Tips on wedding planning for 2020 and beyond.

Written by Natasha Bourlin
 Photos by Gagewood Photography

While the world may have changed dramatically since the beginning of the new decade, love still presides. Weddings have been forced to evolve in the face of a global pandemic. However, the bonds of marriage still can be forged in celebratory style. 

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Havana-inspired wedding planning and design by Forget Me Knot Events & Design. Venue provided by Sierra Water Gardens. Floral design by Twine & Dandy. Tabletop and specialty rentals by Lucky Burro. Linens by Creative Coverings. Photo by Gagewood Photography

Venue Selection

In the High Sierra, many spectacular venues exist. But finding one that’s conducive to planning a socially distant wedding can be challenging. 

Nikki Goodell, special events manager for the Nevada Museum of Art, recommends betrothed couples rely on the expertise of, and openly communicate with, their wedding planners and venue managers. 

“We are using all the information provided to pivot into a new normal,” Goodell says. “At the height of COVID-19, safety takes on a whole new meaning. We not only have to think of the safety of our clients and their guests, but our staff as well. Safety during these times comes with a long list of protocols. Additional staff might need to be added to ensure proper sanitation, hand-washing stations, and appropriate personal protective equipment (PPE) are in place ... The way food and beverages are served also will change, with buffets and interactive food stations no longer an option. Chefs and catering are becoming creative with delicious food options that can be served safely. Quality will not be sacrificed.”

At the Renaissance Reno Downtown Hotel, director of catering Danielle Kading has several suggestions on working with venues to create an idyllic wedding ceremony. She encourages couples to have patience while planning their Big Day during these uncertain times. 

Kading’s tips for planning 2020 weddings include maintaining a guest count within your booked space that’s conducive to social distancing. She explains that venues will “need to strategically set the ceremony so that families are seated together, six feet from the next family.” 

“Because social distancing is necessary, some of the celebratory functions like dancing will need to be less ordinary,” Kading says. “You may want to consider incorporating games and activities rather than dancing. Consider trivia, wedding bingo, Jeopardy, Pictionary, or charades.”

Passing out masks alongside wedding favors may also become the new normal. Invest in some cute ones your guests can use beyond the celebration or that will remind them of it. 

Outdoor options where nature provides stunning ceremonial décor also are in high demand. 

Venues such as the River School have several smaller gathering areas, including one with a fire pit, that allow guests to mingle during more intimate weddings. 

“We have noticed that smaller weddings are becoming more popular,” says Iris Stille of the River School. “Now that social distancing may be with us for much longer than first anticipated, our outdoor wedding venue offers many benefits, not the least of which are its wonderful views and access to the Truckee River.”

Behind the Scenes

As guests revel in the couple’s selected setting, a lot is going on behind the scenes when planning a wedding. Seeking help from experts on the details that exist behind the curtain can be critical. 

As co-owner and operator of Wedding and Event Clean-up, Kathleen Hanley says her business, is “not your traditional bring-a-mop-and-bucket-to-the-wedding service. This is a business run by parents who end up doing the cleanup.”

She says she and her husband, Don, along with their crew often are post-ceremony saviors. 

“We want to take away the pressure for family and friends, as well as the couple, of having to clean up after the big celebration,” Kathleen says. 

Watching a newlywed couple stroll off into the sunset after being wed, with Champagne flutes in hand and not a care in the world, is what makes all that post-wedding work worthwhile for the Hanleys. 

Another planning necessity is a place to prep, primp, and relieve one’s self. Quick Space offers spacious, clean spots for couples and guests to take care of other important business during their wedding. 

With germs being top of mind these days, Quick Space staff is diligent about keeping units sanitary and pristine. Its units are easy to set up, aesthetically pleasing, and roomy. 

Dominic Martin, special events account manager for Quick Space, says he’s seeing people paring down their weddings lately and selecting more open venues outdoors, such as ranches and farms. 

Martin says the team will deliver aesthetically pleasing units spotlighting high-end features such as back-lit mirrors, spacious interiors, and even fireplaces. 

Sweet Celebration 

Sharing a single cake is an aspect of the past. Now, people are turning to individual bites of deliciousness. 

Nothing Bundt Cakes owner Shele Faretto Silveira is seeing smaller weddings and couples trying to make their union extra special for guests. Sending guests on their way with delectable favors seems to be a hot trend. 

Anne Archer, owner of Batch Cupcakery in Reno, has delivered small cakes for couples to share during their virtual, online weddings. Batch also offers free delivery of its individually packaged cupcakes to hand out to guests as favors. Other trends also are catching Archer’s eye. 

“Pearls are a huge hit on cakes, as well as the color blue. It represents calm, confidence, and connection — much needed at these times,” Archer says.

Practical Matters

Marriage is about more than just love. It’s a contract. Planning the magical wedding day is one element, but practicality is an important part of planning for the future. Because Nevada is a community-property state, assets and debts, along with any income (with few exceptions) acquired after the date of marriage belong equally to each person from the date of marriage. 

Elizabeth M. Bittner, Esq. of Bittner Legal, LLC, recommends a pre- or post-nuptial agreement as a way to minimize fear of the unknown and establish trust at the beginning of a marriage. 

“If you have a premarital — and even post-marital — agreement, you can make a legally binding contract that you do not want community property law to apply to you,” Bittner says. “The reason why spouses may want to exempt themselves from community property law doesn’t have to be because they anticipate divorce, but it can be an important part of their overall estate plan.”

Marriages are built on a foundation of love and trust, and weddings are a time to celebrate with loved ones, no matter the state of the world. Experts in their fields, such as these local businesses, can help ease that entry into nuptials and help you create the wedding of your dreams, no matter what challenges you may face.

Tips for Planning Your Wedding

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