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A Celebrant’s Top 5 Tips For Your Covid-19 Wedding

Getting married during Covid-19? No beating around the bush, this has been a challenge and something completely new for couples and the whole industry to navigate. Sydney-based celebrant Gary of Marry Us Gary has some thoughtful ways to guarantee you and your guests have a good time, regardless of any Covid-19 restrictions. What a legend. We hope this helps ease your mind.

Here are his thoughts…

Planning a wedding ceremony has become a very slippery fish due to unpredictable Covid-19 restrictions. But rest assured, you can still have a fab wedding with all the love and feels if you decide to go ahead. Numbers may be reduced, but your ceremony will still be very much the same. Strip it back and focus on what really matters most – your love for one another! A beautiful day shared with friends and fam – the flowers, the food and the frock. Here are some tips to keep your wedding on track and make it an unforgettable day:

1. Decide on how you would like to be congratulated

Pre-ceremony I warm up the audience before the bride or groom’s entrance down the aisle. I go over all the Covid-19 housekeeping: announce social distancing recommendations, remind the guests to wash their hands and to sit/stand with their household members – and kindly remind anyone who is feeling ill to get out of there pronto! I will also inform the crowd how you (the couple) would like to be welcomed as newlyweds.

Depending on what you’re comfortable with, that could be simply smiles and verbal congratulations or elbow bumps / foot taps instead. It is the couple who set the tone for what they expect of their guests. Often it is also a good idea to put these expectations on the wedding website or invites, alternatively you could also send an email a few days before the wedding.

2. Live stream

For many couples with overseas or interstate guests who can’t make the day, live streaming is a great option. Set up an iPhone or iPad on a tripod and Zoom or FaceTime them in! They’ll see and hear the whole ceremony in real time – my PA system is loud enough for them to hear – and they can even chat to the other guests afterwards.

I experienced this at one of my recent weddings – the bride’s sister was FaceTiming from France! After the ceremony, the iPad was set up on a table and everyone came by for a chat.

3. Social distancing

If you want to avoid some awkward social situations for your guests, a great option is coloured wristbands. Guests choose a colour based on their preferences regarding physical contact and interaction. Green = I’m cool with high fives and handshakes; yellow = happy to chat but no touching; red = I would prefer to keep my distance. Simple! The wristbands come individually wrapped and signs show what each colour means. Guests can collect them as they arrive at the ceremony. This is a great little trick to save your guests from awkward moments.

4. Dancing

The toughest challenge I am seeing couples deal with on the day is how to tackle the reception. This is where the restrictions become the most… ahem, restrictive. Venue management staff don’t want to be party poopers, but they definitely have to follow the government guidelines to keep everyone safe and also to avoid hefty fines.

The “No Dancing” rule has recently been changed in NSW to allow 20 people to dance (this varies by state). This one is tricky because who doesn’t love a party on the D-Floor? Haha! However for now in NSW this is restricted to your Bridal Party and Parents. We encourage you to keep chatting with your team and keep a firm eye on your relevant state government websites for updates and changes.

5. Hire an MC and a band…or a magician?

Having an experienced MC is a great option to keep the evening running smoothly without any lulls. Increasing the number of speeches (from your standard four or five) can often help too. An MC can facilitate story sharing and possibly even run a few games such as trivia about the couple.

If you have a band it can be experienced more as a seated live-music gig, which can still create a fun and celebratory atmosphere. Magicians are also becoming popular to entertain your wedding guests!

Think outside the box to make your reception an evening of (seated) entertainment, good food and celebration. My tip: bring in the professionals (otherwise Aunt Penelope’s solo and Dave-from-next-door’s slurry speech might drag on a little long…).

6. Stay positive and practise gratitude

It may seem like a bit of a bummer that not everything will be the way you imagined it but try to let it go and enjoy your wedding day. It was only a few months ago that we couldn’t have a wedding at all! So a big yay to things moving in the right direction. Seriously imagine telling the grandkids you were married in 2020 during a global pandemic, Just remember – it’s the celebration of your love that will make your wedding unforgettable.


If you want to get in touch with Gary for your own day of good times, check out his WS profile here.  Keep stalking our Real Weddings too, we are bringing you the latest in 2020 weddings to inspire and showcase couples having their best day with no regrets.

Hero image by Idlewild 

22nd October, 2020

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