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Does social distancing hurt communication? Here are 3 ways wedding officiants can connect with couples.

Published Tuesday, Dec. 8th, 2020

Illustrations by Jessica Levey

Our most recent survey of AMM ministers tells us that a large portion of officiants are still struggling to connect with couples this season. The cause, of course, is the necessary social distancing needed to slow the current Coronavirus spread. 


44% of surveyed officiants said that the communication and ceremony creation process had been hindered by social distancing. 


This makes sense, because even this far into the pandemic, we’re all still adjusting. With several vaccines on the horizon, things will eventually get easier, but we still have several months — and lots and lots of weddings — to go. 


Thankfully, we can communicate, create, and connect with each other without throwing caution to the wind.


We know this because 56% of officiants say they’ve seen no negative impact, or no impact at all, in communication while social distancing with couples. This makes us happy to hear!



Pie chart graph of how social distancing effects weddings officiants communication wedding planning during COVID-19, corona, virus


Location, timing, and access to technology may all make a difference in how officiants experience the impacts of social distancing. 



Here are 3 tools wedding officiants can use while working with couples to keep everyone safe, happy, and close in spirit until things return to normal next year.



1. Embrace virtual meetings and brainstorming sessions 


Virtual meetings aren’t impersonal anymore. Business has long embraced video conferencing, but now the rest of the world has too. First dates, book clubs, happy hours, holiday dinners, even nights at the museum and concerts have moved online. 


As we become more comfortable with the use of screens for our day to day conversations and hangouts, our connections grow more intimate, not less. 


Recommend frequent virtual meetings, more frequent than you would in-person, and approach them just like your face-to-face meetings. 


(Tip: If you have spouses, children, pets, or roommates that make it hard to concentrate, or if you’re worried about couples seeing a messy room in your home, find a quiet corner to talk, use headphones, and choose a virtual background for privacy.)



2. Meet outside


If you’re lucky enough to live in an area with temperate or sunny winters and springs, move all your in-person meetings outdoors. The increased airflow will help keep folks safer, and spending time in nature is guaranteed to improve everyone’s mood. 


When meeting with couples planning an outdoor ceremony, you can even use this time to see the venue in advance.



illustration of cloth mask, social distancing during wedding planning in pandemic, how to perform marriage during COVID-19, first time officiant, officiate weddings


3. Keep spirits and energy high: Speak candidly and focus on the positive


If you find that communicating with couples is strained because you’re tired of talking about the pandemic, and don’t want to add to anyone’s anxieties, stress, or fatigue (including your own), we completely understand. 


It’s safe to guess that most of the planet is tired of talking about COVID-19. This crisis has taken a kind of ongoing global attention and patience that few things in our modern world require. It’s not surprising that most people would like to talk about something (anything) else — especially when there’s a joyful wedding to plan. And thankfully, there is an end to social distancing projected in the not-so-distant future. 


Still, we need to continue talking about the risks of COVID-19 until they’re gone. But we can keep our spirits and energy high by focusing on the positive, too — marriage! 


To accomplish both, we recommend speaking candidly about risk, asking direct questions about couples’ safety and comfort levels, and then focusing on the love and community that marriage symbolizes. The good stuff! 


For more tips:

Read How to talk about COVID-19 wedding ceremony safety without making it weird, for wedding officiants and couples, and then check out Safe Ceremony Planning -- How Wedding Officiants Can Still Get to Know a Couple While Social Distancing for more tips on how to meet up while planning a wedding.


See the full results of our Fall 2020 AMM COVID-19 Wedding Officiant Report to see how officiants across the country are adapting and find out what we expect weddings will look like in 2021

Jessica Levey
Jessica Levey

Lead Staff Writer & Illustrator

Jessica loves exploring the history and magic of ritual, the connections between people and places, and sharing true stories about love and commitment. She's an advocate for marriage equality, LGBTQ+ rights, and individuality, and is an ordained Minister with AMM. When she’s not writing or illustrating for AMM, she enjoys city hikes, fantasy novels, comics, and traveling.

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