Breaking news: legals-only weddings take off in COVID times

In these COVID times, one of the surprising things that’s happened in the wedding industry across the world is that legals-only weddings have become a thing. It’s arguably one of the most beneficial things to hit the wedding industry because of COVID.

COVID has forced thousands of couples to reconsider their wedding plans. Some have postponed. Numerous couples have rescheduled their wedding several times. They’re determined to have the ‘prince and princess wedding’, no matter what. But that means they’ll have to wait until COVID restrictions have eased considerably, not only in Victoria and other parts of Australia but also internationally, so that their guests from overseas can still attend. That could take years!

So, why has there been a big uptake of legals-only weddings? There are five main reasons.


Reason 1: Get it over and done with

As part of reconsidering their wedding, some couples have decided not to wait to get married. They just want to get it over and done with. They’ve separated the legal part of their marriage from the celebrations that form the rest of the wedding. These couples are happy to get married now and plan a celebration later, when they can.

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Reason 2: It can be an excuse to reduce the number of guests

Some couples have used the government’s COVID restrictions to severely reduce the number of guests at their wedding. Rather than invite 150 of their closest friends and family members, some of whom they rarely see, they’ve got married in a legals-only ceremony in front of 10 guests, usually the friends and family members who are closest to them.

They’ve told me that it’s taken lots of the stress out of deciding who to invite. And they’ve happily used the government’s restrictions as their lever, telling their other guests they had no choice but to adhere to those restrictions. Some will hold a bigger celebration later when the restrictions are eased.

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

Reason 3: It’s a lower cost.

Many couples have opted for a legals-only ceremony so they can save literally thousands of dollars. They’ve been able to put the money they saved on their wedding into their mortgage or into a school fund for their kids, or into a holiday fund for when the COVID restrictions ease and they can travel overseas again.

Reason 4: It’s easy to organise.

A legals-only ceremony involves little planning. Often it includes only the couple, their two witnesses and the celebrant. The ceremony takes literally a few minutes. It’s cost effective and is just as legal as a ‘prince and princess wedding’ with all the trappings.

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Reason 5: It gives them legal protection

Some couples have decided to delay their celebrations until they can party with their friends and family. But they wanted the legal protections of the institution of marriage. A legals-only ceremony is a simply, affordable way of getting just that. And as soon as they say their legal vows, they’re married – and they are each other’s next of kin. Many such couples need to remember to update their wills soon after getting married to reflect the change in their relationship status.

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