Distance Makes the Heart Grow Fonder
Socially distant wedding and reception options to help curb COVID-29 Delta variant
On July 13, Louisiana state leaders shared new data concerning the Delta variant of the coronavirus. The Delta variant is on the rise throughout the state of Louisiana – with a 175% increase in cases over the last two weeks – and top officials are concerned.
No one wants to see a shutdown again, or the cancellation of wedding events (or events in general) around the city.
The return of mask mandates seems inevitable, and, though it seems small, a few simple changes in wedding reception setups could help stop the spread of COVID-19, as well as various other illnesses and viruses.
Over the past year, New Orleans Bride magazine has produced many articles about socially distant sipping and noshing. Here are some of our favorite tips and suggestions:
When it comes to drinks, Bride offers a few suggestions.
In “Socially Distant Sipping” in the Summer 2020 issue, James Filtz, director of meetings and special events at The Ritz-Carlton, New Orleans, suggested an “entry presentation of chilled beverages to the tune of batched cocktails like whiskey sours in sealable glass bottles or a variety of canned wine and hard seltzers.”
In “Seated Sip Pairings” in the current Winter 2021 issue, Braithe Tidwell, the beverage director at Brennan’s, suggests a pairing of wine and cocktails throughout a seated reception. “It’s much better for guests to be seated and served by someone wearing a mask,” said Tidwell. “This type of service is a natural component of wine service, so it makes sense that wine and cocktail service are a better fit in the climate.”
“We announced a description of the pairing between each course, which added a personal touch and an engaging element for guests,” Tidwell continues in the article, referencing combinations like Turtle Soup with German off-dry Riesling and Gulf Fish Amandine with a White Burgundy.
When it comes to food, like a typical New Orleans event, there are a lot of options, but many are saying, “au revoir,” to the buffet.
Valerie Gernhauser, owner and principal designer of Sapphire Events, suggests tableside service in the Summer 2020 issue. Gernhauser tells writer Amy Gabriel, “she envisions guests at designated seats personally waited on by a dedicated table server who delivers concepts like individual mini charcuterie boards, flights of New Orleans staples such as turtle soup, shrimp and grits, and one-bite crab cakes, or trios of oysters done three ways.”
Additionally, James Filtz, director of meetings and special events at The Ritz-Carlton, New Orleans, told Gabriel he sees it as an opportunity for “eatertainment” and suggests including a digital menu or app. This option can help guests pick their food items, list any dietary restrictions, put detailed information of any local drink or food companies included in the reception or even put curated itineraries for the time outside of the wedding.
Our favorite suggestion is from the Winter 2021 issue. Ryan Haydel, co-owner and third generation baker at Haydel’s Bakery, suggests individual servings of mini wedding cakes or whatever sweet treat the couple is incorporating into their wedding. Haydel says the individual cakes or treats could be flavored specifically to the guest and included on the R.S.V.P. card – though in the article, he acknowledges that might be easier for a smaller group of guests.
These are, of course, just a few ways you can elevate a socially distant reception. If you got creative in your let us know how in the comm