How to plan a wedding in Alberta as COVID-19 restrictions ease

Even though COVID-19 restrictions are easing in Alberta, couples who are planning to tie the knot will still have to be prepared to make some compromises, industry experts warn.

“Weddings take a long time to plan,” wedding planner Julianne Young. “We have to take everything a day at a time with regulations and rules changing.”

On Friday, Alberta moved into Stage 2 of its provincial relaunch strategy, raising the number of people allowed at indoor gatherings, including weddings and funerals, to 50 people as long as physical distancing is maintained.

Up to 100 people are now allowed at outdoor gatherings.

Young said out of the 40 weddings she typically plans each year, she has five couples who haven’t moved their big day to 2021.

“Some people are able to adjust and pick up the pieces and have an elopement or intimate ceremony,” Young said.

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“I find people are very open-minded to do what it takes to keep their guests safe.

“If that means their servers have to wear masks or there has to be a social-distanced ceremony with all the chairs in cohort groupings, people will show up with a smile on their face ready to celebrate.”

But for those brides and grooms still hoping to have a big celebration, Young said it may be safer to move it further down the road.

“Even though things in Alberta are looking awesome, it’s not totally the case across the country and the borders aren’t open,” she explained. “People are still choosing to move their dates to 2021 when they’re a little more confident it will be safe to travel.”

Meanwhile, some Alberta wedding venues are also preparing for a summer wedding season like no other.

“We’re really excited to welcome some of our guests back,” said Jennifer Wakeford, the catering and sales manager at Heritage Park in Calgary.

“Couples who changed their plans and were having a destination wedding are now coming to the park,” she said.

“Even in the last few days, we’re hearing from excited couples who are happy they can still have a celebration.”

However, couples need to understand there are health guidelines and regulations that need to be followed, including the maximum amount of people at an indoor event, Wakeford said.

Heritage Park has transitioned away from buffets to a plated dinner service. Social distancing rules remain in place.

“We’ve had further communication with couples who are wanting to come to the park to ensure they are appropriately distanced,” she said.

“We’re fortunate we have multiple venues on the park, so if the wedding is scaled back, the couple can have a smaller wedding with just 20 guests and people can still celebrate.”

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