5 Socially Distanced Winter Wedding Ideas for Couples


2020 has come and gone and we’ve entered 2021. Smarter? Maybe. Stressed? YES. 2020 was a grueling year, if not for everything socially and politically going on, then for the COVID pandemic. For anyone who planned on getting married in 2020, it’s likely that your plans were dashed—along with every other trip and thing you scheduled. You’re not alone, though. Many brides and grooms are frustrated with the current state of affairs, but some are finding ways to work around it—so don’t return your men’s wedding band just yet! 

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If you want to get married but don’t want to wait until the end of 2021 into 2022, consider planning a socially distanced winter wedding. It might be non-traditional, but 2020 has taught us what a brand new normal looks like. Here are a few ideas to keep in mind that can help you and your spouse tie the knot before winter has come and gone. 

1. Plan a Micro Wedding

A small wedding doesn’t mean you’re “less-married” than someone who had a traditional ceremony. Micro weddings have come into fashion, especially thanks to COVID, where couples have a small ceremony and reception with their closest family and friends. Not only does it massively shrink the wedding budget while allowing for upgrades elsewhere, but it also allows the couple to spend their big day with the small group of people they love the most. This is a simple way to embody the winter spirit: warming your heart by spending the season with those you cherish the most. 

2. Get Married but Party Later 

You want to get married now but are worried about having a large gathering for the after-ceremony reception? No problem! Tie the knot with your parents and closest friends in attendance, but leave the after-party for a later date. It might feel anticlimactic, as it’s not the traditional way of getting married, but it’s the smart, safe move to make amid the ongoing pandemic. If you can wait it out, you can leave the celebration until everyone is healthy enough to attend, where social distancing does not need to be considered and where you can experience your wedding as you’ve always imagined it. 

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3. Get Married Once, Party Multiple Times

Here’s another idea for you and your new spouse: Rather than having everyone get together for one wedding reception, have multiple parties with different groups of friends and family following your wedding ceremony. Two options related to your ceremony can include either:

  • Have a courthouse wedding with both of your parents in attendance, or whatever other parties you would like to view and verify the ceremony.
  • Have a traditional wedding ceremony with a pastor and have a small group together who will be included in your immediate after-party. 

Now, why do separate parties? Certain attendees might not want to attend due to safety concerns, they may be immunocompromised, or they may have recently come in contact with someone who has COVID. By breaking up your ceremony into multiple parties, you can see either different groups of family and friends in stages or individual couples along the way. 

The benefit here is that you can maintain a high level of safety while also having more personalized interactions with family and friends. Rather than having a huge wedding ceremony where everyone has to be aware of social distancing, you can spend time with a handful of people in a more intimate setting, truly sharing each other’s company while celebrating your new marriage. This also gives you an excuse to get not one, but two wedding rings to wear for the separate occasions!

4. Wait It Out

It might not be what you want to hear, but you and your spouse could consider pushing back your winter wedding later into 2021. Part of it comes down to weighing your options: What would you rather have? 

  • Your dream wedding? 
  • To be married as soon as possible? 
  • Being married with all of your family and friends in attendance? 
  • Having a small ceremony and celebrating later? 

If you feel like you need to get married right away, that’s fine! That’s your own and your spouse’s decision to make. If it feels right you should go for it—albeit doing so keeping health and safety in mind. Otherwise, if you want the dream wedding where everyone you love is in attendance, it might be best to push it back until later in the year. Again, it’s not ideal, but it’s the right thing to do if you want to have many people in attendance while maintaining the traditional wedding setting. 

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5. Go Virtual

Some couples feel as if they have already waited long enough. 2020 has been quite the year, so why not start 2021 on a high note? Virtual weddings are growing in popularity for this very reason, as they allow couples to tie the knot while maintaining safety for both themselves and all of their guests—consider it the ultimate form of a socially distanced wedding! A virtual wedding requires a good amount of work, such as:

  • Getting proper streaming equipment
  • Proper lighting where you’ll be getting married
  • Inviting all of your guests
  • Figuring out which streaming platform you want to use
  • Teaching elderly relatives how to watch your wedding
  • Getting a minister/officiate
  • Decorating your space 

It’s still an excellent way to continue with your scheduled marriage date during this ongoing pandemic. By going digital, you and your spouse can say your vows, trade rings, and kiss to seal the deal while all your friends and family watch. And then you can pull in the camera to show off your women’s and men’s wedding bands to everyone in attendance. 

Best of all, you can still party once the ceremony is done. People have been throwing parties on Zoom through all of 2020. Keep the fun alive post-ceremony by getting everyone in attendance to hang out on Zoom, dancing in their own home, and celebrating your marriage. It will be a great way to remember the day before you can fully celebrate together in person.