Coronavirus and your wedding
This page contains important information about how the COVID-19 coronavirus will impact your wedding (or other) ceremony booked with Stephen Lee Celebrancy. This page will be updated with the latest information as the situation evolves.
Last update: May 15th 2020
What's the current situation?
The Public Health (COVID-19 Restrictions on Gathering and Movement) Order 2020 now states that:
(a) a wedding service may have no more than 10 wedding guests (excluding the persons being married, the persons necessary for the conduct of, or assisting in the conduct of, the service and one photographer or one videographer or both)
(b) a relevant person for a wedding, funeral or memorial service or religious service must record the names and contact details (including contact telephone numbers) of all the persons at the service.
That means your wedding can look like this:
The marrying couple
The 2 official witnesses
Each child is counted as one person and included in the total of 10 guests.
Everyone who attends will be asked to sign in and give their name and contact details. I will circulate a signing-in sheet before the ceremony can begin.
To avoid a hefty fine, and to protect the health of my couples, their guests and myself, I will withdraw immediately if more people are present at the ceremony than permitted.
What about social distancing measures?
Government advice states people should stay at least a metre and a half apart.
This also means do not shake hands or exchange physical greetings.
Can we get married now and have the big ceremony and reception later?
Yes, and many couples are choosing to do this.
I can legally marry you in a small, simple and quick ceremony now, postponing the big celebration and wedding reception to a later date. The second ceremony then becomes a Reaffirmation of Vows. Contact me for details.
Can we postpone our wedding ceremony?
If you have an existing booking and decide to postpone your ceremony, you may reschedule up to 18 months from the date you lodged your Notice of Intended Marriage. In most cases, there is no extra charge to rearrange your marriage ceremony. However, a Rescheduling Fee may apply to some bookings.
If you reschedule to a date when I am unavailable, you are deemed to have cancelled this agreement and cancellation terms will apply. Please contact me to discuss your individual circumstances.
When choosing a new date, I recommend looking at an off-peak option. This is when venues and suppliers will have the best availability.
Can I cancel my ceremony booking?
If you decide to cancel your booking, my standard cancellation terms apply:
(a) If you cancel this agreement after you have paid the Booking Fee, the Booking Fee is non-refundable (Tailor-Made Ceremonies only).
(b) If you cancel this agreement after you have paid the Ceremony Fee and any other associated fees, and the cancellation date is more than one month before your ceremony date, a Cancellation Fee will apply to cover work already undertaken.
(c) If you cancel this agreement within one month of your ceremony date, all fees are non-refundable.
What advice is the Government offering about cancellations under Australian Consumer Law?
According to NSW Fair Trading:
"The impact of COVID-19 is being felt by consumers and businesses across Australia as events and travel are cancelled.
Consumer rights will depend on whether a business has decided to cancel a product or service, or whether government restrictions caused the cancellation which is outside of the business’ control.
Australian Consumer Law (ACL) provides guarantees for products and services purchased in Australia. Business's have responsibilities if they fail to meet their obligations. Under the ACL, if a business fails to meet its obligations under a consumer guarantee, consumers have a right to remedies.
Consumers do not have the same right to a remedy if their individual circumstances change and/or they decide to cancel a product or service.
Where the cancellation is because of a government ban, the consumer is unlikely to be entitled to a refund under the Australian Consumer Law and their rights are determined by the terms and conditions of the agreement."
We are overseas and were planning to travel to Australia for our wedding. What can we do?
Australia has closed its borders to anyone who is not a citizen, resident, or close family member of an Australian citizen or resident.
Additionally, everyone who enters Australia is required to self-isolate for 14 days.
If you are due to visit Australia to get married, you will have to postpone your ceremony until the restrictions are lifted.
The Australian Government has indicated these restrictions are likely to be in place for several months.
What if we feel unwell?
If you feel unwell on your wedding day, contact me immediately.
If any of your guests feel unwell, ask them to stay at home.
What if you (the Celebrant) becomes ill?
Should I be unable to perform the ceremony due to illness, I will make every endeavour to minimise any disruption to your ceremony by locating an alternative like-minded celebrant with as much notice as possible in conjunction with you.
How COVID-19 coronavirus is changing the way I work
As your Marriage Celebrant, I have altered some of the ways I work to focus on the health of all of us at your marriage ceremony, while also complying with current restrictions.
Health advice training
I have completed a special COVID-19 coronavirus training course provided by the Australian Department of Health and continue to monitor the latest advice.
Online meeting option
Most of the ceremony booking and planning is already done online via my website.
If you are considering booking one of my Tailor-Made Weddings, we would normally meet face-to-face to help you decide if you'd like to go-ahead. This meeting can be switched to an online video meeting. I have a video conference facility on my website, or we can hook up via FaceTime or WhatsApp.
If you have booked a Tailor-Made Wedding, we have a second meeting nearer the wedding date to discuss and plan ceremony content. This meeting can also take place online.
Meetings to sign legal paperwork
We meet to sign the first of your pre-marriage legal forms - the Notice of Intended Marriage - at least one month before your wedding date. The law requires that this form must still be signed and witnessed in person.
This meeting can be completed quickly and at the required social distances.
All my equipment used during your marriage ceremony, such as the microphone, PA and pen, is cleaned and sanitised between each use. I bring a disinfectant kit to all ceremonies. (If you're wondering, it's a Dettol solution as in the photo. Here's what Dettol is saying about its products and coronavirus.)
I'm also washing my hands frequently and thoroughly before and after each ceremony.
Sadly but sensibly, until the alert has passed I have a "No Touch" policy in place which rules out handshakes etc. It's hard to change such natural behaviour but feel free to send an air kiss, wave or a big smile my way instead!
On your wedding day, I'll keep the required distance between myself, your guests and you. I'll find the best place to position myself to present the ceremony which fits the bill.
Department of Home Affairs - for the latest Australian Government travel restrictions for people overseas
Smart Traveller - travel advice for Australians
Department of Health - general advice on COVID-19
NSW Fair Trading - for consumer advice