If one thing has become clear during the Covid-19 pandemic, it’s that the virus does not spare any events on the calendar – be it football games, funerals or even weddings.
For most married couples, exchanging their vows in front of friends and family is one of the happiest occasions they will ever experience.
And for people who work as celebrants, they are privileged to have the chance to be a part of hundreds of these moments any given year.
However, this year, the idea of the big wedding has been cast aside due to the impact of Covid-19 has been felt far and wide.
Lucy Black and Tegan Elder, who both work as celebrants, have seen first hand the devastating impact on couples and all the various companies that make up the wedding industry.
Since the announcement in early spring, the pair have had around a hundred weddings cancelled, with only a handful of ceremonies being conducted.
Venues that would have been packed with hundreds of friends and family have now seen numbers dwindle to just 20 people.
Praise for how the sector has adapted
But despite the challenges and uncertainty of when there will be a return to normality, the pair have praised how the sector has adapted, with some couples even moving their wedding forward to this year.
“We could never have envisaged what was going to happen in March and the severity of it nine months on,” West End woman Lucy said.
“I should have been conducting 65 ceremonies this year. By the end of the year I’ll have only conducted 12, which is a massive hit.
“We’ve seen couples postponing weddings into 2021 and 2022, while other couples have decided to press ahead and still have their celebrations this year regardless of their numbers.
“There is no right and wrong way of doing it, with the current climate things have had to adapt.”
After conducting her first ceremony under the new rules in September, Lucy said she quickly got used to the changes and it continued to be “wonderful” to be a part of a couple’s special day.
“People have obviously been worrying about having their day in these circumstances,” she said.
“From the couples who have decided to go ahead there has been no negativity on how the day has unfolded.
“Seeing these small weddings going ahead has now given other couples the confidence to go ahead and get married this year.
“What Covid-19 has done, has made people realise what is important, a lot of couples are saying ‘we don’t know what the future holds’ and they still want their celebration to go ahead.
“Seeing this positivity for small weddings has been a massive boost for all the businesses who help to make a wedding day.”
Tegan, from Menzieshill, who has worked closely with Lucy for three years, said no level of experience could have prepared them for this year.
Couples decide to take back control
She added: “I’ve had over 40 weddings postponed this year alone and have only conducted eight ceremonies.
“A lot of weddings I have done have been couples who have decided to take back control and in some cases have actually moved their date forward to this year.
“I have had couples who were scheduled to get married next April and September and they’ve basically said ‘why are we waiting?’
“It’s really admirable given the year we’ve had that people have decided to go ahead with just their nearest and dearest.
“As a celebrant we have obviously seen things change, particularly the increase in demand in streaming services for those who can watch the big day online.”
There has also been a massive financial impact on celebrants given the volume of cancellations.
Tegan added: “Being a self-employed celebrant it has been difficult, all the self-employment schemes haven’t applied to me.
“Financially it has been a hardship, so when couples have said they are going to go ahead you are so glad they are happy to proceed.
“This has also had a major benefit for local wedding companies. It has been a hard year for the sector and we are now looking ahead to see what next year has in store.
“Like many other industries we’ve had to acclimatise to the current environment, but the 2021 diary is looking busy already.
“People are saying to me they are going ahead regardless but if there is a vaccine in place by early spring it may have an impact on their numbers.”