Whilst some of your wedding plans, perhaps even your wedding date itself, may be up in the air at the moment during these uncertain COVID times, there’s a lot of things that you can do to remove or reduce the stress and uncertainty.
What Are The Current COVID Restrictions For Weddings In NSW? (July 2020)
In New South Wales, as at July 2020, the following restrictions apply:
- Weddings and events are limited to a maximum of 150 people, subject to the 4 square metre rule.
- Gatherings in the home are limited to 20 people, however, it is recommended that home visitors are capped at 10 people “as a general principle”.
- Places of worship can have a maximum of 100 people, subject to the 4 square metre rule.
- Weddings and Receptions must be carried out by businesses registered as “COVID-Safe”.
- “High-risk activities” such as choirs and dancing are not allowed.
- Wedding guests should be seated and there should be “no dancing, no singing, no mingling”.
How To Plan A Wedding During COVID
1. Review agreements with prospective vendors carefully.
Ensure in each case, you have a contract that clearly covers rescheduling, postponements and other changes. Most vendors are fine if you need to reschedule but will charge a fee if you cancel altogether. Knowing where you stand upfront is the single most valuable way to avoid stress later. This advice holds true at any time, as I have previously written about when dealing with complaints with Celebrants.
2. Don’t delay finding and booking vendors.
With the added need to understand COVID contingencies from each supplier, you’ll need to allow additional time for your search. Also, your preferred suppliers will likely have a number of events that have previously been delayed from the start of the lockdown and those events, plus all the couples who have previously been waiting and watching before commencing their planning will combine to make for a very busy period further down the track that will limit availability more than normal.
3. Consider a weekday wedding.
If you did need to reschedule due to a tightening of restrictions, your best prospects of keeping your existing venue and team of suppliers together is by having your wedding on a weekday, as demand is lower then. To that end, if you also opt for a weekday initially, you’re more likely to have your first pick of venue and suppliers and in the event of a reschedule it’s doesn’t become another compromise you need to make. You might even save some money.
4. Keep it small.
If you keep your wedding small, should restrictions tighten and further limit the number of people who can attend, you’re less likely to have to un-invite some of your guests or reschedule. Small weddings can also feel more intimate, be less stressful, and have you feel more present throughout your day.
5. Stay local.
If travel restrictions tighten you’re less likely to have a problem on your hands if you stay local.
6. Live stream your ceremony.
Friends and family who are overseas or interstate or vulnerable (with low immune systems) can still be part of your wedding day if you live-stream them in on your ceremony.
7. Remind your guests “No Hugging.”
Social distancing is hard when people’s natural tendency is to hug you and congratulate you. To avoid a flurry of hugs after your ceremony, speak to your celebrant about letting your guests know in a warm and friendly way that they can hug you with their hearts, not their hands.
8. Consider elderly guests or who are otherwise higher-risk.
Think about whether it’s better for your 96-year-old gran to also be at the reception or just the ceremony. Try where possible to have people from the same household seated together.
9. Review the NSW Government’s Wedding COVID-19 Safety Plan.
You can download a copy of this plan here. It contains all the information you need to think about to maintain a safe environment at your wedding.
How have I adapted My Services During COVID?
- I’ve recently added a live-streaming service to my ceremonies and during COVID I’m offering this to my couples for FREE with my most popular packages. You can read more about it here.
- I am registered as a COVID-Safe business, as required by NSW regulations. Accordingly, I will only perform ceremonies that comply with the current guidelines on guest numbers, etc.
- I am discussing with my couples how they are styling their ceremony to ensure that all of their guests are seated and suggesting that members of the same household are seated together. I am happy to recommend George & Smee wedding stylists to all my couples.
- I am perfectly happy to accommodate wherever possible a change of date or location subject to availability and will work with my couples as necessary to find a new date that works for everyone.
- I conduct all my meetings online over Zoom to minimise travel and practice good social distancing.
- I am required, for possible contact tracing purposes, to record the names and contact numbers of your guests and other vendors present at your ceremony (just like when you go to a Cafe). The process I use is ‘contact-free’ via a very simple online form (no passing around of pens) where your guests simply hold up their phone to a QR code. (I am required to retain these records for 28 days and they will not be used for any other purposes).
- I sanitise my microphone and pen before and after the ceremony and have hand sanitiser available for anyone to use.
- Lastly, know that I will still be hugging you with my heart at the ceremony, but not my hands.
Over the past few months, I have been amazed at how my couples have quickly adapted to the changing requirements necessary to keep the pandemic under control. It really has shown that it’s better to move forward with planning and respond to change if it occurs rather than to keep putting off getting started. So stay safe and move forward.
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Author: Meggan Brummer
Meggan is a full-time, authorised Marriage Celebrant based in Sydney, Australia.
Her work as a celebrant is supported by her background in writing, theatre, and singing.