Before the coronavirus pandemic (BC), cancelations were frustrating. Especially when an officiant had already spent hours thinking about a couple’s unique love story, and then formulated it into their personalized ceremony – only to be replaced by online Uncle Bill. Now, after COVID-19 has become part of everyone’s vocabulary, they are even more tricky.
We are all on edge. Our country is facing a crisis, and the wedding industry is on the economic front line. (We say this with complete reverence to our healthcare professionals, who are battling this virus in the most literal sense.) This is an opportunity for our professional-selves to step up and be a reassuring voice to anxious couples.
Civil officiants have much greater flexibility than other wedding vendors. Whether there are two hundred people attending the ceremony, or only the couple, the nuts-and-bolts of the job is the same. Similarly, we are just as capable in a fancy-schmancy chateau as we are in a backyard or a secluded trailside nook. Use your experience to help calm nervous jitters by providing realistic options.
How to Alter
Unless the couple’s love couldn’t withstand the trials of this upheaval – or they are going to elope out of state or too far for you to travel, the marriage is presumably still on. So why “cancel”? Postpone. Delay. Move. Shift. Alter. There are so many ways for couples to move forward, canceling doesn’t need to come into play.
Flexibility is needed. Not only for officiants, but couples and all the other businesses involved in putting together marriage celebrations. Everyone needs to adjust. Keeping the focus on the couple’s love for one another helps. The ceremony is a mere moment in their lifetime together.
- To help your couple, be ready with ideas and solutions. Very important to remember, though, is to always follow the CDC’s guidelines on prevention and do your part to flatten the curve. Safety for you, the couple and your community must come first. That means some personal sacrifice for everyone.
The safest way forward is to stay put, and delay the ceremony until our country’s situation improves. If there is resistance, reminding couples that their love for each other is what is the most important.
- Identify some remote locations for a quiet ceremony in your area. Having these at-the-ready demonstrates that you’ve thought through the challenges, and are prepared to help your couple navigate their journey. Ask the couple about meaningful locations to them. Where did they get engaged? Or, is the place that they met of significance?
- Suggest an elopement and wedding combination: private ceremony when able, big celebration later. Share our blog article with your couples; it describes different size weddings and covers the two-event scenario.
- Once life settles down, then a weekday event may be needed. Venues will be trying to fit everyone in. If that is not an option then out-of-the box thinking might help. Our blog article about unique venues might spark some ideas.
Because the novel coronavirus situation is dynamic, JPus will update this information as new information become available.
- More officiant related support on JPus’ coronavirus landing page
- Be a part of the coronavirus-management conversation with fellow officiants in JPus’ members-only Facebook group
- Follow JPus’ Facebook page for related news and updates
- Additional professional development articles in Member Support
- More education and training for marriage officiants