Celebrations going ahead

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Celebrants are still offering their services despite the Covid-19 restrictions.

Oamaru celebrant Sally Cattle said she and her colleagues were trying to accommodate everyone in lockdown, offering services for major life events including weddings, funerals, memorials, and baby-naming ceremonies.

Mrs Cattle has set up systems for online alternatives to traditional marriages and funerals, and can tailor arrangements to suit each situation.

A couple can become legally married when the celebrant is present with them, she said.

“Within my boundaries, I can go and marry them. Their guests can be on Zoom.”

When she and the couple could not be at the same venue, an online ceremony could still be held but the couple would not be legally married at that time.

She knew of couples who had ditched their wedding plans and got married in their front room instead during the lockdown.

Mrs Cattle officiated at a wedding the weekend before the lockdown began, with a reduced number of guests.

She had no more weddings scheduled until October and did not yet know if they would go ahead as originally planned.

Mrs Cattle ran a live-streamed funeral with 10 attendees this week, working with funeral directors to comply with families’ wishes.

Memorials were likely to be held after regulations were relaxed for many people who suffered a bereavement during lockdown, she said.

“I’m hoping I can help people.

“It’s stressful for everybody.”

Ceremonies such as funerals and memorials were often an important part of the grieving process, Mrs Cattle said.

An online funeral could still include people from all over the world, who could see it in real time or log on when they were able to.

“I feel there is an answer,” Mrs Cattle said.

“It’s a new world. We can find a way – it may not be the traditional way we know, but it can still be inclusive.”

Mrs Cattle was expecting “a bit of a baby boom” several months after the lockdown and expected increased demand for naming ceremonies.

Family celebrations could mean even more in the future as we now realised the importance of being connected, she said,

“I hope we can all get together.”