Covid-19 & your ceremony

What if we reschedule?


If you want to reschedule, I will do everything I can to make the new date work. I’m happy to apply the work we’ve done so far and any fees to a new date. Our contract states that you can reschedule with written notice as long as I’m available. While it’s still possible I might not be available on the new date (hello, Life!), I want to assure you I will do what I can to accommodate your new date.




What if we postpone but don’t have a new date?


If you need to postpone without a new date confirmed, I will also do what I can to be available at the later date when you do know it. If there’s a particular month you’re looking into, say May 2021, but haven’t confirmed, let me know and I’m happy to get in touch if I have new inquiries and give you priority for dates in that month.




What if we must cancel?


If you cancel at any time due to constraints beyond your control (if your venue closes or the goverment restricts movement even further, for instance), I won't hold you to any remaining payments. Even if it’s 30, 15, or 2 days before your ceremony.




What if we’re super attached to our 2020 wedding date?


Assuming the option for 'social distancing' is still allowed, if the three of us are physically well and there are no prohibitions on gathering, I will happily officiate a brief personal ceremony on your original date. There are several lovely spots in the area where we can do this while maintaining good health measures if needed. We can discuss then whether you want to hold a symbolic wedding at a later date.




What if you cancel, Beth?


If I need to cancel, you’ll be returned all fees paid to date and I will make every effort to find another professional officiant to perform the ceremony. One reassurance is that I’m a member of a supportive and well-connected group of trained celebrants. Together we have a plan to try to cover committed dates even if someone didn’t start out as “our” couple. While it’s not a guarantee of availability, we may be able to extend officiating coverage to dates we’re not personally available for while you get a consistent level of skill for your ceremony.




Are online ceremonies possible?


While it’s not legal for me to marry you remotely, there are options for people to attend your ceremony remotely. If you have close family or friends with travel or health issues, we can talk about ways they can participate virtually. Several states hard-hit by the coronavirus are gradually enabling online marriages, whether that's applying for and receiving your license online, to being able to "officiate at a distance" so the couple and the officiant can be in different locations (though still in the same state). I have been in touch with City Clerks in a number of town and will share with you if this option becomes possible in Massachusetts.




What if we want to get married sooner than our original date?


If you want to get married sooner than your original date and you have a valid marriage license, get in touch and we can coordinate a day and a place. See the FAQ below "What about getting a license in this strange new world?"
If you can't get a license, unfortunately you're in a wait-and-see situation until you can apply for one.




What about existing fees we’ve paid and any unpaid fees so far?


If you’re rescheduling or postponing, the reservation fee you already paid will simply be applied to your new date. Given how unpredictable things are right now, I would suggest that you don’t make any additional payments to me until things are clearer.




What about getting a license in this strange new world?


Pay attention to whether city clerks’ offices, which issue marriage licenses, are open and processing applications. If they re-open within 60 days of your wedding day, I recommend applying for the license soon after that, assuming any health risk of doing so at that time is acceptable to you. I have been keeping a list of open clerks' offices. It changes on a weekly basis depending on the town's ability to stay open, but there have been several local options such as Concord, Wellesley, Mendon, and Middleton. If your local city hall isn't open, try calling some smaller ones within a reasonable distance. If possible, call ahead to see if they're processing the Marriage Without Delay form, so you can get a license turned around on the spot. Consider using the Marriage Without Delay form to see if you can get immediate turnaround on the license. That way if the office closes again before the standard turnaround, you'll already have your license in hand. The Boston City Clerk’s Office is appealing to the state to extend the validity of licenses up to 120 days. However, that request is probably a low priority for the MA Secretary General at the moment. I’ll let you know if I hear more about that.





First of all, I hope you are well and handling any physical risks and community concerns associated with Covid-19. You may have questions about your wedding day, which are no doubt more complex when combined with your own unique personal or family health, travel logistics, and more. 

 

My hope is that your wedding is far enough in the future that the situation will be clearer by then and you can feel confident about your choices. However, you may be faced with making choices sooner than you’d like. For that reason I want to proactively let you know my plan in terms of your ceremony. 

 

For now, I’m not taking on any new ceremonies in 2020 or 2021 until either all the couples I’ve planned to marry in 2020 have rescheduled their dates with confidence, OR December 2020. What I hope this allows you to do is plan a new date without feeling additional pressure to schedule me before someone else does. For more specific questions, check out the FAQs below.

While there are too many variables unique to your situation for me to offer you any advice in terms of whether you should continue as planned, postpone, or cancel, I encourage you to look on this as a major curve ball that allows you to work together at your very best.   

 

I’m sorry this threatens such a big change in plans and I hope things work out. Know that I am moving forward as if they will. Please be in touch if you have other questions or creative solutions that help you feel good about any changes. 

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© 2020 Beth Stokes