“Human beings hate thwarted expectation more than anything.”
~ Tim Mitchin
2020 is proving to be the Year that Weddings Were Forgot.
If you were planning to be married at the end of 2020 or the first half 2021 you could be feeling pretty low right now. Dreams and expectations have been shattered time and again this year and there’s nothing we humans hate more than crushed expectations.
You are no doubt in discussion with friends, family and suppliers about what kind of Big Day is possible and how you might move ahead.
To those who are plunging ahead, taking the restrictions in stride and transforming their Wedding Day accordingly: I celebrate your tenacity and wish you nothing but luck and love!
This article is for those who are finding that level of compromise a challenge.
To those folks I say: Patience and Practicality.
Whether you are mid-way through the planning process, or at the very start, slowing down and considering what you really want is vital. You invest time, money and – most importantly – heart into your Wedding Day; don’t feel pressured to compromise that dream, just to ‘be married’ already.
You can still have your Big Day, in the place and with the people you vhoose; it just might have to be a year or two from now. Between now and then there are some steps you can take to keep the journey moving forwards…
Get Legally Married Now
Legal marriage is, at its core, paperwork. Ticking this part off the list might feel like a good step towards your dream and can be achieved within the current restrictions.
It’s a simple process that requires only two witnesses and will make you legally married/civil partnered, facilitating a name change if that is part of your wishes. It does not need to include your vows, rings exchange or any of the meaningful personalisations you might wish to save for your Big Day. See this post for more details on how simple this part can be.
The Gov.uk website has all the details on the legal practicalities (which are relatively simple and cheap without all the big ceremony parts) and will also be up to date on any current changes due to Covid.
Speak to your local Registry Office. You can expect delays and longer time scales as they are likely being as affected by the confusion of Covid as everyone else. Booking with them to do just the legalities should be possible within the year but the sooner you contact them the better.
Elope To Scotland
Legal weddings in Scotland can be held anywhere (unlike England and Wales which requires a registered venue) as long as they are conducted by a registered Scottish Celebrant. If you want to be legally married now and make some special memories at the same time, this is a wonderful option.
Gretna Green is the most famous location for this kind of service but there are a number of independent Scottish Celebrants out there who offer their services and would be happy to provide an elopement ceremony for you. This would be more personal and romantic than a purely legal service and a wonderful memory to treasure.
Early contact is vital. They are likely to be busy dealing with Covid-postponed couples from earlier in 2020. Be sure to ask about any unique restrictions within Scotland regarding Covid-19.
Plan for the Future
If you already have a Registrar booked for your Big Day you need to speak to them about whether they are offering refunds or postponements. You can’t get legally married twice, so will need to cancel with them if you want to take one of the options above.
If you are already legally married or have eloped you can still have your Big Day as a celebration of your love and commitment, with all your loved ones present. Why not include a ceremony too! Whether that be a second wedding with all the usual traditions (rings, vows etc) or a vow renewal; a Wedding Celebrant can create and conduct a ceremony that expresses all the love and meaning of marriage that is totally unique and personalised to you too.
A second chance for celebration, ceremony and love: yes please!
Married At Heart
If you really don’t want to cancel your Registrar or would rather keep the legal stuff to the Big Day, a Celebrant can help you get that ‘just married’ feeling right now, without invalidating any future legalities.
Imagine a simple ceremony, perhaps a handfasting or a sharing of vows and promises that honours your love and commitment to one another and your intention to get wed.
Celebrants in England and Wales can perform a ceremony anywhere (garden, woods, park, etc) so think elopement style or something intimate and close to home. It won’t be legally binding but it will be totally personalised, focusing on the things that are most important to you now; like reminding yourselves why you love one another and trusting you will get through this difficult waiting period till your Big Day can finally happen, as you’ve always dreamed.
Working within Government guidelines right now would allow for up to 3 people in attendance; children or close family perhaps. There is hope this will change to 15 sometime soon; as always, it is worth contacting your local Celebrant to find out where the law stands.
Patience & Practicality
This is a tricky time for everyone and rules are changing quickly with little notice; which is where patience and practicality come in.
Accept that things may change or not be exactly as you’d hoped but don’t feel pressured into changing your dreams.
Sometimes, good things really do come to those who wait. Taking some positive steps towards your goal, as suggested above, is one way of making that wait a little less difficult.