Love in the time of C19 - what you need to know
[Image description: a heterosexual couple hiding behind a massive red cut out heart with text on it reading 'love wins!!!']
Let's get straight into it. What does COVID-19 mean for your wedding?
Well the brilliant news is you can still have a wonderful personalised wedding ceremony.
I am not a legal authority on the rules and regulations but have provided a few basic points below to help guide you:
In Northern Ireland the guidelines have changed a few times with regards to maximum numbers for indoor and outdoor settings. It's hard to keep up and I'm conscious of not having out of date information on my site so the first port of call is to double check with your venue as your numbers and allowances will be dependant on what your venue decides based on their risk assessment. Have a chat with your point of contact and start a conversation with them about what your options are.
If you are thinking about your ceremony at your own home or garden, you'll no longer need to apply for a temporary license through your council because it's me that's licensed. You will however need a risk assessment that covers both the event space and the C-19 restrictions of the time. I can help you with a template if you need one.
The good news again is, because it's me that is licensed you can get legally married outdoors or in an unlicensed venue. There are a few exceptions just to make you aware. No places of worship (because that would be hypocritical and strange) and also there are certain registry offices reserved for registrars use only but, these are a very few restrictions and you have great choice in NI of cool buildings and outdoor spots to suit all tastes so get creative with your approach. Just note that if you want a beach wedding or in an outdoor location that falls under the council's remit you will need to apply to do this and should leave 12 weeks for application.
Measuring the risk
So you've got your venue booked and you've booked me as your celebrant - fantastic!
Understandably you have some questions about safety and how it's all going to work. As part of our in depth chat I'll discuss directly with you in line with the allowances from your venue about all the steps we can take to measure any perceived and potential risk. Your venue will have performed a risk assessment and so I'll check in with them to make sure that the ceremony follows their guidelines and requirements. In addition to that I'll risk asses your ceremony to make sure that I've considered elements within it to minimise those risks. For example:
I'll have individual pens ready for signing the register (all sanitised beforehand)
Items will not be passed around the group to minimise the chance of any transference
I'll be beside you for more of the ceremony than in the centre to make sure that I'm speaking beside you where possible.
Where we are all becoming more used to social distancing and changed habits I'll make sure to incorporate all of these things sensitively into your ceremony so that you don't even notice them.
I'll check in with you regularly before the ceremony to ensure that I let you know that I have no symptoms and that I haven't been in contact with anyone with symptoms.
All these steps are to re-assure and to let you know that I take everyones health and well being seriously. They will NOT however define your ceremony. Your wedding ceremony will be an incredible and happy experience.
So it will still feel special?
The brilliant thing about humanist ceremonies (well, one of the many brilliant things) is that they allow for a huge amount of flexibility and creativity. By creating a ceremony with these needs in mind I'll make sure that any of these needs are seamlessly built in. No one wants a big flashing sign about COVID in their wedding or for it to be the elephant in the room.
With my background in creating for theatre I thrive off of making different needs a success and I'll put all my skills and energy into doing that for you. So when you look back on your wedding ceremony you just remember how brilliant it was, not that you felt you had to make any compromises that you weren't happy with.
So, what are you waiting for? Get in touch :)