A New Normal: Outdoor Weddings and Celebrant Ceremonies for a Post-Lockdown World

As the law in England changes post-lockdown, to allow for gatherings and wedding ceremonies with up to 30 guests (in a safe, socially-distanced fashion) I have no doubt there will be many folks rightly celebrating their chance to finally tie the knot.

While this new expansion of the Covid-19 restrictions may not be perfect, and weddings (whether Celebrant-led or otherwise) will still need to be small in numbers, it is a big step back towards the joy of “normal”.

Taking all current guidelines into account, I think hiring a Celebrant and getting wed outside might just be the key to getting the most out of the new rules and what they do (and don’t) offer you. Here’s why..

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It’s safer outside!

© Tirachard Kumtanom

Guidance continues to suggest that being outdoors with other humans is a lot safer than being indoors right now. So why not hold your wedding ceremony outside?

Social distancing is so much easier outdoors, giving those who need to be extra cautious the confidence to come along and enjoy the experience whilst feeling comfortable and at ease. The potential beauty of an outdoor setting is an added bonus!

There is an increasing number of outdoor wedding venues available (that include tipis/marquees/etc) and many popular indoor venues in England have beautiful outdoor spaces attached; which can be put to better use than just photographs, in a post-lockdown world.

They are all excited to start welcoming weddings back and may be more flexible than ever when it comes to using their space in unique and imaginative ways. If you’ve always dreamed of an alternative wedding in a traditional venue; now might be your chance!

You can also consider using private outdoor spaces such as a large garden, field or community space (as long as you have permission from the owner) which might increase your chances when it comes to availability. For those dreaming of a DIY wedding, these types of venue offer the most potential.

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Small is Beautiful

For those unlucky folks who have already seen their wedding date pass them by unmarked, or for anyone who feels its impossible to wait any longer than absolutely necessary to get wed, its worth remembering that small can still be beautiful!

Every choice you make when planning your wedding is a way to express yourself and your love. From the venue decor, to the entertainment, to the food you eat; all help to reflect the beautiful life you have built together.

Without all those outside elements telling your story, a standard civil ceremony, with a reduced guest list, might feel somewhat dry or impersonal.

A Celebrant, on the other hand, is able to weave a whole day’s worth of richness, personality and heart into the ceremony itself. If all you have is the ceremony to speak your truth then be sure every word and action reflects you and your love as intimately as possible.

A small wedding, with a Celebrant at the helm, can be just that.

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Make Love the Key

Current guidelines advise that “ceremonies and services should be concluded in the shortest reasonable time, and limited as far as reasonably possible” with regard to content.

Due to the restrictive requirements of a civil ceremony, your precious time and content would have to include all the legal jargon that solemnises marriage; leaving less time for the beautiful, expressive, personal elements of the ceremony… which are best bits!

© Edward Eyer

Choosing to work with a Celebrant means you can include more of the juicy, fun, personal stuff and still commit yourselves to one another in front of those you love. You can include the exchanging of rings and vows, but say words that really mean something to you rather than the legal formula. Prioritise extra elements such as readings, handfastings or spiritual rituals, that express the heart of your relationship and your love, rather than having to spend precious time signing a book that no-one else gets to see.

Yes, you will then have to arrange to sign the paperwork for a legal marriage at another time BUT I assure you the admin will not be missed when your ceremony is packed to the brim with unique, heartfelt and personal expressions of your love and joy.

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Be Patient and Keep Dreaming

© Van Thing

We can’t deny that current guidelines are still restrictive, when it comes to number of guests, whether or not you can hold a reception afterwards, and the possibility of restrictions changing in the future; all of which make planning ahead difficult.

If this current time and situation simply don’t allow for the dream day you have always longed for then, rather than compromise, my advice to you would be: Wait.

It’s not easy to do (and for some it will be impossible) but if you can take the extra time: hold fast, and keep dreaming. When safety finally allows your unique wedding day to become real, it will be all the sweeter and more precious for it.

© Wallace Arjuiro

Unlike a legal registrar, you can get in touch with a Celebrant now and chat to them about what you are hoping for. Most Celebrants, including myself, are there for the journey from booking in to Big Day and we will happily share the waiting process with you.

Between now and the day (whenever it may be) when we can finally bring your dream wedding to life, you can reach us on the end of a phone, email or Zoom call to share the ideas, excitements and disappointments.

We can even offer ideas on how you might honour the waiting process, celebrate a postponed wedding date, or create an intimate, interim ceremony of promise and commitment that will see you through.

© Matt Thompson

Waiting doesn’t sound fun, but it can be a lot more pleasurable when you know its for a deeply personal, memorable day that is all you’d hoped it would be.

Having a Celebrant companion, who will stay committed to your dream with enthusiasm and care for however long you have to wait, makes that a promise a reality.

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