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Covid19 Outdoor Ontario Weddings During Lockdown – Practical Tips for the Best Experiences.

Everyone is aware of the basics. Wear masks, bring hand sanitizer, keep household members in their own bubbles, social distance, and check on the regional wedding guidelines. Here are 12 Must Know Tips that haven’t been talked about, and will definitely save your outdoor mini wedding from disaster.

  1. Pens: Limited contact means bringing your own pens to sign the licence and Wedding Registrar. I highly recommend skipping the fancy wedding pens and getting a gel or felt pen as they are not as likely to freeze up.

  2. Mat: Bring a colourful mat to stand on. This not only adds a punch of colour to your ceremony site, but it will keep your feet warmer than standing in the snow, and let’s your guests know where to gather around.

  3. Phone: Ensure that you and your guests charge your phones beforehand for photos. The cold weather can burn your batteries quickly.

  4. Video: Create a foam protector to fit around your phone when using Zoom or other video platforms to include more guests at your ceremony virtually. This not only keeps the battery warm, but protects it from the elements if it starts snowing.

  5. Professional Photographers: Make friends with a professional wedding photographer. They are not currently allowed to provide wedding services, but family and friends can. The photographer can also act as a witness when numbers are low. This not only provides you with great photos of your special moment, but it makes your Officiant happy. Why? Because they are less likely, as pros, to forget Covid19 safety guidelines and they keep their distance. Family and friends get so excited to take the photo they creep up on the Officiant. Professionals have the equipment to take great photos from a distance.

  6. Expresspost Envelopes: Bring $20 dollars or a regional Expresspost envelope from Canada Post for the Officiant to mail in your licence to the Office of the Registrar General in Thunder Bay. So many people are currently shopping online and regular mail has been delayed over the year. This envelope is trackable, will get there in a timely manner, and offers a heavier stock cover so the licence won’t get damaged.

  7. Guest Guidance: Besides setting clear expectations for your guests to adhere to health guidelines, creating sections or markers in the snow will let your guests know where to stand and help keep them in their household groups. This can be done with mats in the snow in a circular fashion around the ceremony site. At the Toronto Music Gardens, one of my couples had pegs in the ground with family names. It not only makes your guests feel welcomed, but it also clearly demonstrates your efforts to meet the current city by-laws.

  8. Check Park Permits: Over the year, the city has been closed and was not offering permits for city-owned park spaces. This has changed throughout the year, and may change at the time of your ceremony. Stay up-to-date and check to avoid disruptions on your big day.

  9. Take Cover: Choose outdoor spaces that have an awning or covering that will, in the very least, protect the paperwork when being signed.

  10. Dress Appropriately: Wear comfortable footwear. Even the shortest ceremonies seem longer if your feet are cold. Make this suggestion to your guests as well as some locations may not have the snow cleared and it could be unsafe to walk through.

  11. Officiant: Although you and your guests may be in your own bubble, your Officiant is not. They are meeting with other couples, so for your own safety and theirs, maintain your distance at all times. This is especially common when you are in your own backyard environments.

And finally, for indoor or outdoor weddings this year….

12. Ontario Marriage Licence: City Halls have limited the number of people who can enter the building to pick up the marriage licence. Couples have been taking the licence home and getting their future spouse to sign the section they signed with the clerk called Part 2. DO NOT sign this. It renders the licence ‘errored’, and it gets sent back to the city where it was issued to get fixed. This can greatly delay the processing of the marriage licence and your request for the marriage certificate.