The Celebrants Network Inc - BLOG
More Blog posts can be found in the Blog Categories to the right.
2020 - What a year! Sonia Collins, Celebrant and Chairperson of The Celebrants Network Inc looks back on how celebrants were affected this year.
The signs were not good as we approached the start of 2020. Devastating bush fires had been raging across the drought-stricken landscape for many weeks and celebrants had been dealing with cancellations, changed arrangements and transferring ceremonies to other colleagues due to many road closures.
Helpful hints were shared on our forum as celebrants faced unexpected new challenges.
All celebrations to welcome in the New Year - 2020 were largely abandoned as deadly bushfire, dense smoke, heat, power outages and communications failures impacted much of the nation. If you weren’t in an affected area you were riveted to the horrifying news coverage. Fire, flooding and hail storms battered the country throughout much of January and February.
The normally busy summer wedding season was in tatters.
By the beginning of March things seemed more settled as we moved towards the popular late summer and autumn wedding season. Then a few questions started to come up on our member forum about precautions we should take as celebrants in the light of the coronavirus that was emerging around the country and the world. We also started to see panic buying and shortages in the shops.
Mid March saw the formation of National Cabinet to respond to coronavirus and the sudden cancellation of the Australian Grand Prix. Quite suddenly things changed, we carefully monitored and shared the rapidly changing advice. By the last week of March borders started closing, pubs, clubs and restaurants were shut down, and on 26 March weddings were reduced to 5 people including the celebrant and funerals to 10 mourners.
As celebrants, we dealt with many upset people in the ensuing months. Couples had to reschedule weddings – the optimistic ones moved to a spring date, others deferred by a year or more. Funerals were heartbreaking – how do you keep numbers to 10 and still have a fitting farewell for a loved one?
From 1st April onwards the realities of Covid-19 really hit home as we endured lock-downs, travel bans, homeschooling children while working from home, unemployment or underemployment, constantly changing restrictions and the collapse of business for most celebrants. All this along with concerns about our own health and the health of those we love as well as our clients.
From adversity comes opportunity and for many celebrants 2020 has been a period to take stock, update knowledge and resources, refresh and learn new skills. These topics have been a major feature of our member forum discussions over the past few months. We shared ideas for updating our terms and conditions. We shared knowledge and information even more than usual because other sources such as BDMs and the MLCS were not as readily available as usual. Financial burdens were eased a little when the government announced we would not have to pay our annual registration charge.
As restrictions eased in places some ceremonies went ahead as planned. Armed with masks, sanitiser, and Covid plans, celebrants found that many couples were embracing the idea of a small, intimate and deeply personal wedding ceremony – perhaps a new trend has started in 2020. Many of us conducted ceremonies that were live-streamed to friends and relations around the world.
"Can you hear me?" and “You’re on mute” have been a catch-cries as we enthusiastically took to Zoom to enhance our knowledge and our connections with other celebrants. Our association has run a number of fabulous professional development activities using Zoom. We continued to produce a wide range of communications such as our blogs, social media posts and regular newsletters. Above all there has been a strong sense of community and support within our network which has kept us positive and looking forward to better times ahead.
I suspect there will be few people that regret 2020 coming to an end. This year has taken a toll on so many people even though we know that we have been fortunate to be in Australia rather than other worse affected countries. The new “normal” will not be the same as we had in 2019 but as celebrants we look forward to working with and celebrating with couples and families as they mark the important milestones in their lives.
Best wishes for a happy, healthy, safe and peaceful 2021. Celebrants from The Celebrants Network are ready to help you celebrate.
Hope all the members have a really good 2021. I really enjoy the daily blog and what a huge amount of commitment to be there everyday. Special thanks and love to all who are responsible. Sonia you are such a legend and always there whenever any of us need you. Thank-you seems inadequate but it is from the heart. I would be lost without TCN