Updated the morning of March 16, 2020. If information is out of date, above all, we recommend following guidelines established by the CDC.

As COVID-19 makes its mark on 2020, many couples who are having a wedding in Milwaukee this year are getting understandably nervous. After all, a lot of time and money is spent planning a wedding, and you’ve been envisioning it for quite some time!

It might surprise you to hear that 1/3 of the weddings we photograph in Milwaukee are smaller weddings, and they have just as much fun, love, laughter and even dancing as the big weddings do. 

The amazing thing is that you found your person, and that’s the important thing to the people who love you.

In fact, we had only 22 people at our wedding, including us. We got to talk to our guests and have meaningful conversations, which can be hard during bigger weddings. Later, we had small get-togethers in our home with additional friends and family, and we showed them our wedding ceremony video and some of our photos. We had such a great time connecting with everyone!

We want to share with you a few things you can do if you have a wedding planned in the upcoming months here in Milwaukee.

Your guest list is compromised, but that doesn’t mean you can’t have a fantastic wedding.

From friends and family affected by the travel ban out of the country to immunocompromised guests, you can probably count on the fact that some guests will have to miss your wedding due to this pandemic. Please let those special people know that you love them and that you understand.

Additionally, the CDC is now advising events to be less than 50 people through early May, and Governor Tony Evers has made this official in Wisconsin for the time being.

It’s okay to feel mad and sad about this.  But please know that intimate weddings are every bit as amazing as the big ones!  There are just as many candid moments for us to capture, and our couples are equally overcome with love and joy. And don’t forget, 49 people is 2.5x the number of guests we had at our own wedding, and we loved every second of it!

Video or Live Stream your wedding.

If funds allow, consider hiring a videographer to document your day.  If that’s not possible, then you can ask a tech-savvy friend to help live stream your wedding ceremony via Facetime or other streaming services.

Set up a Facebook Group for your wedding.

Make it a virtual party!  Set up a Facebook group and add guests from all over the world! Ask friends and family to post photos and videos from your wedding so that those that cannot be there will be able to share in the celebration.

Visit important people on your wedding day in person.

If you have elderly grandparents or people close to you that are local and cannot attend, consider stopping in before your wedding in your wedding clothes to visit with them. This can actually be a really sweet moment in time for all of you. We’re happy to photograph this part of your day too!

Take your vendors’ advice about safety.

Remember that your vendors are pros at what they do. If your caterer tells you that passed hors d’oeuvres you had your heart set on is a bad idea, listen to them. Be flexible and realize that weddings are not about the stuff; they are about the marriage. 

Get creative with sanitation.

We all need some levity right now.  How about some custom-made hand soap for your guest to take home? Forget the custom koozies with your wedding date on them! You can also hang the lyrics of 20-second love-song verses in the bathroom for people to sing while washing their hands.

If you haven’t sent out the invites for your 2020 wedding, now is the time to be proactive about your guest list.

  • Consider asking people not to bring children.
  • Get rid of the +1 option.
  • Follow the 2-year rule: If you haven’t seen them or stayed closely in touch in the last 2 years, consider removing them from the guest list.
  • You are not obliged to invite co-workers that aren’t actually your friend (this one may be sweet relief!).
  • Consider having separate, small get togethers with specific groups of people instead of inviting them to your wedding: your volleyball team, your work friends, your high school friends who you’re still in touch with but don’t see very often, etc.

If you can’t hold your wedding as scheduled by downsizing, find a new date instead of canceling.

Some couples may not have the option of keeping their original wedding date if, for example, they are in the military. A lot of time, effort, excitement and love has already been put into your wedding planning. Work with your vendors to find new date options instead of canceling all together. Be sure to consider Fridays and Sundays, or even weekday weddings! We’ve excitedly captured a handful of weekday weddings throughout the years, and we’re happy to say that a weekend does not make a wedding. People are JUST as excited and ready to celebrate during the week. Another fun fact about our own wedding (besides it being 22 people including us): we got married on a Monday!

Postponing instead of canceling not only allows you to live out the very special day you’ve been envisioning, but it also helps the livelihood of dozens if not hundreds of people who help bring to life your big day (staff of the venue, caterer, florist, DJ, transportation, wedding planner, videographers and photographers, for example). We’re all in this together. ♥

Other Random Tips

  • Have some hand sanitizer by your guest book. Groups of people sharing a couple of pens is an easy way to spread germs.
  • Try to have a spacious dance floor so people have a little more room to cut a rug.
  • Feed each other your first bite of wedding cake with a fork instead of your fingers.
  • Skip the receiving line and do celebratory elbow bumps instead of hugs.
  • Ask your venue if they have these, and if not, could they put a garbage can by bathroom doors so people can use paper towel to open them.

 Here’s our final bit of advice: a marriage is a vow to the person you want to spend the rest of your life with, and a wedding is a party. Parties can be scaled down and still be a blast!

Good luck with your wedding, and don’t forget to wash your hands 😊