Mid - late May is normally greeted with wedding after wedding each and every weekend. It's what has made Charleston become one of the top wedding destination locations in the country over the past decade. May days should also come with them the freedom to go outside on the water and enjoy some of the most beautiful beaches on the East Coast here in the Lowcountry. The inspiration for this post today came from the discussions over the past few weeks or so with some wedding vendor colleagues here in the Charleston, SC area. It's now May 24 and it's been 78 days since I DJ'ed my last wedding. So much has changed since that last night for me (for a while) at Upstairs At Midtown. My clients Courtney & Logan travelled here from New Hampshire with a small, but fun group of guests and fortunately safely made it back home before COVID 19 put an end to another prosperous spring wedding season in the Holy City. Guidelines had been put into place by the CDC back around March 13 that would more or less cancel all weddings for a period of about 8 weeks. Now that 8 weeks has passed is behind us, things have slowly begun to open in Charleston and through out the state of South Carolina. The uncertainty remains. When will weddings be able to take place again in the World's Best City?
The uncertainty had been killing all of us wedding vendors for weeks, but at the time I'm putting this post together, the future can begin in the COVID 19 era as it pertains to Charleston weddings and events. As the state of South Carolina begins to slowly allow things to open back up, the governor released some guidelines for weddings. First and foremost, let me just say that from the onslaught of the COVID 19 pandemic, I made the decision to be there in more ways than one for my clients, and will continue to be there should they need to move their wedding date. I've already spoke with numerous brides and grooms about their wedding DJ disappearing on them as COVID 19 began to unravel. There are stories that have begun to circulate around Charleston about wedding DJs disappearing and not returning deposits as well. Beware of these DJs. Be sure to read the reviews of your wedding DJ. If you are reading this blog post and this has happened to you, let's talk. But now, as we begin to conceptualize a "Wedding In The COVID 19 Era", there are recent guidelines that have been set forth by the state of South Carolina as things begin to reopen. As a reminder, do not cancel your wedding due to COVID 19, but instead postpone and reschedule. Hopefully you initially hired the right vendors to make this a seamless process.
Social Distancing Guidelines At Weddings? Really? How?
In all of my years entertaining brides and grooms all over Charleston, I've always looked upon weddings as truly private events. Private events that should have no restrictions at all. The guest list for your wedding was put together with the idea that your closest friends and family will be there to see you marry the man or woman of your dreams. Since Charleston, SC is one of the top wedding destinations, your guests will most likely be flying in to see you get married. How does a bride or groom expect to make it through their wedding with every one of their guests standing at least 6 feet away from them at all times. Since weddings are "private" events, who would enforce these social distancing guidelines? One of the official guidelines for weddings handed down from the state of South Carolina says the following:
"Wedding size should follow social distancing guidelines, allowing a six-foot space between attendees."
Ladies and gentlemen, this is the first of many vague statements you'll find in this post. I mean, weddings are celebratory moments with a constant, steady amount of affection. If a bride and groom have invited 150 people to their wedding, then this means that they each could be hugged 150 times. Unless the level of affection drammatically decreases at weddings in the COVID 19, practicing social distancing at a wedding is not practical and unrealistic.
"Weddings should be held in compliance with guidelines set forth by the location of the event."
Here is the second of vague statements put forth by the state of South Carolina. Does this mean that wedding venues have to adhere to occupancy guidelines? Wedding venues have differing levels of occupancy. Can weddings only occur at 50% occupancy of these venues? If this is the case, does this mean that when a bride and groom are forced to postpone or reschedule their wedding, do they have to cut their guest list based on how many people are now allowed inside the wedding venue? Lots of questions.
"Health checks are the responsibility of the bride, groom, or their representative and should be conducted prior to allowing guests into the wedding"
As things have begun to open up around the country, we'll be seeing this a lot as businesses try to isolate people who might be carrying the Coronavirus. So what it sounds like here is you'll need to designate someone at the wedding to stand at the door of the wedding venue to take temperatures. Weddings can be highly emotional or highly charged private events. With all of the uncertainty out there right now, how could someone possibly travel to Charleston and not be admitted to the wedding because of a fever? I would hate to be the one who doesn't admit your favorite aunt who has been waiting to see her favorite nephew get married for 25 years.
"Any equipment used by a guest must be sanitized by staff after each use. In addition, sanitizing stations should be made avialable for guests to use at their discretion"
As the title of this blog post suggests, I'll be taking extra steps to make sure all the equipment I bring into your wedding venue. While I've spared no suspense and purchased all top of the line professional grade DJ equipment, extra efforts will be made to make sure all pieces are spotless. You'll want to speak with your wedding planner about coordinating some hand sanitizing stations around your wedding venue as well.
"Additional staffing may be required to minimize congestion in high traffic areas, and ensure social distancing guidelines are enforced."
Now this last piece of guidance provided to the public from DHEC in the state of South Carolina is one of the most unrealistic guidelines which almost makes you think that having weddings (until the threat of COVID 19 is diminished) is almost not worth it. With all your closest friends and family, how in the world could you possibly maintain the 6 foot rule as it pertains to social distancing? Are we supposed to have a "social distancing cop" on hand to break people up as they close together? Once again, there are so many questions.
Dancing At A Wedding In The COVID 19 Era
When discussions began online and all over social media in regards to these COVID 19 guidelines for weddings, there were so many thoughts and feelings circulating around in my head. How would people dance? How are people supposed to remain 6 feet apart on the dance floor? Does everyone at the wedding have to wear a mask? Should I not play any slow songs, which would obviously promote no social distancing because couples love to embrace during an occasional slow song at one of my weddings. Will I be required to wear a mask? As you can see, COVID 19 has introduced many, new logisitical questions into the equation as it pertains to your wedding. I, for one have no issue wearing a mask but as I sit back and visualize you and your fiance at the biggest party of your lives wearing a mask, as well as your guests, I feel a little nauseous.
My Parting Thoughts On COVID 19 Weddings
I get it. We are in a new era in society. The COVID 19 era. But being a highly experienced wedding DJ, I've seen it all over the years. If I had to describe a wedding reception in one statement it would be, "Weddings are fun celebrations that should have no restrictions." YOUR wedding should be one of the single most fun days of your entire lives. That being said, I've got a bit of a mental block when it comes to all of these potential restrictions at COVID-19 era weddings. Masks at weddings? No way. Social distancing at weddings? No way, that's impossible. I don't like what weddings might become as a result of this pandemic. Weddings were never meant to be that way. But, if I want to continue to work as a wedding DJ during and after the COVID 19 era, I'm going to have to bite the bullet and try to wrap my mind around adhering to these guidelines. When this pandemic began to shut down the spring wedding season, I reached out to all my current and future clients and made a promise to be there for you. It remains to be seen how limited the fun will be at a COVID 19 wedding, but I will do my best to continue to provide my clients the best service possible, even if some of the requests are a little unrealistic. For more information on some of the guidelines set forth by the state of South Carolina, click the preceding link.
Interested In Speaking To Mike Bills About Being Your Wedding DJ?
It is my hope that in 2021, the worst of the pandemic will be over and we can begin to start having some more fun with less restrictions at weddings again. If you are a modern bride and groom who are recently engaged and are looking to get married in 2021, let's talk soon. For a limited time, I am offering 10% off of all 2021 bookings. There are lots of couples out there who are unsure about whether or not they should even be planning a wedding. If this is you, my recommendation is to save your date, and have a longer engagement. Hire a planner and set up a budget that is affordable for you both as a couple. With a longer engagement, you'll be able to put away more cash and by the time your wedding day arrives, you'll be able to have your wedding completely paid off and enter your new marriage not having a big wedding to pay off. Just click the link up above to be taken over to my contact form so you can provide some of the fine details of your big day. When you book me as your wedding DJ, you'll work with me for the entire process from booking til the last song plays. You'll have my undivided attention through out the entire process as I ONLY do one wedding per day. I look forward to speaking with you soon. Congratulations on your engagement. In case you missed it, be sure to read over this post on Why You Should Strongly Consider Hiring Me, and in case you missed it, click back over to my About page to learn even more about me.