It’s important – in fact, crucial – that we all consider the health and safety of our couples, and their witnesses, as well as ourselves. That’s always been a requirement of celebrants. But Covid-19 demands more of us. The new COVID-19 restrictions on weddings come as no surprise as the world fights on with this deadly coronavirus. Because of how it’s transmitted, it requires us to think of people who are most easily compromised and not just people who are present at the wedding. That includes people in the broader community who are older, who have a disability, or people who are compromised because of pre-existing medical conditions – eg high blood pressure, diabetes, previous treatment for cancer, pneumonia or asthma and so on.
And so, rather than be worried about us catching Covid-19, we should act as if we are infected with the virus and then behave in ways that will best prevent others from catching it.
Since March 2020, many couples planning their wedding have either postponed their wedding, or changed the scale of their wedding, or have decided to plough ahead and get married in line with the COVID restrictions in place at the time. The risk of people infecting each other – including those not present at the wedding – is real and awful. No one – including wedding professionals – should be putting any pressure on any couple re ‘fixing’ a date and sticking to it. Rather, it’s more helpful to assist those couples make a decision that works for them, in setting or re-setting a wedding date.
Do you need help to postpone your wedding in Melbourne?
Updated 20 October 2020 (Source: Victorian Department of Health and Human Services COVID-19 Hotline)
Right now, it’s possible for weddings to go ahead in regional Victoria and in metropolitan Melbourne.
There are currently two sets of restrictions in play with reference to weddings in Victoria.
Weddings – metropolitan Melbourne
People can travel further than 25 km from their home in metropolitan Melbourne in order to attend a permitted wedding. However, a person from metropolitan Melbourne cannot travel into regional Victoria to hold or attend a wedding, even if a booking has already been made; nor can a person from regional Victoria travel to metropolitan Melbourne to hold or attend a wedding, even if a booking has already been made.
Weddings must be held in outdoor public spaces and only 6 people may attend – the couple, three guests (including their witnesses) and the authorised celebrant. Children over the age of 12 months count toward their guests’ limits – ie children over the age of 12 months cannot attend as an extra person to the wedding if you are unable to access child minding services.
Under compassionate grounds, if one or both of the persons getting married is/are at the end of life or if one or both will be deported unless marriage occurs, the marriage can also take place. Again, such a marriage ceremony can only involve six people – the couple, three guests (including their two witnesses) and the authorised celebrant. Under compassionate grounds, the ceremony can be held in a private residence, in which case the people who ordinarily reside at the home, three guests plus the authorised celebrant can attend the wedding.
An authorised celebrant can travel anywhere in Victoria to conduct a marriage ceremony but still requires a ‘permitted work’ permit to do so.
Food, drink, crockery, utensils and drinking vessels are not permitted to be shared by people at a wedding in metropolitan Melbourne.
Weddings – Regional Victoria
If you live in regional Victoria, you can attend a wedding ceremony in any part of regional Victoria. The 25 km limit is not applicable in regional Victoria. That means anyone who lives in regional Victoria can travel to any other part of regional Victoria to attend a wedding. However, a person from metropolitan Melbourne cannot travel into regional Victoria to hold or attend a wedding, even if a booking has already been made; nor can a person from regional Victoria travel to metropolitan Melbourne to hold or attend a wedding, even if a booking has already been made.
Weddings in regional Victoria are restricted to 10 people, which includes the couple and 8 guests (including their witnesses). The authorised celebrant is additional to the 10. Children over the age of 12 months count toward their guests’ limits – ie children over the age of 12 months cannot attend as an extra person to the wedding if you are unable to access child minding services.
Weddings in regional Victoria can be held in outdoor public spaces; or if one or both of persons getting married are at end of life or will be deported unless the marriage occurs, the marriage can go ahead and only involve six people – the couple, three guests (including their two witnesses), plus the authorised celebrant.
Weddings in regional Victoria can be held in a private residence. In such cases, the only people who can attend are those who are living at that house and any person who is in an intimate relationship with a person who lives at the premises and up to two other people from another household who are visiting for a social gathering.
COVID-19 restrictions on weddings means all weddings will be legals-only ceremonies with 5 people in total – the couple, the celebrant and witness. Social distancing rules apply.
– Bronte Price
We can signal to couples that the government’s rules of social distancing must be adhered to. And, if the couple just can’t agree to that, then we have a choice. We don’t have to be their celebrant. We can actually decline to be their celebrant.
COVID-19 is going to be with us for some time yet. As wedding professionals, we have a key role in ensuring that we don’t add to the potential risk and harm that the virus causes. And if we can’t do that, then perhaps we shouldn’t be in this role.
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