We’ve got another great episode of Wedding Secrets Unveiled! for you today. And we’re talking to one of our dear friends and favorite people, Luke Renchan of Luke Renchan Entertainment. On top of being an amazing DJ in the New England area, he’s part of our The Rhode Island Wedding Coalition. And he’s also the president of the Rhode Island wedding group, helping all of us navigate COVID-19 as wedding vendors. We’ve known Luke for over 18 years and worked alongside him on so many weddings. We even photographed his own wedding, too! We’re so happy we could have him on the podcast today to share all about the new COVID-19 updates for events here in Rhode Island!
Before we jump too far into things, we want to thank Luke for being the go-to vendor in the industry right now. Luke has been working overtime all across Rhode Island every day for us, figuring out how COVID-19 will affect weddings in our area. Now, Let’s dive in!
Luke is one of the top DJ’s in the New England area. In the last year, he’s become super involved as the spokesperson for reopening in Rhode Island. He’s now also on the transition team for our new governor, Dan McKee to help with RI reopening.
Tell us about testing before weddings and events in Rhode Island. What’s the protocol?
Testing has definitely become part of the events that are taking place at this point. It’s expected that every guest will be tested 48 hours before the event and needs a negative test to attend.
-We had a mock wedding to test out the process. It’s helped us review some of the challenges.
-Everyone attending gets tested, including kids, 48 hours prior to the wedding. You may want to consider “special” guests or the couple begin monitoring and being tested up to 2 weeks before so if major plans have to be changed, you can better prepare.
-If you’ve already had COVID, you do not need a test up to 90 days after your test where you tested positive, however, you do need to have been through the quarantine for 10 days. And then you have to be able to not show any symptoms, of course to be able to come to the wedding or the event.
-If you’ve been vaccinated, you still need to test.
A quick reminder here that the rapid testing option is free here in Rhode Island!
Moving on, a big question that we keep getting is what is “pod dancing?”
Pod dancing is a newer concept that was started in New York. Originally, the only thing that they would allow would be your formal traditional dances, parent dances, first dance, things of that nature. But now, we’re able to offer “pod dancing.” It’s really just dancing with the people you came with – those you’re seated with and traveled with.
I think as guests we were kind of doing that anyway! We didn’t typically go dance with strangers pre-COVID…
We didn’t! Also, be sure to check with your specific venue as to their regulations, zones, and how they’re setting pod dancing up for their receptions. Remember, it’s one more precaution – nothing too scary!
So…. what about masks at weddings? We know you don’t have a crystal ball… but, any thoughts on how this might change?
-The CDC made a announcement that if everyone is vaccinated in the group, then they do not have to be mask wearing, and you don’t have to socially distance.
-I know lots of couples telling their guests to be sure they’re fully vaccinated. In some forums I’ve seen, there’s couples that are choosing to make their wedding exclusive to only those with vaccines.
-There’s no guarantees when it comes to this stuff, but the CDC already made mention of the potential for fewer masks as time goes on (and more vaccinations are given), which is something to look forward to.
What are some of the other restrictions for 2021 weddings to be aware of?
– Bar service has become sit down service at your table. But I think we’re hoping to get back to a typical bar service soon (with plexiglass dividers and distancing!).
-Standard cocktail hours are seated now. You can’t mill around and mingle.
-Food is being plated and served to guests versus a buffet. In general, most of the reception has become service at the table versus self-serve.
-The capacity for outdoor events has been raised! So that’s exciting!
-Tables will still be 6 feet apart since you have to have your mask off to eat.
So, if you were to tell one of your couples that has an early summer or fall wedding right now, how comfortable are you telling them we’ll have some “normalcy” by then?
I would say it’s definitely possible by the summer or fall, we’ll be closer to back to normal. And, and with the spring weddings, we’ll still have masks and distancing… But we’ll have dancing, you’ll get to see a few more people than the super intimate days we had last year. We’re progressing!
And, remember, we have good days and bad days in this process. Some days we’re really making forward motion and others we aren’t. But, we are ALL fighting to make things as normal as possible in the safest way possible.
Wrap Up Question
What are some key points that couples should be asking every vendor when they are planning for their wedding in regards to COVID-19 and the protocols in place to have a perfect wedding?
- Find out what the vendors backup plan is if they got COVID.
- What happens if you have a couple that comes down with COVID?
- What are your Covid policies when booking a new contract for a wedding?
- Talk to your venue about their requirements.
Links Mentioned in the Episode
For the latest statistics on the impacts of Covid-19 on wedding invitation behaviors from The Paperless Post, visit their blog here!
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