Fiona performs virtual commitment ceremony

A Co Down woman, who retrained as a civil celebrant after 40 years in banking, recently performed her first virtual ‘commitment ceremony’ for a couple whose wedding was postponed due to the coronavirus pandemic.

Fiona Solomon performing the commitment ceremony from her home
Fiona Solomon performing the commitment ceremony from her home

Fiona Solomon, who worked for the Ulster Bank for four decades, before leaving last October, said she was ‘‘thrilled’’ when she was contacted by a couple in London, who had been forced to postpone their ‘physical’ wedding, but already had their wedding rings engraved with the date, June 6.

The groom-to-be, Edward, decided to mark the day with a virtual ‘commitment ceremony’.

Initially he had planned to keep the whole thing a secret from his bride-to-be, Jennifer, but Fiona, who runs Perfect Day Ceremonies By Fiona, advised him it might be better to make her aware of the plans, so she could make the most of the occasion with an appropriate dress and make-up.

Fiona worked with the groom to design the ceremony script and the bride heard it for the first time during the Zoom event – along with their 12 virtual guests.

The wedding took place in the garden of the groom’s parents - which is now possible in England under the Covid-19 restriction - and Fiona delivered the service from her home in Ballygowan.

Fiona, who can perform weddings, vow renewals, baby-naming ceremonies and funerals, said the event was ‘‘really lovely.’’

‘‘It let the couple have a special day, instead of a sad day. The groom’s sister joined from New York and read a Shakespeare piece and he had written promises for them to make for each other, which were just lovely. Then they exchanged their rings and wore them for the day. They plan to get married next year.

‘‘At the end I wished them good luck and left them to celebrate with their friends and family.’’

Fiona added: ‘‘I have been a wedding celebrant now for a while, but all my weddings for summer are cancelled. I feel so sorry for couples trying to re-organise everything.

‘‘Virtual ceremonies are not a substitute for weddings, but are just a way for couples to ‘‘mark their planned date with joy and happiness.’’