Are you planning a wedding in NL this summer? These experts have some advice


Although restrictions are being eased in Newfoundland and Labrador, wedding experts believe a backup plan is important. (Shawn Taylor Photography)

Even during normal times, planning a wedding can be a stressful and overwhelming process. Last year, the COVID-19 pandemic ruined even the best of plans.

This year, Newfoundland and Labrador are starting their reopening strategy and formal gatherings are starting to normalize, but wedding experts still advise caution when planning this summer.

Andrea Hounsell is the owner and lead planner at Borrowed & Blu, a local wedding and event company.

“I would say the key word for weddings this year is backup plans,” said Hounsell. “Backup plans on backup plans.”

While there’s no way to predict how the pandemic could change wedding plans this summer, according to Hounsell, there are several things couples can do to ensure the main event goes as smoothly as possible.

Andrea Hounsell, owner and senior planner at Borrowed & Blu, says there are many creative ways to remind guests of the current restrictions. (Sandra Lee Photography)

As of July 1, the province allows formal gatherings of up to 250 people outside and up to 100 people inside. According to the province, a wedding is considered a “formal gathering” when it is hosted by a recognized company or organization, such as a wedding planner, caterer, or venue operator.

Unless your wedding is being run by a recognized company or organization – like in your backyard or home – you are limited to 50 attendees outside and only your “permanent 20” inside.

If you’re nervous about capacity limits changing, Hounsell recommends breaking the invite list into three sections: your immediate family and closest friends, extended family and friends, and everyone else.

She suggests sending out virtual “uninvited cards” when the collection limits tighten and you have to cross some people off the invite list – and don’t feel bad. Couples can live stream their ceremony to friends and family who cannot be there.

“These people will understand when the restrictions change,” said Hounsell. “It’s out of your control.”

Hounsell says couples can be creative in reminding guests of current restrictions by providing personalized masks and hand sanitizer, or dressing up social distancing signs with flowers and other themes.

Wedding dancing will be allowed again starting July 1, but couples are encouraged to check with their venue for specific rules and regulations.

Instead of dancing, karaoke and quiz games can also keep the energy high. If part of your wedding is outside, Hounsell suggests setting up lawn games to keep people busy and socially distant.

Food and photography

Maria Clarke is the owner and baker at Petite Sweet, a local dessert company. Before the pandemic, the company specialized in large self-service dessert tables for weddings and other events. Since buffet-style meals are currently not allowed, Clarke has switched to smaller dessert “charcuterie boards” and individual portions.

It points out that cookies can be personalized and individually packaged as a guest gift.

“They’re a great way to meet guidelines and be special and creative too,” said Clarke.

Photography is an integral part of capturing wedding memories, and this year photographers are doing things a little differently too.

Shawn Taylor says photographers use different lenses to maintain social distance and to photograph smaller groups of people. Kelly Roche (left) and Roger Codner were married on May 28, 2021 at Trinity Church. (Shawn Taylor Photography)

Shawn Taylor, who has been a full-time wedding photographer for 15 years, points out that photographers have a wide variety of devices that allow them to stay away from the people they are photographing.

Since everyone is not part of the same bubble, photographers do not take as many “family” photos and photograph smaller groups of people.

For couples nervous about tying the knot this summer, Taylor said it was important to remember what the wedding is about.

“You’re going to marry your fiancé, the person you’re in love with,” said Taylor. “The most important advice I can give when people decide to move things forward is to be present on your day and absorb it because it goes by so quickly.”

Read more articles from CBC Newfoundland and Labrador


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