Northern Ireland news

Co Down woman to perform virtual commitment ceremony for couple whose big day was postponed amid Covid-19

Ballygowan woman Fiona Soloman, who retrained as a civil celebrant after 40 years working in banking, is set to perform her first virtual commitment ceremony
Marie Louise McConville

A Co Down woman who retrained as a civil celebrant after 40 years working in banking will perform her first virtual commitment ceremony tomorrow for a couple whose big day was postponed due to Covid-19.

Fiona Soloman (58), who worked for the Ulster Bank for four decades, before leaving last October, said she was "really excited" about the upcoming event, which will involve a couple who live in London.

Due to get married tomorrow the couple's big day was postponed due to the pandemic.

However, as they had their wedding rings engraved with tomorrow's date, the groom-to-be wanted some sort of ceremony to take place to mark the day.

The man contacted Fiona, who lives in Ballygowan and runs Perfect Day Ceremonies By Fiona, and asked if she could put together a commitment ceremony.

Fiona has also secretly scripted the ceremony which the couple will only hear it for the first time at the ceremony.

Taking place in the garden of the man's parents in London, the only other people present will be his parents and his partner's mother.

Twelve others, including close family and friends, will be present on Zoom.

The couple will then wear their rings for the day before putting them away ahead of their big day, which has been rescheduled for next year.

Speaking about the event, Fiona, who is qualified to perform weddings, baby-naming ceremonies and funerals, said she is "really excited" to be part of the couple's day.

"I have a real empathy for couples who are trying to manage a very difficult situation," said the mother-of-one.

"By offering this Zoom commitment ceremony, it marks the day when the couple should have said `I do'."

Fiona said she does feel nervous about performing such a ceremony for the first time.

"I have never met them and that's not normal and also, I am a little wary of any technological issues," she said.

"It's quite good because he is organising the Zoom call and I am just being invited in.

"I have worked with him via e-mail and we are going to call it a commitment ceremony and they are making their promises to each other until they can get married next year.

"It's the only one I have done so far. I just love the role. You are a very special part of a very special day and at the end of the day you know you have made a difference."

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