Nicole and Ryan were due to be married in May but due to Covid they were unable to celebrate their wedding day on their chosen date.
However, when the lockdown was eased, they made the decision not to postpone until a later date, but to celebrate with close family in Ryan’s parents garden and thankfully I was available on their chosen date. Obviously there were a number of differences from their original choice of venue and numbers.
For a start we were outside and due to the size of the garden, we were able to place the chairs in such a way that social distancing could be easily achieved. The garden was beautifully decorated, we had an aisle for Nicole to walk down with her dad, a floral arch and a table to sign the Marriage Schedule.
Modern technology such as mobile phones and Bluetooth allowed Nicole and Ryan to have the same music played that had been planned for their original date.
Having conducted a number of outdoor wedding ceremonies over the years, it felt perfectly natural and normal, other than the fact that I had to stand a little further away from the bride and groom.
Nicole and Ryan had chosen to include Candle Lighting as part of their ceremony, so I was able to provide them with storm lanterns which allowed this to take place.
The part of the ceremony which required the most thought was the signing of the marriage schedule, as 5 of us were required to use the pen.
The way we chose to get round this was to wipe down a fountain pen which was placed on the table for the bride and groom to use. After they signed, the witnesses wiped their hands with antibacterial gel and signed with the same pen. I then signed using a different pen.
This was agreed on advice that had been given to the groom at his place of work and I was happy. After the ceremony I completed the necessary paperwork which I then handed to the groom.
I quickly spoke to both fathers from 2 metres away before leaving. I can honestly say that it did not feel particularly strange apart from the number of guests, and left knowing that Nicole and Ryan were as happy as any bride and groom.
Meanwhile Emily and David had originally chosen to marry in July, so they chose to change their venue from a hotel to Emily’s parents garden. The weather on their wedding day was forecast to be more inclement, so Emily’s dad had erected two gazebos, one for myself and the bride and groom and a larger one for the guests. The chairs for the guests were set up more in clusters, to allow households to sit together, and I thought that worked well.
As we were covered by the gazebo, I chose to wear my mask until just before the ceremony began, whereas I wore my mask when I arrived at Nicole and Ryan’s but removed it quite quickly.
Emily and David also included Candle Lighting in their ceremony, so my storm lanterns were required again, and her dad happily organised their music.
Again we were very careful with the signing of the marriage schedule. Both couples had arranged drinks and nibbles for their guests but that was something which was happening after my departure, so I wasn’t part of it but it was nice to know that they were still able to celebrate with their closest family.
I was able to visit both gardens prior to the weddings so that I could give my thoughts on the set up and my approval, which meant that I arrived at both weddings feeling very confident.
I thoroughly enjoyed conducting both ceremonies and I know that both couples enjoyed their wedding days as well.
The obvious drawback for couples having a wedding at this time is not being able to celebrate with all their family and friends, however Nicole and Ryan and Emily and David are all delighted to be husband and wife and hopefully it won’t be long before they can organise a reception.