Alba and Steve’s humanist wedding was due to take place in August 2020. But, like so many wedding plans last year, theirs were disrupted by the covid-19 pandemic.
Rules on gatherings kept changing, but it didn’t stop them getting hitched!
The flexibility of a humanist wedding meant their outdoor ceremony could be safe, socially distanced – and beamed live to guests in Spain.
There should have been a hundred guests at Steve and Alba’s wedding. In addition to their English guests, they had also invited friends and family from Spain and Germany. Postponing their wedding would have been a devastating blow. But, thanks to their humanist celebrant, Rachael Meyer, their wedding went ahead!
Alba and Steve were prepared to wait to have a big, bespoke wedding ceremony. What they didn’t want to do was wait to be legally married. So, with the help of their celebrant, they decided to have a two-part wedding.
‘Part One’ would be their basic legal marriage ceremony, attended by two witnesses. This would be followed later the same day by a mini-version of their humanist ceremony. Alba’s mum would walk her down the aisle, and take part in a handfasting ceremony. Part Two – the big wedding – would then take place in 2022.
But, ten days before the wedding (Part One), the UK Government brought in self-isolation rules for travellers from Spain. For Alba’s family, this meant they would not be able to attend the humanist wedding (Part One).
Virtual wedding guests
Alba and Steve’s celebrant explained that, although Alba’s family couldn’t attend in person, the flexibility of a humanist ceremony meant they could attend via video. And so the couple hired a professional photographer/video producer to make it happen.
On their wedding day, seventeen socially distanced guests attended the outdoor ceremony. Alba’s family in Spain watched via Zoom and Steve’s nan and grandad watched via FaceTime.
An inclusive handfasting ceremony
The celebrant arranged for the bride’s mother to say a few words to Alba as part of the handfasting ceremony. (And, she had a translation ready for the non-Spanish-speaking guests.)
At the end of the handfasting ceremony, Steve and Alba ‘tied the knot’. The ribbons they used were red, white, yellow, blue, and black. These represented the colours of the Spanish, British, and German flags.
Two guests read out surprise messages from friends who couldn’t be there on the day.
Part One: Celebrant’s view
‘It was a team effort getting the technology right before the arrival of the bride and groom.
‘Including Alba’s family and Steve’s grandparents via laptops was touching. We had a few tears of emotion as well as a lot of laughter. It was so joyful – in amongst the serious business of love and commitment.
‘The ceremony area was beautifully decorated with bunting and flowers. And, even though guests sat in their ‘covid bubbles’, everyone felt involved and close to the action.’
Part One: Couple’s view
Alba and Steve said:
‘It’s never going to be easy not having your family with you on your wedding day. But, using laptops and a live video link was the next best thing.
‘Having Rachael lead our humanist ceremony was an incredible honour. The script that she wrote for us was personal, moving, and hilarious. It perfectly encapsulated our story and feelings for each other.
‘Rachael was instrumental in creating the best day of our lives. We cannot wait until the next one!’
Part Two: A re-wedding
The beauty of a humanist ceremony is that no two are the same. The ceremony in 2022 will include a reflection on the first wedding day, Steve and Alba’s love story, vow renewals, and additional symbolic acts.
Their love will have deepened through living together as husband and wife for two years. And ‘Part Two’ will be all the more poignant as a result.
Thank you to Alba and Steve for sharing their story with us and to Sira Studios for kind permission to use the photographs.
Rachael Meyer creatives unique, memorable humanist wedding ceremonies in Harrogate, Leeds, North Yorkshire, and The Yorkshire Dales.
Humanist wedding ceremonies
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