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Butt-bumps and gift baskets, 6 ways friends and family can keep their distance while showering a newly-wed couple with love

Published Monday, Aug. 17th, 2020

Cute illustration of a take out container filled with noodles, chopsticks, and a fortune cookie. The take out box says 'Just Married' on the side, with a pink heart drawn on it.
Illustration by Jessica Levey

Celebrate a new marriage with these six 'Covid-safe' wedding tips for friends and family 



Someone you love is getting married, but a pandemic and rapidly changing public safety guidelines in your area mean you probably won’t be there in-person to see them tie the knot and dance the night away. (At least, not until that post-pandemic anniversary/vow-renewal party they’re already planning for when things calm down.) 


So how do you show you care? How do you spoil the happy couple on their big day? 


We talked to a few recent brides and grooms to see the ways their creative friends and family rose to the unique occasion to offer a few tips. 



Six ways to celebrate a loved one's wedding in a 'Covid-safe' way


1. Be accommodating


This goes at the top of the list for obvious reasons. Weddings in any era have a way of being stressful, especially when things don’t go according to plan. It can shift a hectic day into a breezy and blissful one when friends and family go with the flow and pitch in. 


If you’re upset that you aren’t able to attend your friend or family member’s wedding, or feel like you’ve been left out of a downsized ceremony, now’s a good time to take a deep breath, step back, and remember these are unprecedented times. The risk of illness to loved ones at an in-person gathering can weigh heavily on couples’ minds. 


So take a deep breath and tell your sister or son or cousin or great-nephew that you love them and their partner, and that while you wish you could be there, you support their decisions. 



2. Send a gift basket


Think gift baskets are passe? Nope. In the days of mandatory take-out and groceries delivered on your doorstep, gift baskets are back. 
Danielle, a bride we spoke to in the Cleveland area, was surprised by her best friend with a giant arrangement of cheeses, individually wrapped sweet treats, and bottles of champagne on the way to the outdoor patio where she held her tiny ten-minute ceremony. All wrapped up with a big ol’ bow, her best friend set the basket down, stepped back, and waved from afar (complete with happy tears of course). She couldn’t be at the ceremony, but she was still part of the big day! 


Gift baskets aren’t just for delicious treats anymore, either. You have plenty of options for getting creative. 



3. Say yes to officiating!


We can’t keep this off the list. We know beyond a doubt that nothing personalizes a wedding nearly as much, or shows a couple just how much they mean to you, like agreeing to officiate their wedding. 


Public health guidelines have changed a lot over the last few months, causing large ceremonies to be postponed, canceled, or shrunk down to fewer guests. Now more than ever, having an officiate who means something special is a priority!  


So if you can say yes safely, say yes! We’ll help you figure out the details. We have kits for doing just that (see what you need for your state here). With the details squared away you can focus on showing your friends you love them by coming up with sweet (or hilarious, or poignant, or… well, personalized) things to say.  



A bride and groom pose for photo on the wedding day, kissing in their decorative cloth masks



4. Offer to host a responsible, socially-distanced bachelorette or bachelor party


Many of the folks we talked to had already been planning their wedding for months when the world suddenly went topsy-turvy. Still, lots of couples are deciding to stick to their original date and adapt rather than postpone. It’s understandable then that there are many time-sensitive details and re-arrangements to figure out before the big day. 


If your friend or family member is scrambling to sort out deposits with venues and vendors and sending tentative texts to family members telling them not to travel, pitch in and offer to salvage their bachelorette or bachelor party! 


There are many fun ways to host a party even from miles away (Zoom dance party with kitchen-cocktails and everyone selecting their favorite songs, anyone?), and lots of unconventional activities to feel connected across distances.



5. Pay in advance for restaurant take-out


To avoid the risks that accompany communal food during gatherings right now, many couples are choosing to leave food out of the equation altogether, or to order individually wrapped meals from restaurants for their small wedding groups. When there are only four or five people, why make a fuss? 


If you know where your friends will be ordering their take-out meals, call ahead and make payment arrangements. Even if you can’t be there to join in a post-nuptials meal, nothing says love like picking up the dinner check super-stealth style.



6. Butt-bumps, air kisses, and “hugs from the heart”!


Respect the bubble. If you’re lucky enough to be one of the few attendees at a tiny “minimony” ceremony, follow public safety guidelines to show you care. 


We’ve heard adorable stories of air kisses from parents, butt-bumps exchanged between siblings (while keeping their decorative cloth masks on of course), and holding arms outstretched from a safe distance to mime “hugs from the heart.”




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Jessica Levey
Jessica Levey

Lead Staff Writer & Illustrator

Jessica loves exploring the history and magic of ritual, the connections between people and places, and sharing true stories about love and commitment. She's an advocate for marriage equality, LGBTQ+ rights, and individuality, and is an ordained Minister with AMM. When she’s not writing or illustrating for AMM, she enjoys city hikes, fantasy novels, comics, and traveling.

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