Dreams and disappointments
The coronavirus outbreak affects everything and everyone, including couples due to marry when strict social distancing policies are in place. All that time planning and dreaming about your wedding day, and now it can’t happen. You will be left with lots of questions and lots of emotions.
When can my wedding go ahead?
At the moment, weddings can’t go ahead. It’s not known when this will change either. Your wedding will need to be postponed for another date much further into the future, perhaps next year, and your vicar will be pleased to negotiate this with you.
What about the banns?
Under normal circumstances, banns usually happen before a wedding can take place, and your names would be read out in a church service on three occasions before the wedding. Because churches are closed until further notice, banns are currently not possible. With all the uncertainty, you may wish to postpone your wedding until a much later date – talk to your vicar about this, who can help you decide.
Can I postpone?
Yes, and you must now do so if your wedding is imminent. Talk to your vicar about available dates later in the year or next year as soon as you can. The vicar will be juggling lots of requests at this time, so do talk to them for help.
When should I postpone to?
It’s not yet known when weddings will be allowed to go ahead again. If you want to provisionally postpone it until later in the year, this would have to be on the understanding that any booking has been made pending further government advice.
What about banns for weddings later in the year?
Again, it’s not clear when it will be possible to do banns again (because churches need to be open for them to be done and there is no indication yet of when they will reopen). You can talk to your vicar about alternatives to having banns read, which would be either a Common Licence or a Special Licence. Whether you could have one of these needs to be assessed on a case by case basis and you should talk to your vicar closer to the time of your wedding. They’ll be checking national Church of England advice and will be able to let you know when things change.
Are banns or weddings possible by video link?
No. It is not possible under English law for a wedding to take place using video conferencing technology without the couple, vicar and witnesses being physically present.
What if I do decide to cancel?
You may want to put your wedding completely on hold until things are much clearer. If you cancel a church wedding, the fees are fully refundable.
This prayer may be helpful as you re-think your wedding plans:
Surround us this day with your presence;
Be with us in our disappointment and help us to be wise
As we re-think our wedding plans.
Sustain us in our love for one another,
And hold all whom we love in your great love.