How to Involve Friends in Your Wedding when You Have a Limited Guestlist

The last year hasn’t been easy for anyone. But for those planning to get married, Covid-19 has brought a whole new level of stress. Weddings have had to be postponed, cancelled, or have taken place with a significantly reduced guestlist. With UK restrictions beginning to be gradually lifted – allowing for up to 15 guests from April 12th, and potentially up to 30 from 17th May – after months of delays, many couples have decided to simply push ahead and get married any way they can. But this raises the question of how to involve the friends and family who can’t attend on the day.

We have a few suggestions.

Five Ways to Involve Friends in Your Wedding when They Can’t Be There

Pre-plan and pre-record

One of the biggest issues for many couples when planning a wedding in the time of Covid is working out how to involve vulnerable relatives in the day. If someone has been poorly, or a grandparent has a condition that would make attendance unwise, it can be hard. But if someone really special can’t be there, why not ask them to contribute to either the ceremony or the reception by recording a reading or speech that can be played on the day? Then, you can make time in your schedule for a quick video call, so they know just how much you value their involvement. It’s a lovely way to share the joy of the day. And if some lives nearby-ish, it might be possible to plan your route for a drive-by visit on your way to or from your venue. Get out of your car, show them your dress and bouquet. In years to come, it’ll mean as much to you as it does to them now.

Stream the ceremony

A few years ago, you needed to have a celebrity-level budget to even consider digitally streaming a live event to more than a couple of people. Now, you just need a smartphone and a Facebook or Zoom account. If you don’t want to burden one of your attending guests with the task, purchase a mini tripod that you can strategically place and get your best man to hit record. It’s not quite the same, but it can be a lovely way to get the important people who can’t attend – whether through limited numbers or because they’re overseas and not allowed to travel – involved. You could even keep it going for the first dance and speeches.

Send wedding favours

Selecting favours is one of the fun parts of arranging a wedding, but it’s easy for the costs to mount up. Especially if you’re likely to be posting them to the people you simply can’t invite to attend right now. That’s where small, personalised items, such as personalised Love Hearts can play their part. You can opt for rolls of ‘Just Married’ sweets, with a bespoke wrapper detailing your important information. You could even change the message to say, ‘we wish you’d been able to be there’ below your names and date. It’s only a simple thing, but it can make a lovely gesture. Continue the theme with personalised sweets place name settings for the guests who will be there. And if you’re looking to spend more, why not use up a little of your original reception budget and send along a small bouquet or little bottle of bubbly too? Or pop in a piece of wedding cake.

Include absent guests in your décor

Photo and message boards were both pretty standard for pre-Covid weddings. Why not adapt the idea to the current times, by pinning photos of, and messages from, absent friends amongst the flowers and in empty place settings? You could even print up large images and cut outs, so you can jokily include them in a few of your photos!

Postpone the reception

If all else fails and you feel that you really would like to wait until everyone can properly get involved, you could keep things low-key on the day and hold a party later. OK, so it won’t feel quite the same, holding a reception weeks or months after your wedding. The excitement and nervous tension of the day will be long gone. But It will still be special. And it might be doubly so, because it will be time when everyone can be together again.

If the vaccine rollout continues as planned, in a few short months, weddings – and the rest of everyday life – will hopefully be back on track. But in the meantime, there are still plenty of ways to have a wonderful wedding. Even if some of your guests have to enjoy the event from afar. 

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