The challenges of getting married in 2016 inspired Fallon Anawalt to kickstart a career she didn’t even know she wanted. During the planning stages, she quickly found that her home of Joplin, Missouri, didn’t offer many options in quality event vendors. Through creative thinking and business savvy, Fallon conquered the obstacles on her path to the altar, successfully building the wedding she always imagined.
Fallon’s experience led to her starting her own company, and five years later, Fallon owns and operates Athena Event Consulting and Décor, Joplin’s premier event planning service. But the challenges she faced in 2016 were nothing compared to the devastation the event-planning industry endured from COVID-19. Here is how Fallon and her team embraced the “new normal” and tailored her business to give others the enchanting and memorable wedding day they deserve while keeping wedding guests safe in the face of a pandemic.
Measures To Keep Guests Safe
As each state re-opens public spaces to total capacity, a massive surge for event planners and venues is in full effect. Those who postponed their weddings during the peak of COVID-19 are now rushing to book wedding planning services and grab open dates. With the Delta variant still lingering, many couples have concerns about health and safety.
Athena Event Consulting and Décor has a pocket full of creative ideas to help lessen the risk with COVID-safe options to keep guests and families safe.
The CDC has been consistently recommending social distancing from the beginning of the pandemic. Arranging seating six feet apart in visually appealing patterns while keeping dining tables to single households is an optimal way to mitigate germs.
A wedding isn’t a wedding without dancing. Fallon has thought of a creative way to keep dancing safe at the reception with an imaginative experience. Where available, Athena Marketing recommends hiring a silent disco wedding DJ.
Silent discos provide guests with wireless headphones that connect to the DJ’s equipment. Each guest can hear the music perfectly and dance anywhere in the venue (within range of the transmitter).
Color-Coded Comfort Bands
Comfort bands started popping up in social settings in 2020, and Fallon quickly jumped on the trend.
“Comfort bands are big for wedding safety right now,” Fallon says. “It’s a fun way to quickly understand the comfort level of your guests, at a glance, and how to interact with them just by the color of band they’re wearing on their wrists.”
As guests arrive, comfort bands can be displayed at the entrance, with a sign describing what they’re used for and encouragement to slip one on their wrists. Each color represents a different comfort level, from people open to hugging or touching through high-risk guests who prefer other maintain distance.
Athena Event Consulting and Décor has used comfort band descriptions like, “High Fives and Hugs Welcome!” with the green bands, “Happy to hang out but Hug Free Zone” for the yellow bands, and “I’m having a great time, but please maintain six feet of distance!” with the pink bands.
Many guests prefer to bring their own masks, but Fallon recommends having an extra supply available for those who may have forgotten or lost theirs. A delightful way to add some charm is to provide wedding-themed masks. These masks can feature the bride and groom’s names, the wedding date, and the hashtag if the wedding has one.
Putting hand sanitizer in many different areas throughout the venue and even leaving individual-sized bottles of sanitizer at the reception tables for each guest is a great practice that Athena Event Consulting and Décor recommends. Equip restrooms and kitchen areas with disposable, single-use paper towels and wet wipes. Keep a cleaning staff present to sanitize all areas throughout the day can help maintain sterile, germ-free surfaces.
Use Servers for Dinner and Bar
Buffets have ruled the wedding landscape for quite some time, but in an effort to manage pandemic safety, serving plated meals brought to the table by servers is the new trend. Not only does this help with social distancing, but it has an unexpected benefit as well.
“[Plated meals] can create an upscale dining experience,” Fallon says. “Wedding chefs plate the food with a beautiful, visual appeal that will impress your guests.”
Masked servers can also bring fresh drinks to guests, limiting trips to the bar, maximizing social distancing.
Because most states are open to full capacity, you can speak to your local planner or venue for COVID-safe options. For those getting married in the Joplin area, Athena Event Consulting and Décor can tailor your experience to alleviate anxiety about the pandemic. For more information on how to keep guests safe on your wedding day or to book your own event, visit Athena Companies.