WEDDING and funeral plans across central Victoria have been thrown into disarray as the state enters seven days of lockdown in light of 34 active coronavirus cases.
Marriage celebrant Sue Begg had two weddings scheduled for this weekend with one couple deciding to head down the aisle on Thursday evening before restrictions come into force.
"One of the couples were having a small wedding at home and are going ahead with it tonight while the second wedding has been rescheduled to July," she said.
"The first inclination I had of another lockdown I said to the couple I could marry them tonight if they wanted and they came back to me and said they'd do that.
"We've done this before. At the start of the February lockdown I did three weddings on the one day at 12pm, 4pm and 7pm. It was one of the highlights of my career as one of the couples had changed their wedding for the fourth time so there was such a celebratory vibe through the ceremony."
In terms of ceremonies, the state government's lockdown restrictions stipulate funerals can have a maximum of 10 people plus those running the service while weddings cannot proceed unless end of life or deportation reasons apply.
Having been in he wedding industry for four years, Ms Begg said the past year had been the most trying with celebrants having to carry with the emotional toll of couples rescheduling their big day.
We work hard to give our clients the day of their dreams.Sue Begg
"We also deal with the emotions of the couples and that has been hard.
"I feel like I've taken a lot of the emotions from couples but everyone has been so lovely and understanding through the past year.
"It's a really hard time. We've had a very buoyant season since November and everyone was catching up and it was fantastic.
"All of a sudden it's changed and I have that feeling in my stomach again, it's pretty awful.
"The pandemic has made me resilient. I've pulled out resources from everywhere and found a lot of different coping strategies I didn't know I had."
Funeral celebrant Jan Claridge has also rescheduled two events and said the changing plans had hurt grieving families.
"I've spent this afternoon on the phone with two families," she said. "I had one funeral on Monday and what they had planned, they can't have now.
"They're having a graveside service now with the maximum amount of people allowed and hopefully once restrictions lifted they can have a memorial service.
"Another family were planning a funeral for next Thursday and have had to push it out in the hope everything will be ok.
"It creates issues everywhere, and people don't think it will effect them until it does.
"The changes definitely add to the burden to organising the funeral of a loved one."
Mrs Claridge has been a funeral celebrant for 15 years and through the 2020 pandemic, she organised the funeral of her mother.
"I try to fit in with the families during these changing times and I do feel for them," she said. "Last year, two or three families said they'd have a memorial after the pandemic and I was one of them.
"But in the end, because it dragged on so long, it felt too far removed from event and we didn't go through with one.
"Once we'd gone through the emotion of the funeral, the thought to bring it back was too much.
"I think people this time around people are just trying to go with the flow in some ways.
"It's really hard to know what they're thinking, they're just trying to do their best to honour their loved ones."
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