Having had an understandable flurry of rescheduled destination weddings because couples and guests could not travel to their ceremony, Spain is now open and weddings are back on the cards. The Spanish wedding community is gearing up for a busy late summer of socially distanced weddings, vow renewals and elopements within social distancing regional regulations.
What is a wedding in Spain like right now?
So the Spanish borders are open and destination wedding couples are planning their ceremonies, but what are regulations in Spain regarding social distanced weddings? The answer depends on which region you are holding your marriage celebrations in. Generally, outside locations are open 100% in Spain and inside venues are at 75% capacity but rules continue to change.
So how can you make a socially distanced wedding beautiful?
It is not a matter of what you can get away with, it’s a matter of making sure your guests are comfortable and have the best possible wedding experience. There are plenty of ways to have a beautiful socially distanced wedding whilst keeping your guests safe and staying within Spain’s COVID-19 regulations. You will have your special day in the Spanish sunshine with stunning photos to look back on and remind you of one of the most memorable days of your lives.
What are the facts for socially distanced weddings in Spain?
So let’s start with the facts as they stand today 15 July 2020 Spain is a very big country made up of 17 regions (a bit like England, Scotland, Ireland and Wales) and fifty provinces (a bit like counties). At the height of the Coronavirus pandemic, during the State of Alarm, the Spanish government took control of all regions and implemented a strict nationwide lockdown. Now Spain is out of de-escalation, the regions have regained autonomy to make their own regulations, so you may find variations in what you can and cannot do.
Day to day life is actually very pleasant within social distancing restrictions, shops are well stocked and in general you will find
- Outside locations in Spain are open100% and inside venues venues are open up to 75% capacity
- Maximum numbers for gatherings vary from 150 to 500 depending on the region
- The wearing of masks is compulsory on public transport and where social distancing cannot be maintained – though some regions like Andalucia, make masks obligatory at all times i.e. even when you can keep a distance of 1.5 metres.
- You do not have to wear a mask when you are stationary on the beach, when you are eating or drinking and when you are exercising.
- You cannot dance in public, but you can sing!
How to have a safe wedding ceremony
As a full time wedding celebrant here in Spain, here are some protocols I follow for a safe wedding ceremony within social distancing regulations
- Ceremony seating in family groups or social clusters of up to 20 people – alternatively, a wide semi circle with VIPs (Vulnerable Important People) to the side, works really well.
- Separate mics for the couple and the celebrant
- Individual pens for the couple and the witnesses when signing any commemorative certificate or register
- Ask family members within your household or bubble to assist with rituals such as Handfasting or swap a Handfasting for a Red Thread ceremony that the couple ties themselves to symbolise the invisible thread that connect their hearts.
- Singing is permitted in Spain and I for one love a good sing song at a wedding, so let’s get some socially distanced audience participation going!
- Provide masks for those who feel more comfortable wearing them – keep in mind that some venues may require guests to wear masks in accordance with regional regulations.
- Combine your ceremony and socially distanced wedding breakfast to avoid wearing masks
Organise your seating informally like an outside restaurant with a maximum of 20 people at each table and social spacing between tables. If guests are technically eating and drinking during the ceremony then they are not obligated to wear masks – though remember what I said at the beginning about this not being about what you can get away with, rather what makes your guests comfortable. In effect, you are having your ceremony and the start of your wedding breakfast at the same time – just avoid waiting staff serving when the ceremony itself starts.
Social distanced wedding inspiration
Just think of each element of your wedding in turn and with common sense you can get creative and rise to the challenge within social distancing regulations here in Spain.
Catering tips for your 2020 wedding
- Cut your cake immediately after your ceremony so that vulnerable guests can leave early with a plated meal from your caterers to enjoy somewhere quietly and still feel part of the main events.
- Seating plans can be organised to keep family and social groups together rather than mixing people up on tables.
- Avoid communal plates with buffets and shared tapas – your caterer can offer individually plated canapes or staff food stations to serve your guests instead.
- A reduced guest list may mean you can upgrade your menu!
Photo tips for your 2020 wedding
- Live stream the video of your wedding ceremony to an extended guest list who cannot attend in person – this great idea means you don’t have to pay for any extra guests and means you have an additional recording of your ceremony like an altar cam!
- Organise photos taken within family groups or social bubbles – perhaps guests could wear something to easily identify them as a cluster such as a different lapel pin or coloured friendship bracelet for each table.
- Rather than have a big photo of you all together, ask guests to send you a photo of them that you can make into a wedding collage – that way you can include guests who cannot attend in person.
Entertainment tips for your 2020 wedding
- Singing is permitted in Spain!
- Ask your DJ to get create and organise chair dancing music! Think of all the hand jives and arm movement songs you can play to get everyone to join in whilst sitting down – the oldies in your party will love it!
- Create a Mr and Mrs Quiz for guests to answer questions about you from your childhood, the scrapes you got into in your teens and workplace, your likes and dislikes – it is a great way for guests from both families to get to know you better as a couple.
- Make sure any wedding stations are staffed rather than do-it-yourself – the exception is your hand wash station of course!
The ultimate socially distanced elopement
The ultimate socially distanced wedding ceremony is an elopement on your own private yacht! Whether you want a small wedding party or just the two of you and your celebrant, you might consider a ceremony in a Mediterranean marina on a luxury catamaran or vintage fishing boat before you sail off on a romantic cruise as the sun sets making the most romantic photos ever!
You cannot lock down love and all of your family and friends will be so full of warm wishes for you both and sooooooo very ready to celebrate you making your vows to each other on your special wedding day in Spain that it is likely to be one of the most beautiful and memorable days ever – Covid or no Covid.
Psssssst! By the way, all wedding photos were taken within Spanish social distancing regulations!
Author: Debbie Skyrme is a full time wedding celebrant officiating bilingual wedding, elopement and vow renewal ceremonies in the Spanish sunshine.
Photographer of photos in this blog: @tonibonet_wedding