Your Ceremony and Covid-19 Updates
15/07/2020 – Latest Covid 19 Ceremony Update
As Lockdown is steadily being relaxed, so are the restrictions on legal Marriages, Wedding Ceremonies, Handfasting Ceremonies, Vow Renewal Ceremonies and Baby Naming Ceremonies.
Following on from the Government’s announcement on the relaxation of lockdown rules, couples can now go ahead and have small legal marriage ceremonies within their Church or other religious building, in the Register Office or one of their licenced venues or choose to have a non-legal Celebrant led celebration ceremony in a location of their choosing. You can read the full government guidelines by clicking here.
Because of the Covid-19 lockdown, many poor couples and families had their marriage, handfastings, wedding and vow renewal ceremonies cancelled. This has now created a massive backlog of legal Church & Register Office ceremonies.
But as an industry, we are now able to make slow progress into starting to hold small ceremonies, providing we carry out strict risk assessments and follow the Government’s current advice on social distancing, large events and mass gatherings.
So what does this mean to you now as a couple looking to get married or celebrate your civil partnership, have a handfasting or vow renewal or celebrate the arrival of a new child with a baby naming ceremony?
Firstly, booking a Celebrant-led ceremony will give you a lot more flexibility and freedom in how your ceremony can go ahead. Obviously bearing in mind, you will still need to have your legal marriage ceremony, at some point in the future. You do not need a legal ceremony to have a Pagan handfasting (unless you wish to be legally married as well?) renew your vows or a baby naming ceremony.
Hopefully, I can explain as I understand it!
The “Official Bits”!
- At the moment, guidelines state, there can be no more than 30 people in attendance. That includes you, your family and friends, any children, me as your celebrant, and any photographers, entertainers suppliers etc. This rule applies whether or not the ceremony is indoors or out, in a public or private location.
- Social Distancing rules will still have to be adhered to, so either you, your venue or myself will have to carry out a full risk assessment prior to your ceremony, the health and safety of all involved are paramount. Names and contact details of all involved, guests and suppliers, will have to be taken and stored for 21 days after your event to comply with the Government’s “Track and Trace” policy.
- There will also be strict guidelines on the provision of handwashing and sanitizer facilities, the wearing of masks, seating arrangements, eating and drinking.
- During the ceremony, please bear in mind, that there may also be restrictions in the length of time a ceremony can be held for, certain unity ceremonies that allow close physical contact may either be restricted or altered so that they are carried out by members of your “bubble” instead!
The “Positive” Bits!
- Keep Calm and Carry on! During a crisis, the British are excellent at just brushing themselves down, grabbing a cup of tea and making the very best of the situation at hand! With a Celebrant led ceremony, for those of you that have had to cancel or postpone your special day this year, you can choose to celebrate and mark either your “should have been” day with your immediate family and friends! If you are planning a brand new ceremony, even better! Read on!
- Location! Location! Location! You really can have your ceremony anywhere you wish, a baby naming or commitment ceremony at home in your garden, an outdoor wedding in your “special” place, a handfasting in a forest or stone circle, or if travel restrictions allow, we can go to your favourite beach to renew your vows! You could even have a ceremony in the beer garden of your local pub! You are totally free to choose any location you wish and if you choose me to be your Celebrant, then yes! I will travel to any part of the country to perform your ceremony for you!
- It will save you money!! Elopements, Micro weddings, eco-friendly and sustainable ceremonies are very on-trend right now! Couples and families are moving away from the lavish ceremonies and choosing to opt for a more relaxed atmosphere that focusses on sharing good times, good music, good food and following their ethical approach in life, with their family and friends. As we can’t yet have food and drinks, this will save you a massive catering bill too and you can blame the virus completely! 😉
- The Great Outdoors! Why choose to have an outdoor ceremony? Well for one, it is said to be safer to socially distance (following sensible precautions of course!) outdoors, than it is to be stuck indoors in a stuffy, poorly ventilated room. We also have beautiful gardens, fields, parks and public spaces, great beaches, lakes, rivers, national parks, heritage sites, landmarks and some of the best scenery on the planet! What better backdrop for your ceremonies! All you need to do is contact the landowner and ask for permission and hopefully, your wish to hold a small ceremony there will be granted!
- Time waits for no man! If you are looking to reschedule or book your ceremony for a small number of people, now is the time to do it. Imagine how many ceremonies have had to be cancelled in the last five months and how many of them have already rebooked for 2021 and 2022! Believe me, it is a lot! Having to reschedule my 2020 clients has already taken some of the peak season dates for 2021 and astute couples have already pre-empted the rush and have booked their ceremony date for 2022! A lot of Celebrants (and suppliers) now have freed up space in their diary in 2020 that will be now able to accommodate small ceremonies like yours at fairly short notice.
- What if there is a second-wave? I can totally understand your concern with this, especially when we see the ridiculous news reports on mass gatherings and localised city lockdowns being put into force. This is why I offer a £100 Flexible Date Reservation fee. This gives us the ability to plan for the future, but to be cautious and prepared for all virus (and any other catastrophic events that 2020 wants to throw at us!) related restrictions.
- What is a Flexible Date Reservation? Normally, my deposit is 50% of your final quoted amount. Because of Covid 19 and all the uncertainty around it, I am only currently accepting bookings on a flexible date reservation basis only. This means that you can pay a £100 non-refundable date reservation fee to secure your proposed date and my services. No balance payment will be required until we know that the final chosen date is safe to go ahead with. There will be no extra costs incurred to you, the client, as a result of any changes made.
Any booking will only be undertaken when a booking contract is signed and approved, knowing that you are fully aware, that should there be any further restrictions, you will have to either move to other alternative dates again, subject to my availability from other bookings.
This will be at no further cost to yourself. If you decide to cancel, again, please be aware your £100 fee payment will be non-refundable.
If you are happy to do this, then, by all means, contact me to discuss your booking and together, let’s shine a little light on these dull days and make positive, tentative plans for the future!
- So how do I book? All you need to do is send me a brief message via my contact form with the date, location and type of ceremony you wish to book and I will reply as quickly as I can. I really recommend you take up my offer of a free consultation video chat so that we can get together and have an informal chat about your ceremony before committing to any booking. You kind find out all the information you need here on my ‘Prices’ page.