Updated: Oct 14
COVID-19 has affected so many of us in so many different ways. For us, in just a little over three month's time our venue has gone from complete excitement about our very busy wedding season coming up, to fear and sadness that we wouldn't survive the shut down, to pure relief and gratitude that our venue is open and that we're able to host weddings once again. Talk about a roller coaster of emotions we've had!
With that said, we know that many of you also have a wide range of emotions, uncertainties, and questions surrounding this. We want you to be able to have the most up to date information concerning our venue, so the following post will be a compiled list of all the frequently asked questions. It will include our most current guidelines and precautions that we are taking and how it will affect your special day.
We have been in close contact with the Davis County Health Department and our local State Officials to make sure that we are operating in compliance with all current regulations. We will keep this post updated as things change and if we ever get any updated information from those health and government officials.
FAQ's CONCERNING COVID-19 and OAK HILLS RECEPTION AND EVENT CENTER
What precautions are being made to make sure that both me and my guests are safe?
Friendly posters are placed throughout the facility reminding guests to practice all health & safety guidelines.
Increased cleaning and sanitation regimens will be implemented through the entire facility both during your event and after each event is over.
Hand sanitizer will be provided throughout the entire facility.
For buffet's, we have a sneeze guard in place as well as buffet attendants that will serve the food.
Social distancing markers are placed throughout the venue where any line might form.
Oak Hills staff will be wearing face coverings and gloves.
We will work with each couple at their consultation to redesign the floor plan and layout to allow for social distancing and better traffic flow.
How many guests can I invite to my wedding?
While at this time there is not a limit to the number of guests you can invite, there is a limit to the amount of people that we can have inside the buildings at the same time to ensure that social distancing can be accommodated for. With that said, we are fortunate enough to have a large venue that has the ability to host events both indoor and outdoor. We highly recommend taking advantage of our gorgeous outdoor spaces (if you aren't planning on it already) to accommodate guests more safely.
When it comes to an exact number of how many people you can invite to your wedding, we hesitate to give a number. Each event that we host is so different from the next and there are many variables that play a role in this matter. Those might include things such as: are you utilizing the outdoor spaces, is there a bar, a buffet table, a DJ, a dance floor, less than 10 sitting at each table, or anything else that might take up additional space or service areas that would affect your layout and seating arrangements? Regulations can also change concerning social gatherings, so the information that is given today, might not be applicable when your wedding arrives months from now. As with the rest of the world, we are taking this day by day and are making adjustments as we go.
With that said, we have hosted several weddings now with social distancing guidelines in place and have come up with an approximate number of people that can be inside the building and still have plenty of space. We do need to re-iterate, these numbers are only approximate, it is what we can accommodate if your wedding were today, and there are several factors that can play a role in determining a more accurate number. We are more than happy to work together to figure out what that magic number for you might be.
For a sit-down full-service dinner, we can seat approximately 110 people in our Barn and 90 people in our Main Building. We highly recommend making a seating chart for all full service dinners so that family members or people in the same household can be seated together.
For a buffet style dinner, we can accommodate approximately 90 people in our Barn and 80 in our Main Building. We highly recommend making a seating chart for all buffet style dinners.
For open house style receptions, where guests will be mingling, we can accommodate approximately 75 people in our Barn and Main Building at a time. This is not the total number of people that you can invite, this is just the number that we can have inside.
As for outdoor ceremonies, the guest count is a lot more flexible since we are working with a larger space. We will need to adjust your seating arrangements to allow for social distancing, and can do it one of two different ways:
We can place 2 chairs together then space the next 2 six feet apart, then the next 2 six feet apart, and so on, and so on. When your guests arrive, they have the option to move their chairs together if they are members of the same household.
You can send us a list or seating chart of household groupings. We would then arrange the chairs according to that list and usher your guests to their designated seats once they arrive. For example, you would tell us the "Johnson Family" has 6 people, the "Miller Family" has 2, and the "Anderson Family" has 3. We would then place 6 chairs together, space 6', place 2 chairs together, space 6', then place 3 chairs together.
As mentioned, there are many variables that play a role in how many people can be accommodated for. We will discuss these details with you at your first consultation if you haven't had one yet, or if you have already met with us and adjustments need to be made since that first consultation, we'll talk about what changes need to be made at your final consultation. If you would like to talk to us about these matters before that final consultation, email me (Aleesha). I am more than happy to go over it with you.
Update: As we are heading into cooler weather, utilizing the outdoor spaces will become more difficult. Please refer to the above information for how many guests can fit inside our buildings. For open house style receptions, if at any given time there are more than approximately 75 guests, we will politely ask guests to wait outside just a moment until others have left.
Are face coverings required?
As of 10/15/20 masks are required to be worn throughout the entire event. Please encourage your guests to bring their own masks with them. As a courtesy, Oak Hills will have disposable masks available to anyone that forgets theirs. You or your guests may briefly remove your mask for the following circumstances:
To eat or drink while seated with your household
For the bridal party/processional line during a Ceremony
For outdoor photos
For the First Dance, Daddy Daughter and/or Mother Son Dance
What are your rescheduling and cancelling policies at this time?
Our policies are the same as is written in the contract that you signed upon booking. When you made your non-refundable down payment and signed the contract, Oak Hills agreed to reserve your time slot at our venue exclusively for you (hooray!), and to turn away all other potential clients for that date. And on the other side, you agreed that we get the absolute honor of hosting your wedding for you (hooray!).
Some of you might not understand why you can't reschedule or cancel with no penalties since no one ever anticipated that the world would be dealing with a pandemic. (Who would have seen this coming, right?!!) First of all, we want you to know that we sincerely sympathize for all couples trying to plan a wedding in the year 2020. Our hearts go out to you! We're sure that you have cried a few tears over some of the adjustments and sacrifices that you've had to make. On the flip side, we too have cried some tears over adjustments, losses and sacrifices we've had to make as we continue to fight to keep our business afloat. We hope that you understand that part of keeping our business open is by holding to our contract.
What happens to my wedding if there is another shut down?
While the "what if's" can be innumerable and we don't know what the future holds, we do know that it is always good to learn from the past so that we can be prepared for the future. So to answer that question while basing it off of the last shut down we had, if a similar phenomenon were to happen, we will follow the new guidelines or mandates that are required by our government and health officials. If that meant that Oak Hills won't be allowed to host weddings for a period of time, then we would work together in finding a new wedding date that you can reschedule to once we are given the okay to open our doors again.
With all that said, as I mentioned earlier we have been in close contact with our local health and government officials and the information that we have received as of recently, is that another shut down is not likely.
Do you have any recommendations or advise that might help me while I'm planning a wedding during a pandemic?
We sure do :)
Create a wedding website (for Oak Hills clients, your Aisle Planner account has the option to do this!) or create a Facebook group that you can share with your guests. Use this to keep everyone updated on the status of your wedding and any helpful information that they might need to know. You'll be able to update them with things such as if they are required to masks or not, if the event will be spread outdoors and they need to dress appropriately, if social gatherings have tightened up even more and you need to have your guests arrive at different times throughout the night, etc.
Whittle down your guest list if at all possible. The less people to accommodate, the higher chances at success. You can do this by recommending that young children stay home or taking casual acquaintances off of the guest list. If you're not able to down size your guest list, consider staggering guests arrival times.
Consider live streaming your ceremony so that high risk guests or those that can't travel can stay home and still be a part of the wedding.
Start making seating charts. Grouping households or families together allows your guests to feel comfortable sitting close to those that they are already in close contact with. This also allows Oak Hills to better adjust your layout prior to your wedding day and takes out some of the unknowns as guests arrive.
Don't be afraid to get creative and think outside the box. During this time while COVID-19 is here to stay, we might as well accept the fact that what we once knew as "the norm" isn't so any more. We have adjusted layouts in unconventional ways to allow for social distancing. We have seen couples give out hand sanitizer and masks as party favors. We have seen different colored wrist bands given out to guests to reflect their comfort levels of social distancing. We have had couples space out their guest's arrival times. We have seen creative posters politely asking guests not to hug the bride and groom. We would love to see and hear what creative things you've come up with in efforts to roll with the new norm!
Be as flexible as possible. We want you to have your dream wedding. We really do! The best way we can assist you in achieving this is if you are flexible with your wants and needs. Of the few weddings that we have hosted with restrictions in place, they have all been a huge success and that is partly due to the flexibility of each couple and the cooperation of all the guests. We are truly grateful to our dedicated staff members, valued customers, and all of our guests for being patient, gracious and understanding as we navigate this unfamiliar territory.
If there is a question that you have and it wasn't answered in this blog post, please reach out to either the Venue Director, Aleesha or the Owner, Shirelle. We would love to answer your questions! We know that this is a time of uncertainty and we want to keep the lines of communication open so that you can have peace of mind that Oak Hills is doing everything in our power to give you the wedding that you've always dreamed of!