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YES, YOU can get married and there is an important reason why you should!

There is so much uncertainty and confusion for many, and so many contradictions in information being provided from all sorts of directions. We have three tiers of government and information is not always consistent between them e.g. parks were open, then closed, then open and then closed again within 24 hours.

The good news is that if you were planning to marry, you have two options.

The first is to go ahead but with the ceremony but with just 5 people including your selves, present but others joining via video link. This is a great option because it enables your married life to begin and you can have the bigger celebration with everyone present later when this health crisis is over.

The other option is of course to postpone.

There is usually no problem in doing so, just be aware that postponement dates are filling quickly and so if you wish to postpone, set your date as quickly as possible because when this virus blows over, there will be people scrambling for dates.

The current official advice for NSW is that:

A wedding can have 5 people, and funerals can have just 10 but bear in mind that includes any persons that must be present such as the Celebrant and so for a wedding that is the couple, the two witnesses and the Celebrant while for a funeral, it is really only 7 as the Concierge, Funeral Director and Celebrant reduce the number to 7.

General Public Health advice at present is that by later October, November onwards all should be fine as it will be outside the flu season and hopefully by then we will have treatments and vaccines available.

I am still conducting ceremonies (in safe conditions) and will remain doing so, as long as it is possible

I conducted three weddings last week. Each under different conditions. The first was at a venue before the restrictions but social distancing was applied and high-level hygiene was still applied so everything including pens, table, cameras and anything that could be touched, was sanitised before and after the ceremony.

Then the restrictions started and a wedding that was to take place overseas, was instead a 5 party wedding in Tench Reserve. It was beautiful and fun. We laughed all the way through and when I made the pronouncement that they were officially married, passers-by cheered from a distance.

Just 24 hours later, the parks were closed and so the next ceremony was inside a loungeroom. A neighbour had rose bushes and so red petals beautifully covered the lounge room floor. Once again a beautiful ceremony and the couple may consider a larger renewal of vows ceremony with all their friends and relatives at a later date

Conducting funerals has been the hardest. I always make them a Celebration of the Life. The first recent funeral was reduced to just 20 people who had to sit apart at the chapel even though over 100 were expected originally. The second which would also have been a large funeral, was instead, after new restrictions were applied, attended by only 10, one of whom was a child. The second was at least live-streamed to others. Funerals are a very important step in the grief process and my heart breaks for families at this time when we cannot hug or hold them. Human contact is so important but currently restricted for obvious reasons.

I record all my Ceremonies on video and so can at least give that to the couples and families so that they can share the Ceremony with loved ones.

So as a Celebrant, and not a lawyer, I am going to try to answer 10 important questions about marriage and perhaps you can decide for yourself: Should I Get Married Now?.

So people can still get married as long as there is an appropriate legal notice and the couple are two consenting persons who meet the eligibility criteria of being over the age of 18 and who are not married to anyone else.

Wedding Ceremonies are currently much briefer in that they are generally the legal aspects covered only though utilising live streaming, others can still take part.  I had one ceremony where a person reads a poem from 1000klms away but we all saw her on the screen and heard her clearly through the sound system.

At this crucial time, people may question why get married but quite apart from the obvious proclamation of love, unlike de -facto relationships, a marriage offers equal protection under the law for the couple for both parties. Some will argue that that is available already to anyone in a long term relations but in a crisis or emergency that can be problematic. With a marriage, you are immediately the next-of-kin, and given protection under the law with regards property, assets, inheritance, insurances, medical care and so much more. But there are many circumstances where that might not be the case for people in a De-Facto relationship especially if a ‘next of kin’, such as parents or sibling arrives and they can have more rights to access the patient and make decisions about their care than a defacto partner, no matter how many years they have been together.

I’ll give an example. A young unemployed John marries Mary but they separate within 6 months. John meets Jane and life for them is great. They buy a house together and develop a high income. John suddenly dies but as he did not divorce, his legal wife, Mary, has a claim on his estate.

Or if Joe is ostracised and excluded from his family because but lives happily with Jonny for 10 years but they never marry; there is an accident and Joe is in intensive care. Despite the years of animosity, a considerate Jonny calls the family and they show up as next of kin to make all decisions regarding Joe’s health care and as only family is allowed in ICU, Jonny can only watch from behind a window.

And of course, if there is a death, the ‘next of kin’ may have more rights than a defacto partner, no matter how many years you have been together. Even if there is a will, relatives may still have a claim upon the estate.

So here is a guide for

NEW CLIENTS

  1. You MUST phone to make an appointment.
  2. When you phone, you may be asked certain questions to ensure public safety.
  3. Subject to availability, I will meet you at a mutually agreed location, but I cannot accept people at my home at present however I am happy to meet in a café or public place. Meeting at your own home will be discussed and decided upon.
  4. We will not shake hands,
  5. I will NOT meet with you if you are sick, have a temperature or cough, or a runny nose or if I become sick, have a temperature or cough, or a runny nose (other than allergies)
  6. YOU MUST maintain a safe distance at all times.
  7. YOU MUSThave washed or sanitised your hands which must be dry and clean when we meet.
  8. Any documents you present, MUST be dry and clean and readable without my touching them.
  9. If you are unable to comply, or I suspect for any reason, that you have not complied, with the safety protocols, the meeting will be cancelled.

FUNERALS

I will do my very best, as always, to assist you through the process, as will your chosen funeral director. I can even recommend one or two.

To plan the funeral:

  1. I cannot accept people at my home at present, but our meetings can take place via video link, or I can be the one visitor to your household following discussion and assurances of safety.
  2. I will NOT meet in person, in a closed room if you are sick, travelled overseas within the last three weeks, have a temperature or cough, or a runny nose or if I become sick, have a temperature or cough, or a runny nose (other than allergies)
  3. If for any reason I am unable to attend, I will do my utmost to find a replacement.
  4. YOU MUST maintain a safe distance at all times.
  5. YOU MUSThave washed or sanitised your hands which must be dry and clean when we meet.
  6. Any document or photographs you present, MUST be dry and clean and readable without my touching them but digital copies can be transmitted via an online medium (I can help with that).
  7. At the funeral, handshaking, kissing and hugging should be avoided.
  8. Seating will be spaced and there is a maximum limit of ten people in attendance but we can broadcast via live streaming
  9. To avoid cross-contamination, there may not be a Guest Register
  10. The Chapel management may institute additional safety protocols.
  11. Graveside committals must abide by safe distance requirements which can be difficult in some cemeteries.
  12. Guests may take part via video link in their homes or cars (anywhere there is internet access and a device with an appropriate app)

WEDDINGS

Options for your booked wedding are:

    1. Continue but with high-level hygiene practices adopted and the limited number of 5
    2. Video stream to guests to anywhere there is the internet, a device and an app
    3. Have a ‘legals only’ ceremony now, (only need two witnesses) and a larger Celebration of Marriage later, or
    4. Postpone your wedding entirely

Here are some additional considerations:

    1. You must postpone if you are sick, have a temperature or cough, or a runny nose.
    2. I will not attend if I become sick, have a temperature or cough, or a runny nose (other than allergies)
    3. You can NOT have guests in attendance who have recently travelled overseas or experienced virus symptoms
    4. YOU MUST maintain a safe distance at all times.
    5. YOU MUST have washed or sanitised your hands which must be dry and clean.
    6. Any documents MUST be dry and clean and readable.
    7. At the wedding, handshaking, and hugging should be avoided but the ‘first kiss’ is your own choice, just don’t kiss me 😊
    8. Guests may be able to take part via video link which can be lived streamed to a suitable device
    9. If anyone falls ill after the wedding, you must notify me, all in attendance, immediately

WHAT TO DO IF YOUR VENUE CANCELS

Venues and vendors need your business to survive, so please be patient, kind and understanding.

The CV-19 pandemic has significantly impacted upon the events industry and livelihoods and some businesses may not survive extended closure.
If your date cannot go ahead (as confirmed with venues and/or vendors), here are a few simple tips to follow:-

    1. Create a Social Media Group (e.g. Facebook, WhatsApp etc) for family & friends already invited
    2. Announce your date has been POSTPONED (not cancelled because you will definitely still be getting married in the future).
    3. Chat with the venue in regard to transferring ALL costs to a future date. Yes there may be additional costs or penalties, but these will be insignificant in comparison to them applying the T&C’s of your original contract.
    4. Once you have that date, contact each and every vendor letting them know that:
  • because of the new restrictions imposed, the venue has advised your day cannot go ahead as planned but it has been rescheduled to <new date> and you hope they are happy to transfer your existing invoices to that date.

 

    1. Monitor those who can assist and those who cannot.
    2. For those who can, ask for an updated invoice.
    3. For those who CAN’T, ensure you reach an agreement in regard to how to cancel any existing arrangements . As most will be relieved you have a new date, hopefully there will be very few who cannot transfer.
    4. For those who can’t commit to your new date, ask them for recommendations.

 

admin

Friendly, helpful, professional Celebrant

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