As of today, most of us, including couples and wedding professionals are already aware of the severity of Coronavirus and how the crisis has affected all of us in some ways. We have been receiving emails and messages everyday to postpone their weddings to 2021. Here in B.C., is it still possible to legalize marriage or have a ceremony during the COVID-19 pandemic?
Read more from BCCDC: Frequently Asked Questions about 2019 Novel Coronavirus (COVID-19)
The provincial health officer encourages everyone to practice physical distancing to limit transmission of COVID-19. These efforts are not forever but are important now. Family gatherings, like weddings, that have less than 50 people are still considered too high risk right now and must be cancelled or postponed.
However, while restrictions on gatherings are in place, couples wishing to proceed with a legal marriage ceremony may do so with a marriage officiant and two witnesses in attendance. Additional guests can be added only if you and the officiant are comfortable with the situation. If there is a way of including a greater number of people from a distance, Offciants do have the flexibility to work with the couple to plan an appropriate and safe ceremony.
HOW WILL WE DO OUR PART TO ADVOCATE FOR THE SAFETY OF YOURSELF, THE PUBLIC, AND THE WEDDING PARTY?
We are aware that performing a marriage ceremony is essential, and the law of British Columbia permits it, beyond simply monitoring the situation, we are also taking active measures below, for the safety of yourself, the public, and the wedding party:
To minimize the gathering size, we are offering elopement & helicopter elopement service only during this time, until the provincial health officer's orders are lifted.
We have been sanitizing and cleaning our stationery before & after each ceremony.
From recent studies we now know Coronavirus can spread between people interacting in close proximity, for example, speaking, coughing, or sneezing, even if those people are not exhibiting symptoms. So officiant will wear a N99 grade reusable mask to protect you.
Each person will sign legal documents separately while maintaining social distance. We will place colour coded stickers to direct you where to sign.
Extra care in handling the documents and employ proper hand washing or sanitizing at all times.
WHAT WE NEED FROM YOU:
We are all in this together. We British Columbians must respect the provincial health officer’s orders. Just as anything in life, success is not one directional. These are some steps that we recommend if you decide to elope or legalize the marriage:
The ceremony should preferably take place outside (avoid meeting indoors if at all possible).
Everyone must maintain a physical distancing of at least 6-8 feet during the ceremony. (except the couple)
Wear a mask and ask the other participants to as well. Please be aware that anyone could be an asymptomatic virus carrier, wearing a mask can protect others from catching the virus via droplets. "I Protect You, You Protect Me."
Each person brings their own pen for signing the documents.
You must inform all participants about your precautionary measures. If you hire a photographer, please ask him/her to contact us so that we can discuss and make action plans ahead.
CAN WE MARRY YOU VIRTUALLY IN BRITISH COLUMBIA, CANADA?
We are sorry, the answer is NO. Under the Marriage Act the marriage must be solemnized with both parties to the marriage present in person and two witnesses – and it cannot be done virtually or remotely.
Therefore, at this time, it is important to keep up with News and Updates from the Province regarding what’s happening. If the Province still allows gathering up to a certain amount, it is still LEGAL to have your elopements or intimate wedding, however, that doesn’t mean we are free and safe from Coronavirus. Just something you have to keep in mind since the decision now is on you.