Event Safety For Post COVID Wedding Planning
In a post-COVID wedding world we aim to set and maintain the standard as leaders for professional event safety throughout New England. As we finally return to normal, event professionals have a continued duty to promote and ensure the well-being of every single staff member and guest.
Kevin White, CSEP, President of XPL Events, and past president of the International Live Events Association said it best; it is our job “to make sure every single person gets home safely. That’s MY responsibility as an event professional. That’s OUR responsibility as an event industry.”
COVID-19 mitigation measures robbed all of us of those moments of joy and celebration that live events bring. After a very long two weeks to slow the spread, we can finally look forward to our friend’s 300 guest elegant wedding, cheering on the Patriots at Gillette Stadium, dancing to your favorite band at Big Night Live or catching the Emerson Colonial Theatre’s production of ‘Moulin Rouge’. Each of these components of the live events industry make up the social and cultural fabric of cities around the world. And until very recently, each one of them had been on an indefinite hold bearing an uncertain future.
With events returning (and with a Wedding BOOM not seen in 40 years) I find now is a great opportunity to pause and reflect on the lessons learned from pandemic era COVID weddings and events in this blog article.
Let the Professionals be Professionals
So how did we bring people back together safely? How can we be sure the event industry’s trained career event professionals come back to work responsibly? We do it by tasking those already responsible to ensure large gathering safety and that crucial responsibility lies with every single person with a career in live events. Safety is paramount.
Professionally produced events are not an inherent threat when executed properly. The Massachusetts Live Events Coalition and a team of Boston’s elite wedding professionals and safety experts came together create the nationally recognized award winning “Empty Wedding: The Marriage of Love & Safety”. With pandemic protocols set by health officials as our foundation we planned, designed and executed a mock 180 seat indoor wedding and embedded those strict protocols within the event design. Key event safety features were fused with the event theme. We offered gentle yet ample safety reminders. We made use of modern technology to reinforce awareness and cooperation without being obtrusive.
COVID Wedding Safety by Design
1) Rethinking catering and food service handling:
2) Multiple elegant and highly visible healthy welcome stations:
3) QR codes & touch-less tech for table assignments, food/beverage menus, transportation info, music requests, contact tracing:
4) Eye-catching graphic design with clear protocol reminders in higher-trafficked areas:
5) Ample spacing between tables and chairs to ensure guests are socially distanced:
6) Double or triple common crowding area widths such as aisles to allow for more space between guests:
7) Encouraging plated meals and served drinks to avoid buffet and bar lines:
8) Multiple spaced-out “SaniStations” in higher-trafficked areas:
9) Trained staff frequently sanitizing high touch or high use objects such as microphones:
10) Frequent updates, reminders and temperature checks of all event staff with mask requirements:
When it comes to event safety, leave it to the creative Massachusetts event professionals who take their careers in the live events industry and their absolute duty to safety seriously. Certainly some of the more extreme protocols will fade, and some will become safety commonplace. We’re humbled to have our work for this advocacy event be nationally recognized by receiving the 2021 ILEA Esprit International Best Event for a Non-Profit & 2021 NACE Boston Event Production of the Year awards! Use these ideas as inspiration for blending safety typically seen as eyesores (looking at you, circles and arrows on the ground!) into the design of your post covid wedding or event.
We’ve missed you. Welcome back. Cheers!
Photos courtesy of Black Thumb Studio. Safety protocols and planning by Thomas Whelan and Mercedes Roman-Manson. Event planning and design by MLEC members and MA live event professionals Jennifer Bertolino, Jodi Gold and Blair Mitcham. Production by David Buono of Spinner Music Productions.