Weddings and Funerals in the time of Covid-19

We know you’re tired of hearing the phrase “in these uncertain times”, but no phrase applies better to officiating life ceremonies right now. It is so difficult to “celebrate” anything in a pandemic, and yet life is still going on.

As of June 12, 2020, the Province of Ontario has eased restrictions for events as follows:

  • The number of people allowed to attend an indoor ceremony is restricted to 30 percent capacity of the venue.
  • Outdoor events will be limited to 50 people.
  • The number of people allowed to attend all wedding and funeral receptions remains at 10.
  • Participants must follow health and safety protocols, including physically distancing from people not from the same household or their established 10-person social circle.

This may be a little confusing, so we will break it down a bit. If a wedding or funeral ceremony (meaning the formal service which is officiated) will take place indoors, and the venue can hold 200 people, you may only have 60 people in attendance (this number includes the officiant, the couple and the witnesses in the case of a wedding, and the officiant and immediate family in the case of a funeral). All attendees of the ceremony must follow safety precautions, such as maintaining 2 meters of distance unless they are from the same household and wearing masks if that distance cannot be maintained.

If the ceremony is outdoors, then you may have only 50 people in attendance. The same safety precautions must be maintained.

All receptions (meaning the gathering that usually takes place AFTER a ceremony takes place such as luncheons, dinners, or drinks and snacks), whether indoors or outdoors, may only have 10 people in attendance.

With these new restrictions, it may be easier to hold memorial or funeral services to honour loved ones who have passed, if the family is willing to forgo a reception. However, with weddings, some couples may still find it difficult to hold their wedding if they are planning to have a large attendance or a reception afterwards. It is difficult to have a ceremony of, say, 60 people and then tell 50 guests they have to leave so that they can hold their dinner.

If you decide to proceed with a wedding or funeral while these restrictions are in force, our officiants are available, however, we will insist on the proper precautions for our safety and yours:
– 2 meters (6′) of distance between the officiant and any person (this includes wedding couples and their witnesses)
– if that distance cannot be maintained, our officiants will wear a mask
– separate microphones for each person who will speak during the ceremony
– separate pens for each person signing any documents
– hand sanitizer available after handling and signing of any documents or podium use

All these restrictions, of course, also apply to other ceremonies, such as baby namings/wecomings, adoption, coming-of-age celebrations, and vow renewals. Fortunately, these ceremonies do not have time constraints as weddings and funerals often do. So it’s possible to reschedule these events for a more suitable time.

Whatever your plans are during this time, know that our officiants are here to help and understand how frustrating these circumstances are. We are doing everything we can to make your life ceremonies memorable and meaningful, and we’ll continue to do so as our province navigates the difficult path through the COVID-19 crisis.

Contact us any time to discuss how we can help you!

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