Zug, 27.03.2020

Weddings in a very intimate setting

While the corona virus is raging, authorities and officials are struggling with new legislative changes or adjustments almost every day. The civil registry offices in Canton Zug also have plenty of work. "Yesterday's news is already out-of-date by now," says Christian Sigrist, head of the Civil Registry And Funeral Office in Cham. Funerals, for example, have to be carried out with only a few persons present. But what about marriage ceremonies?

You can, in fact, still get married in Zug, but there have to be special precautions. "According to the present conditions, in addition to the bride and groom, two witnesses and myself as registrar, only an interpreter or a photographer may also be present at a wedding ceremony. And we must, of course, maintain the recommended two-metre separation from each other,” says Sigrist. The bride and groom, who often live in a joint household and share table and bed, are excluded from the distance regulation, of course. It’s currently not possible to arrange weddings in places other than the municipal hall. These requirements have been set by the Federal Office for Civil Status and the supervisory authority of the Canton of Zug, in response to the current recommendations from the federal government.

Following the declaration of an “exceptional situation in Switzerland, Sigrist and his team have been receiving many calls from worried couples. "Last week, we heard from more than ten couples who were even considering cancelling the wedding," Sigrist reveals. After the couples were informed about the new framework and understood that their ‘yes’ could take place in an intimate setting, many couples decided to go for the wedding with four people.

The number of effective cancellations has corrected downwards. "We currently only have two couple who have postponed until Jun, and one couple will decide on a cancellation or postponement in the next few days," Sigrist adds. He strongly suspects that the couples want to say "yes" to each other despite, or precisely because of the difficult circumstances. Due to the extraordinary situation for the postponement of the marriage, no fee will be charged.

Miriam Lustenberger, head of the Civil Registry Office in Zug, also says that newlyweds have been asking whether their civil wedding can be postponed. Depending on availability, they try to meet the wishes of the customers. “Our bridal couples react with great understanding. I have the impression that many couples are grateful that they can still get married, despite the current situation,” says Lustenberger. The couples usually accept the conditions. As far as possible, for mutual protection, the civil registry officers of the Zug district avoid personal contact with their customers. Lustenberger therefore suspects that the office will have fewer customer appointments in the future. “The dates that have already been agreed and which cannot be postponed will be kept. So our work has not decreased so far,” Lustenberger continues. Due to the current situation, the wedding ceremony lasts a maximum of 15 minutes.

Their employees would normally not work in home office mode. "However, we are using the current situation as an opportunity to test home office in our area of activity," says Lustenberger. This is a challenge, and requires great flexibility and a time-consuming organisation of the new situation. The Civil Registry Office of the district of Baar did not currently want to reply to questions about marriage ceremonies in the current situation.