Getting married during Covid-19
Drive by weddings, Zoom weddings and more
Many couples who planned a spring wedding a year ago have been confronted with the wedding industry coming to an abrupt halt due to Covid-19. But the determination of some to get married during this time of social distancing and stay at home orders has only increased. Through adaptation and creative thinking couples are still getting married in creative ways.
When we flatten the curve and things seemingly get back to a new normal, will these marriages officially be legal? One of the unique ways folks are continuing on with their big day is virtual weddings. Virtual weddings are weddings that the guests, officiant, and witness attend online through a video meeting platform like Zoom, Facebook Live, or Instagram Live. This is a great way to exchange vows and have people share in the experience, but the internet is not a legally binding entity and to have a wedding be legally binding, the couple, two witnesses and an officiant must all be physically present. If, for instance, your household includes five people right now, you could legally marry as long as one of those people can become certified as an officiant online. You can always have virtual guests, but the five main players must be there in person.
A drive-in wedding is a creative option depending on what Covid-19-related orders are in effect in your state. A couple in Iowa are planning a drive-in wedding the second weekend in April. The couple will be on an outdoor stage while the cars will be parked at angles to see them get married, just like a drive-in movie. In states with only a social distancing order, this works well, doesn’t break any rules and is legally binding.
Because of Washington’s stay at home order, some folks with larger families at home have turned to drive by weddings. In this case, this can be legal if one person in the family is certified as an officiant. Additionally, the couple needs to be present, along with two witnesses. The ceremony can be performed at home and, at a set time, folks can drive by honking horns with, perhaps, cars decorated with signs of well-wishes. In Washington state, some recorder’s offices like King County’s have remained open and folks can continue to get marriage licenses. Some judges are continuing to perform ceremonies as well. Unfortunately, many counties are not issuing marriage certificates at this time.
With a little innovation and creativity we can still make important vows, celebrate together (virtually) and have fun. Sometimes letting go of expectations can result in a really unexpectedly beautiful and present wedding day.