As I write this, just about the whole of the world is reeling from the effects of the Coronavirus, or COVID-19.
Unsurprisingly, lockdown measures, self-isolating and social distancing are having a huge impact on every aspect of our lives and if you’re planning any kind of ceremony in the next few weeks or months, you’ll be feeling that especially keenly.
So the first thing I want to say, if this is you, is that I’m so sorry.
Like, bigtime sucks.
I hear you. I feel you. I’m sending you enormous hugs.
Yes, I know the most important thing is our health. Yes, there are worse things happening to other people. But there’s also a very real grief to be acknowledged here. Grief for the events we’ve had to put on hold, for the plans that won’t ever get to fruition and for the send-offs that will have to be much less spectacular than your loved one deserved. Grief for the in-person connectedness that ceremony brings.
So please, be gentle with yourself. Make a cuppa in your favourite mug and crack open a packet of chocolate biscuits.
Meanwhile, here’s the lowdown on what will happen if you’re working with me over the next few months:
Whilst social distancing is still in place, any sort of ceremony meeting will take place either over the phone or Zoom. I’ve upgraded my Zoom subscription so several people can call in from different locations if you’d like to. This is especially useful for funeral planning.
I’m also happy to use Skype, FaceTime, HouseParty, WhatsApp video, thought transference, smoke signals or carrier pigeons if you’d like (though those last three are a little more tricksy to use, I find). We can still share a virtual brew and I really don’t mind if you’re in your PJs.
Weddings and vow renewals
I’ve been in touch with all my lovely 2020 couples over the past 10 days or so and most of you have chosen to postpone your dates to later this year or into 2021. If you are unsure of what happens next or you have ANY problems, worries or concerns about your ceremony with me, please get in touch. Don’t forget you can also check out all the Ts and Cs on your personal client portal (I sent you the link when you booked but please shout if you need me to send it again).
And hey, let’s throw an ‘original date’ virtual pre-wedding celebration on Zoom. Give me a bell and let’s plot and scheme!
If you’ve booked with me for a wedding or vow renewal next year or beyond, or you’re looking to book me, it’s business as usual here at Creating Ceremony Towers. Please get in touch – give me a call or drop me a line and let’s talk ceremony plans together!
The thing that I’m finding most heart-wrenching about this whole Coronavirus affair is the funerals. Over the past week I’ve conducted several funerals where there was a huge celebration of life planned which ended up having to be a handful of people in a chapel or by a graveside. Unable to hug each other or even stand close at a time when we crave human connection the most, it has been incredibly difficult for the families and I’m not ashamed to say I’ve cried several times because of it.
Crematoria have differing rules about the number allowed in their chapels. At the time of writing (30/3), Worthing Crematorium is limiting attendees to the following (although this is subject to change as things progress):
- Children (and partners)
I am proud to work closely with a few funeral directors who have small chapels available for ceremonies too. They will be working under similar restrictions at this time. HD Tribe can webcast from their chapels in Broadwater and Shoreham, which enables more people to be able to take part, albeit virtually.
There are times when, due to self-isolation, a change of the guidelines or similar, you might not be able to attend the funeral of your closest loved-ones. Many families are opting for a direct cremation in this instance, followed by a memorial later in the year. If this is something you would like me to help with, it would be my honour to help you plan it.
I am also offering the option of a ‘virtual funeral’, instead of or as well as a memorial. Powered by the Zoom platform, it gives the opportunity for people to attend online. Tributes or readings can be given by loved ones, music can be played and we can include a slideshow too, if you would like. There’s even the opportunity to chat together afterwards, as you would at a wake. If you are interested in this option, please either get in touch yourself or ask your funeral director to call me.
What if I am ill?
In the event I become ill or have to self-isolate, I have a number of wonderful celebrant colleagues on whom I can call. They will deliver the ceremony we have created together and you won’t be liable for any extra cost.
We WILL get through this 😃
If Coronavirus has taught us anything already, it’s about how important connection is and how creative, resourceful and downright kind we can all be in a crisis. It has taught us that, like a trusty supply of loo roll, we must never take our loved ones for granted. And that is a great reason to spend this time in lockdown planning a mahoosive celebration of and with those loved ones.
Stay well, stay calm, keep smiling. And if you want to distract yourself from scrolling through your news feed for the millionth time today, call me and let’s talk about your ideas for the best ceremony ever when all this is over.