Wedding Roles

Wedding Roles

I hesitate every time I sit down to pen a blog about weddings these days. Will it be relevant to you, my reader? And what COVID-19 regulation is going to spring up and invalidate my comment?

To be fair, even before March, things had been evolving in the wedding world. The bride wearing white was no longer a given. Some chose to marry at the seashore. Many were writing their own vows.

So I’m not going to be prescriptive, but I’d like to define the roles that could be played at weddings post-2020. And I’m making no assumptions about social distancing.

Bride and Groom

There’s a little positive stuff for the couple to do apart from just turning up and “tying the knot”.

The bride will not normally be around when the guests arrive, so it should be down to the groom to welcome them. Otherwise, he will wait with the celebrant for his bride to sweep in.

He may have a few things to say during the ceremony, but his main role, apart from that, will be to give a speech at the reception – if there is one at all.

The bride will be the star of the show, of course. She should relish the attention!

Depending on arrangements (and social distancing), the couple should try and speak to every guest at some point during the event. At the least, they should thank their guests for attending.

These days, the bride may deliver a speech too (another example of the evolution I spoke of).

The couple may well have at least the first dance together.

Bride’s Father

The bride’s father’s role (apart from a financial one, possibly!) may well be to welcome the guests at the start of the reception.

He should keep it short, say how happy he is this day and thank the guests for coming.

Best Man

Nowadays (further evolution!) you can come across “Best Women”, but I hope I will be forgiven, if I refer only to “Best Man” for simplicity’s sake.

The Best Man may play a minor role – the minimum of his tasks is normally to liaise between the groom and the venue or suppliers. He may also have to do something on spec, like fetching a glass of water for the groom. He should generally look after the groom and help him control his nerves.

Additionally, he may serve as a toastmaster (“please assemble for the photographs now” etc.).

The Best Man’s main public role is normally giving the speech at the reception. Though groom-centred, it should not omit mention of the bride, if at all possible. If all the talk is about the groom, there is a risk of excluding about half the guests after a while.

The Best Man should aim at about 10 minutes, and, although humour is more than welcome, malicious, crude or controversial comments are not.

Other roles

I am not going to do more than mention flower-girls, bridesmaids or ushers. They will probably not be able to play a part in most weddings for the foreseeable future (or even longer).

So there it is.

Roles may matter to you, depending on how traditional you want your ceremony to be, but, if you are having them, then it’s good to honour friends and/or relatives by sharing them out judiciously.

Do make sure they understand your expectations, though!

Don’t forget that you can always have a chat with your celebrant, if you’re not sure how to go about things.

COVID-19 Musings

COVID-19 Musings

I make no apology for adding a few random thoughts to the thousands of COVID-19-related posts already published. It’s a pandemic, after all, so we can’t help but be affected in some way. Moreover, nobody really knows what will happen next.

I am a civil celebrant, not a doctor. My thoughts may not resonate as sensible or practical. Things are moving very quickly. What I say today may be invalid by tomorrow. However, here goes.


From my perspective, I am currently still being asked to conduct funerals. At my latest, I had planned to invite the mourners to use discretion and be aware of the possible consequences of making physical contact with each other. However, as soon as they met, they fell into each others’ arms, so there was no point. It’s a difficult one, because a funeral is so emotive, and touch can be so welcome, even necessary.

For my part, I apologised individually, but declined physical contact.

It may well be that funerals as we know them will be suspended in favour of direct cremation, say. That means that there would be no ceremony whatsoever (although a memorial service could be organised for when things have calmed down).

At the moment, I am contacting families by phone and giving them the option of discussing the Order of Service in their home or by phone/Skype etc. Nobody has asked me to make the house call, but if I did, I would again decline physical contact with them, and would take precautions, such as not eating or drinking anything, and use plenty of hand wash.


At the time of writing, gatherings of more than 40 people are being discouraged. That may very well impact on weddings, vow renewals, namings and the like. The latter two could probably be postponed without too much trauma, as they usually entail much less planning than a wedding.

Weddings are likely to be bigger and to have been planned from a year or so back. Deposits will have been paid, at the very least, and cancellation penalties may exist in the terms and conditions of some suppliers. Hopefully, such penalties will not be invoked under the circumstances, and insurance cover may be in place anyway.

I think that the next two weeks will see the virus peak over here, and, hopefully, after that, normality will be restored, at least gradually. My advice to couples is not to panic and don’t cancel unless you are told to. You have more chance of being reimbursed if you respond to the government instructions, rather than assuming the worst and second-guessing. True, you want to give maximum notice to guests, but these are unique circumstances. It may be worthwhile getting in contact with them, though, to reassure them that they are not forgotten.

So “wait and see” is my advice, frustrating as it may be, and hope and pray that the gods will be with you.

At the very least, you’ll probably have some stories to tell your grandchildren one day …!