With the necessary restrictions we are all living with I feel particularly sad for new parents. The birth of a new baby is usually a time when family and friends gather to give thanks for the baby's safe arrival.
Technology can be a boon at such times and you can share photos and videos but it is never quite the same as having a hug.
Given time this period will pass and we will once again have the opportunity to gather and welcome new members of the family and introduce them to the circle of support which surrounds them.
My congratulations to all new parents.
Candles have long been the symbol of light and hope and there is a tradition of using them in ceremonies of all kinds.
Below is an extract from a ceremony in which a candle was jointly lit by all the people who would form the circle of support for the child.
"This is a symbol of the light and warmth which has been bought into all of your lives through the birth of this child.
As this candle burns brightly, so we hope that this child's pathway in life will have a bright future. May they know the warmth of the love that surrounds them."
With the announcement from the Church of England about limiting the number of attendees at a Marriage service to the couple, two witnesses and the priest, couples who were planning to marry in Church will now have to make the decision whether they marry as planned or postpone.
I anticipate that the Registration Service will also announce the same measures. It is probable that Marriages will only take place at Registration Offices with the number of attendees limited to the couple and two witnesses.
My first piece of advice is do not panic. As with all things there is a range of options and below I have listed my thoughts at this time, although this may change over the coming months. My hope is that these can be used as starting points for discussion however these should not be considered the only response to this situation
The first decision needs to be whether you continue with the Marriage service and become legally married.
For some people this is a given, for others it is not so clear cut. Whether your service is held in Church or at the Registry Office you are undertaking a legal process which results in you being viewed by the law as a couple.
In many countries this is done at the local town hall and followed by a ceremony in which the couple celebrate their marriage with friends and family.
The ceremony which follows the legal registration of the marriage is usually led by a Celebrant. As these ceremonies are non-statutory they can include any content you as a couple wish and as such they are very personal and reflect the individuality of the couple.
In addition whilst many of these ceremonies are held on the same day in fact there is no time limit for how long after your marriage they can be held.
Notice for all marriages must be given in the 12 month period before the date of the marriage. Usually this is done quite early so that the Registrar has time to confirm that both parties are free to marry.
If you have already given notice then my advice would be to check how much of the notice period remains, as this may have a bearing on your decision.
The second conversation you need to have is with your venue and suppliers. Due to social distancing many Venues may not remain open during this period. It is best to check what the situation is at your venue..
If you choose to marry with only witnesses present, then your Wedding Day can be postponed and you can enjoy the day you have planned at a later date.
The advantage of doing this is that it once legally married you are under less time pressure and have far more flexibility when organising you big day. (It also means that on the day you will not have to pay the fees for a Registrar to attend a venue.)
The Ceremony on your Wedding day can be conducted by a Celebrant and you can find more information about this on my website or via the Association of Independent Celebrants.
Weddings are a time for family and friends to gather – something we will all be in need of once this crisis has passed - and something to look forward to.
Please make contact if you would like further information.
Wishing you all well.
Giving a special gift to a child as a memento of their day is a wonderful way to remember the happy occasion. It also means that as the child grows older the significance of the gift can be explained.
This is an extract from a ceremony I conducted in which a gift of a silver thimble was given.
"In the story of Peter Pan, Peter and Wendy meet for the first time when Peter is attempting to reattach himself to his shadow. Since his attempt to stick it back with soap fails, Wendy offers to sew the shadow onto Peter with a needle and thread. Once it is attached she offers to give Peter a kiss and he holds out his hand. Not wishing to offend him Wendy places her thimble in his hand.
So the thimble becomes a symbol both love and the capacity for compassion in a child."
This is an extract from a Naming ceremony conducted in a small woodland clearing.
A gift of a feather was given to the child by her older sibling.
"It is said that there are two things that we can give our children, roots and wings and this feather is a symbol of these things.
Roots - not to tie you to the ground but to guide you to where fulfilment can be found, a nourishing start and a firm foundation.
Wings - to soar over obstacles, to fly free and glide the heights of the best you can be and to return you home."
Surely the wish we would like for every child.
Choosing a Celebrant to help you create that special ceremony is an important step towards making your occasion a really memorable one. Why not take advantage of the free initial meeting I offer ? I believe it is important to meet informally to discuss your ideas and what I can offer. Meeting also gives us an opportunity to explore the type of ceremony that would best suit your needs.