you want to surprise with a celebrity video message, check out Cameo — you can get personalized video messages and even book a live call with some celebrities.

Hosting your own wedding? Here are some planning tips:

  1. First and foremost, communicate with your partner about your wants and needs. Make sure you’re choosing an alternative that feels right to both of you.
  2. Know the social distancing guidelines in your area — how many guests can you accommodate in person with proper precautions?
  3. Live stream your wedding so everyone can watch, regardless of guidelines and travel restrictions.
  4. Host guests in shifts so you can see everyone who’s important to you while staying safe.
  5. Shorten the ceremony to include only what’s most important to you. It will make for a safer experience if you’re having guests and a more pleasant virtual viewing experience.
  6. Don’t skimp on the pre- and post- wedding parties! Host separate virtual get-ready parties for the bride and groom and celebrate over zoom when the ceremony is over.
  7. Decorate, decorate, and decorate. If your only option is a completely at-home wedding, putting up banners, ordering flowers, and buying or making a cake will make all the difference.
  8. Hire a photographer if you haven’t already. Photographers can easily maintain social distance while capturing your special day.
  9. Build your registry — think about all the things you might need while cooped up with your partner for another few months.
  10. And always, safety comes first! If you’re celebrating with anyone in person, be sure to have masks and hand sanitizer at the ready and maintain social distancing whenever possible.

Celebrating as the Maid of Honor or Best Man

If you’re the bride or groom’s best friend, you’re probably equally devastated that the original wedding plans have been so dramatically altered. You might not get the opportunity to celebrate in person, but you can still make a meaningful and sentimental contribution. Use HipHip to collect messages from friends and family and have them seamlessly compiled into a keepsake video that is sure to bring tears to the newlyweds’ eyes.

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