Can I get married during Coronavirus (COVID-19)?

If you are wondering how the Coronavirus pandemic will impact your weddings plans, you are not alone. With our everyday lives turned on their heads, many Australian couples have been left wondering if they can still get married during the Coronavirus pandemic.

The simple answer to this question is 'yes', but there are a lot of things you should consider. Read on to find out about the restrictions related to weddings and how COVID-19 may affect your marriage plans in 2020 and beyond.

 

Please note: all information is correct as of 1st July 2020, but due to frequent changes in regulations, it is recommended that you check government information and speak to Laura before finalising arrangements for your wedding.

Can I get married during the Coronavirus pandemic?

Yes, you most certainly can get married during COVID-19, but government restrictions and health orders currently apply. You may need to adjust how and where the marriage takes place.

 
How many guests am I allowed at my wedding?

From 1 July, the number of people allowed inside indoor venues will be determined by the one person per 4 square metre rule, with an upper limit of 150 people. 

You are currently required to keep a list of names and contact details for all people attending the wedding. This list must be provided to your celebrant before the wedding day.

How will COVID-19 affect my wedding plans?

The Australian government advises that "public gatherings and social occasions significantly increase the risk of COVID-19 spreading." It is recommended that when we are around other people, it is important we practice physical distancing – also called social distancing –  and good hygiene. It is a government recommendation that people should consider downloading the COVIDSafe app.

Consider how you will encourage people to maintain recommended distancing measures (1.5) during celebrations. This is likely to affect seating, group photographs and congratulatory hugs (to name just a few).

The NSW government requires marrying couples to keep a list of the names and contact details for all people attending the wedding (this includes guests and suppliers). You must share this list with Laura (and your venue) prior to the  marriage taking place.

It is recommended that people with a higher risk of infection (e.g. those with comorbidities), or anyone who is ill (even those with mild symptoms) do not attend your wedding and get tested for Coronavirus. You do not want to receive a potentially deadly virus as a wedding gift or risk making your loved-ones ill.

If you are getting married at an indoor venue, please discuss distancing requirements including the 4m square rule and ask about the details of their COVID Safe plan. Guests must remain seated at all times - currently a dance floor and dancing is not allowed (other than the wedding couple). Some couples are choosing alternative forms of entertainment to replace dancing... this may include a comedian or roving magician to entertain guests, a quiz to bring our people's competitive side or a slide show to accompany speeches.

 
What steps can I take to make my wedding safer?
  • Contact guests prior to the wedding and ask that they don’t attend if they feeling even slightly well.

  • If a guest arrives at the wedding with flu-like symptoms, politely request that they return home.

  • If you have guests who are at high-risk of developing COVID-19, consider discussing the option of them attending the ceremony only, which is lower risk than the reception.

  • Allow as much space for guests as possible and spread out seating.

  • Provide ample sanitiser, soap and hand towels. Ensure signage reminds guests to wash hands.

  • Request non-contact gifts such as online registries or electronic funds transfer (rather than physical gifts, cards or wishing wells).

  • Have allocated seating at both the ceremony and reception. Seat guests from the same household next to each other.

  • Have a pre-ceremony photo shoot to reduce the amount of time between ceremony and reception.

  • Avoid shared food or drink options. Have name tags to identify which glass belongs to which guest.

  • Consider ways to encourage responsible consumption of alcohol e.g. limiting bar tabs or drink packages and ways to minimise dancing and singing e.g. other forms of entertainment.

  • During speeches remind guests that you want them to remain safe and well and not to take unnecessary risks.

  • Avoid guest books, photo booths or traditions such as throwing the bouquet which require people to touch shared items or gather in close contact.

  • Keep a record of all guests and suppliers in attendance (including a mobile number or email address) so that they can quickly and easily be traced in the event of an outbreak.

How can I share my wedding with absent family and friends?

Current travel restrictions mean that some family and friends may not be able to attend your wedding. While they won't be there to share with you in person, filming or 'live-streaming' your your marriage ceremony is one way of sharing the love. Simply bring a camera or recording device and get connected. If you want a professional-quality recording you may consider having a photographer or videographer to act as one of your legal witnesses.

 
What happens if you (our celebrant) are unwell?

If your celebrant gets sick there’s a process for transferring the ceremony script and legal documents prepared. Laura has a network of like-minded celebrants that she can call-on to assist in times like these. Or, if you would prefer to find your own replacement celebrant, Laura will refund your balance payment. The booking payment is retained to cover legal paperwork, meeting(s) and work already completed.

What happens if we (or one of our guests) feel unwell?

If you or your partner is unwell or are required to isolate then we will need to postpone and make alternative arrangements.

 

If one of your witnesses becomes unwell (and you have not had direct contact with them in the weeks prior), you can select new witnesses and proceed as planned. Please let Laura know the full legal names and contact numbers for your replacement witnesses.

Prior to the wedding please ask all guests to exclude themselves if they are unwell. Even mild symptoms can place people at risk.

Can I postpone my wedding because of COVID-19?

Yes. Your legal paperwork is valid for up to 18-months from the date of first signing and can easily be transferred to another date. Any preparatory work already completed can also be deferred. Rescheduling may incur a fee. Please coordinate with your celebrant, venue and other suppliers to find a date that works to ensure your dream wedding will still go ahead.

 
Why are weddings linked to the spread Coronavirus?

Weddings are a time of closeness and celebration. Hugs, kisses, dancing and group photos all involve close contact amongst large groups of people. Large gatherings involving people from a wide geographical area means you have an increased chance of exposure to Coronavirus. It also provides a chance for this potentially deadly virus to be spread far and wide in the days after the wedding.

Please note: all information is correct as of 1 July, but due to frequent changes in Government regulations, it is recommended that you speak to Laura before finalising arrangements for your wedding.

 
 
 
 
 
 
 
 
 

© 2020 Laura Craddock, Modern Sydney Celebrant