Weddings during the time of COVID-19 can be really stressful. New South Wales is currently in Glad-Wrap (aka lock down) and, if you’re anything like us, you’re waiting for that 11am announcement, hoping against hope, that those numbers start heading southward.
As we write this post, New South Wales has just gone into a state-wide lock down and the only weddings that can go ahead are the ones which were scheduled for Saturday 14 August and Sunday 15 August in the regional areas. Many weddings have already been postponed and we suspect many more will be too. Couples and wedding vendors alike have been required to be incredibly flexible and resilient. (Well done, all of you, and all of us, for that matter!)
We have no firm idea of when weddings will be allowed again. The general consensus is that, when weddings are back again and note, this is only a guess, they will follow a similar trajectory to last year. Initially, with only five people (the couple, the celebrant and two witnesses), as five is the minimum number of people required for a wedding ceremony in Australia.
The number then increased to ten, along with a minimum number of vendors who were required for the ceremony. Eventually, guest numbers increased, but reception venues had to be able to accommodate guests based on a four-square-meter rule depending on whether the event was taking place indoors or out.
There was a lot of room on the dance floor with dancing banned except for the wedding couple, and it wasn’t until late September 2020 that 20 people were allowed back on the dance floor, strictly comprised of the wedding party and the couple’s parents.
Tom & Emily opted to use the beautiful garden at Milton Park Country House at Bowral as their dance floor.
MCs became more creative, running games to keep guests entertained. We were all trying to do our bit to make the occasion as memorable as possible, and with great success. Wedding performers like Danni & Steph also had to maintain a three-metre distance from guests and everyone attending the reception had to remain in their seats while eating or drinking.
Now, while it isn’t going to remove the disappointment, some forward-planning might just take the sting out of having to compromise. We suggest that you sit down, just you and your partner, and talk about what is REALLY important to you. For example, is just getting married your priority, or do you want the whole shebang (there’s a word we don’t use very often)? Is dancing during your reception a priority, or would you be satisfied for just you and your wedding party to dance while your guests enjoy the show (and each other’s company, of course)?
It is also vitally important that you discuss your ‘deal-breakers’ with your vendors. Just know that we’re all in the same boat: for you, it’s your wedding day; for us, it’s our livelihoods. And remember: you catch more flies with honey than with vinegar.
We have no doubt that your wedding vendors will do everything within their power to make sure your wedding dreams become a reality, however you imagine or re-imagine them. No-one but you can answer these questions, and there is certainly no judgment, as what is important to one couple will be different to another.
One thing we can do right now is learn from others who have gone through the same thing last year, so here are a few our couples who, in 2020, had to ask themselves these very same questions. Here is how it turned out for them.
Tara & Michael | April 2020
“Tara and Michael were only 14 days out from their big day, in April 2020, when they made the big decision to pull the pin on the big wedding they had organised at Gledswood Homestead and Winery.
For them, getting married was the most important thing and, with weddings allowed under the five-person rule, we could certainly make that happen.
Michael and Tara said: “We had an honest conversation and realised we were both on the same page. We were disappointed that our guests couldn’t attend but we just wanted to be married! We also wanted to start trying for a baby and the idea of trying to reschedule a wedding around a pregnancy wasn’t very appealing to either of us.”
So, on their original wedding date, 5 April 2020, Tara and Michael walked down the hill from Michael’s father’s home at Grasmere to the back of his beautiful property and tied the knot. Their ceremony was witnessed in person by Michael’s parents.
The rest of their family and friends watched and cheered them on via the live stream. Some of their guests dressed in their wedding outfits and toasted the happy couple with glasses of sparkling, whilst others, due to the time difference, donned their finest pjs to join in and support Tara and Michael.
Tara and Michael say, ‘We have no regrets…if we were to plan a wedding again, we would choose a small, intimate ceremony because it felt so personal’.
They have been happily married ever since and they also welcomed their beautiful baby girl, which was very exciting.
Ryan & Makaela | May 2020
Ryan and Makaela were another couple who decided to get married under the five-person rule in May 2020 and also booked in an other date to celebrate their marriage a year later as well. They were married during an intimate wedding ceremony in May 2020 at Gledswood Homestead & Winery with Makaela’s sister and their photographer as their witnesses.
They live-streamed their ceremony so their parents could be a part of their very special moment. What Ryan and Makaela didn’t know was that their parents were watching the live-stream on their phones in their cars in the Gledswood car park. They were so surprised when they heard the horns honking loudly as they became husband and wife.
They had each other, they the support of the family and they felt this immense love; it was a very special moment. Their wedding day was better than they ever imagined and much more than they could have asked for.
They are so happy that they went ahead and got married; they have since moved into their new home and have started their family.
Fast forward one year and Ryan and Makaela were celebrating their first anniversary by renewing their marriage vows as they had initially intended for on their wedding day in front of their family and friends at Gledswood Homestead & Winery. Makaela wore her beautiful wedding gown and veil as her dad walked her down the aisle, something she had always dreamt doing.
Their ceremony took place in the Music Room, utilizing their plan B as it was a very wet day. This time their parents and their baby boy watched from the front rows. It was a wonderful day and it felt exactly as a wedding day celebration should.
Michael & Peey Sei | May 2020
When Michael and Peey Sei told Rita that they were changing their plans for their very big Southern Highlands wedding due to COVID-19 because being married was MOST IMPORTANT to them, Rita made it her mission to ensure that their ceremony would be full of love and fun and that they would experience all the loved-up feels that every couple should feel on their wedding day.
They planned everything via Skype and, when Rita suggested that instead of walking back down the aisle when their ceremony finished and that they could dance their ‘first dance’ instead, their smiles said it all and she knew, there and then, that it was going to be fun.
Their wedding ceremony took place on 11 April 2020 under the five-person rule at Little Bay. Rita had written their wedding ceremony which included their wonderful love story and she particularly wanted them to enjoy their moment while their family friends from all around the world watched via live video stream. This is what Michael and Peey Sei had to say afterwards:
‘We had it all planned, and then COVID hit and our plans went out the window. International and then interstate travel, closed. Reception venue: closed. But we still wanted to get married – that was important to us. And, in the end, we found all you really need is a celebrant (and two witnesses). Rita was there for us.
We arranged and planned it out over Skype, and without much of a rehearsal, Rita was able to guide us through the ceremony without any hiccups. She was eloquent and moving, evoking joyful tears from our witnesses from the get-go, and her excellent sound equipment (for the guests joining us via livestream) made it a very professional production.
We cannot recommend her enough. We hope all your wedding turns out exactly as you plan, but if there are last minute changes (major or minor), you’ll want to have a great celebrant there to make it all OK.” Michael & Peey Sei xx’
Wedding Plan B
Part of being a great celebrant is having our own Plan B: a backup celebrant if we become ill and not able to make it to your wedding ceremony. This Plan B would also be actioned if any of us became a contact of someone who tested positive to the Delta strain of the Corona Virus.
Celebrants need to have a contingency plan to ensure their couple gets married and, if we need to pass the baton to another celebrant, that is what we will do… legally of course… and to a professional celebrant who will be able to take care of everything seamlessly.
Thankfully, the celebrants at Celebrant Connect Australia are all part of the CCA Emergency Backup Program, so there will always be professional celebrants ready and waiting to assist if they are needed.
If you’re a couple trying to organise your wedding at this time, please know that you are not alone. Your wedding vendors have been through this before and by reaching out to them, they will be able to assist and guide through this difficult time. If you are postponing your wedding, include your vendors in the conversation before locking in a new date as this will give you the best chance to have your A team by your side when your day arrives.
The best advice you can receive right now is to be patient and don’t panic’ as this will save you a lot of stress and heartache. Your day will come and it will be amazing!
Copyright | Celebrant Connect Australia 2021