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.
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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.