As we head further into unchartered territory with COVID-19, many couples have had to make the tough decision to postpone their wedding plans. While they are understandably devastated – many couples have decided to still hold a small, virtual ceremony on what was meant to be their wedding date.

With platforms such as Zoom and Google Meet, you can easily broadcast your ceremony to as many people as you want – reaching across the country and even the globe. What makes this awesome, is that you may be able to include guests that wouldn’t have otherwise been able to make it. So, whether you are choosing to hold a legal ceremony now and a vow renewal later, or, a symbolic ceremony now and postpone the party – here are some things to keep in mind.

Hosting a virtual event is fairly straight forward, simply provide your guests with a link to the chat room through e-mail. Designate a family member to help your elderly relatives get set up and you’re all set!

Given the uncertainty surrounding social gatherings, public health restrictions and the closure of marriage registrar offices due to the pandemic, we suggest checking your municipal by-laws as well as with your officiant to see what steps need to be taken to make sure everything is above board.

Virtual Weddings

Are marriage licenses being issued at the moment?

If you already have your marriage license, you may be able to have a legal marriage however keep in mind that marriage licenses expire after 90 days, so if yours expires you will need to check with your municipality for next steps once they re-open. As of right now, marriage registrar offices are closed in Ontario. In some places however they will issue licenses on an urgent case-by-case basis – unfortunately, this does not include COVID-19. If you cannot get a marriage license, you will have to wait to have your legal ceremony until after the pandemic is over.

Can we hold a small ceremony/elope during COVID-19?

Some officiants are willing to conduct a ceremony with only five people (an officiant, the couple and two witnesses) keeping six feet apart and abiding by city by-laws. If a couple really wants to get married now, some wedding planning companies are facilitating an elopement while following public health guidelines and city by-laws. Whereby the photographer and wedding planner act as witnesses, set up a live stream and provide an officiant. Before proceeding, make sure to check your local guidelines and take all the necessary precautions to ensure you are not breaking any laws.

What are some alternatives?

As your original date approaches, have fun with it! Pamper yourself with an at home mani-pedi; a facemask and a virtual girls night with your maids. On the day, get dressed up, pop the bubbly and order your favourite food for take-out. Gather your nearest and dearest in a video chatroom for a virtual happy hour and a toast. You can even write a little speech for the occasion.