How to Have Your Dream Wedding During Mask Mandates | Victoria Rayburn Photography
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A few months ago, weddings were being postponed due to coronavirus lockdowns. While many states—including Indiana—are now allowing weddings to resume with a capped number of guests, brides and grooms getting married in the latter part of 2020 are facing another obstacle that they likely didn’t see coming—mask mandates. 

If you’re a couple planning a 2020 wedding, my heart goes out to you. While you can certainly postpone your big day, chances are that after this crazy year, you simply want to be married and to celebrate with the people you love most. (That doesn’t seem like too much to ask for, right?!)

If that’s the case and you want to keep your wedding date as scheduled, I have good news for you! You can STILL have your dream wedding during mask mandates with these four simple steps! 


1. Invest in color-coordinating masks. 

First of all, who says that masks can’t be an accessory?! 

At this point, there are TONS of beautiful masks out there, and you can absolutely find masks that coordinate with your and your bridal party’s attire. (I’d also recommend mask hunting at least for your immediate family, too!)

Etsy and other online retailers have tons of great options, but if you or your bridesmaids have any leftover material from your dresses (There might be scraps from alterations.) or if you contact your dress designer or boutique to get matching material, a seamstress could likely make gorgeous masks that coordinate perfectly! (To be effective, you’ll want to make sure these masks follow CDC guidelines.)

If you want to go a step further and make your wedding day even more uniform, you could also purchase color-coordinating masks as favors for all of your guests. This way, everyone will coordinate well throughout the day, AND you can gift your loved ones with something that will keep them safe. Has there ever been a more thoughtful wedding favor?!


2. Move your ceremony outdoors. 

Outdoor wedding ceremony during mask mandates

While you’ll likely want to keep your reception venue—especially if there’s AC—and you and your guests can dance all night long with masks on, you might consider moving your ceremony outdoors.

In Indiana, if households can be socially distanced outdoors, masks don’t need to be worn. As a result, you’ll be able to see your loved ones’ reactions both during your ceremony and in your photos later on. 

Your ceremony is the most important part of your wedding day, and if you can move this portion of your wedding outdoors, you won’t regret it! I’d encourage you to talk to your venue to see what’s possible. 


3. Take socially distanced family & bridal party photos outdoors. 

Socially distanced bridal party photo during mask mandates

Every state is operating a little bit differently, and some regulations will vary from county to county and even venue to venue, so you’ll want to check with your state and local authorities. But, right now, in Indiana, masks are required in “indoor place[s] open to the public” and in “outdoor public space[s] wherever it is not feasible to maintain six feet of social distancing from another person not in the same household.” (You can see Indiana’s full executive order regarding masks here.)

In other words, unless you live with someone, you cannot be less than six feet away from them in a public place without a mask—even outdoors.

Since you either currently live or will live with your new spouse (Yay!) as of your wedding day, social distancing won’t affect photos of just the two of you (assuming you take your photos outside and your wedding photographer wears a mask and/or stays six or more feet away). So, you’ll still have the couple portraits you’ve always dreamed of!

However, with social distancing requirements, you’ll likely need to rethink family and bridal party photos.


Family Photos 

While you can take masked family photos inside, I’d recommend taking family portraits outside so that you can see your loved ones’ smiley faces! (As a heads-up, you will need shade and possibly a lot of space depending on the size of your family and to make these photos great.)

While you can legally take traditional family photos (photos where you’re close together and your shoulders are brushing) with any family members whom you live with, social distancing will need to be practiced with any family members you do not live with. (e.g. If you live with your parents, you can take a photo with your parents where you’re touching them.)

For family photos with your loved ones you don’t live with, I recommend doing one of the following:

  • Socially distancing in your photos. Basically, there would need to be six feet between each household. So, if you wanted to take a photo with your grandparents, you and your new spouse could pose together, and Grandma and Grandpa could do the same six feet away. (Please note that with large families, this might be difficult or even impossible. For example, if your parents and siblings live in five separate households, you would need 24 feet for just social distancing plus more space to make sure nobody gets cropped off in an immediate family photo. Depending on your venue, a photo like this may be a physical impossibility.)
  • Taking photos of each individual household. If you don’t feel that you’ll love socially distanced family photos, taking a photo of each household on their own is another great option. In other words, a photo of just your parents, just your in-laws, just your grandparents, etc. would be taken. This option will give you beautifully framed photos, allow you to have an image of every loved one who was able to attend your big day, and even allow you and your husband/wife to have a little break since you wouldn’t be included in these photos!

This may not be how you envisioned family photos being taken on your wedding day, but you will still walk away with photos of your loved ones. And, that’s what matters!


Bridal Party Photos

Chances are, you don’t live with every member of your bridal party. So, you’ll also need to think about how you want to handle bridal party photos. 

To thoroughly document the best day ever and the friends who shared it with you, I recommend taking photos in two ways outdoors:

  • Socially distanced without masks. So you can see your friend’s lovely faces, take some photos where you and your spouse are together but your bridal party is all six feet apart. Depending on the size of your bridal party and the amount of space you have, your photographer can take photos either with you all in a straight line or staggered (think Vanity Fair!) while keeping everyone socially distanced.
  • Wearing your coordinated masks. Since you’re all going to look lovely in your masks anyway and because you’ll definitely want closeup shots, take photos where you and your bridal party are closer together and masked up.

Again, this may not be how you envisioned your photos, but you’ll still have photos of your BFFs, AND they’ll be original since your wedding photographer will need to get a little creative!


Can’t these photos just be Photoshopped together?

Now, you might be wondering, “Can’t my photographer just Photoshop family and bridal party photos together?” 

Long story short, probably not. People often confuse professional photographers and professional photo editors. 

While your wedding photographer’s contract likely states that he/she will make basic edits to photos (adjust lighting, remove blemishes, etc.), a wedding photographer specializes in photography—not extensive photo editing or composites (photos put together). 

Professional photo editors, on the other hand, often aren’t photographers because they spend 40+ hours per week drastically editing photos. With their experience, they’re qualified to Photoshop such images together. 

However, because this is a very specific skill set, photo editors are costly. Most charge anywhere between $100 and $400 per hour. (If your photographer can line such a service up, this would be an additional cost to you.) And, even with Photoshop magic, unless every group is shot in the same exact location with the same exact light, Photoshopped family and bridal party photos will likely never look 100% perfect or real. (This can be a very difficult task to accomplish on a wedding day since your photographer can’t control the sun or how clouds move.)

I’m by no means trying to crush your hopes and dreams, but in case you’re wondering about Photoshop, you’ll want to keep these things in mind!


4. Soak up your wedding day knowing that getting married during a global pandemic will someday make a great story! 

Bride and groom portraits during wedding with mask mandates

Mask or no mask, pandemic or no pandemic, at the end of your wedding day, you and your husband or wife will be just as married. And, while planning a wedding in 2020 is certainly no easy task, marrying the love of your life is what matters most and what should be at the forefront of your mind. 

So, rather than stressing and getting caught up in logistics and fear, embrace your wedding day, enjoy your first day of marriage, relax knowing that you’re following government regulations and striving to keep your loved ones healthy, and remember that having a wedding in the midst of COVID-19 will someday make an incredible story! 

Basically, friend, you can still have an incredible wedding in the midst of mask mandates. 

Please note that this blog post is based off of Indiana’s mask mandate that was put into effect on Monday, July 27, 2020. The executive order can be found here. This blog post is not to be taken as medical or legal advice, and Victoria Rayburn Photography is not liable for the actions that any reader decides to take as a result of this blog post. It is the reader’s responsibility to ensure he/she is abiding by government regulations.


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