"Right now, we are encouraging the world to hold onto hope and love", said one Australian bride after her small wedding during current social distancing laws. It is a sentiment to keep in mind as we move forward in these uncertain times. But despite social distancing laws and COVID-19 fears, couples around the world are finding fun and creative ways to tie the knot!
Michael and Pamela’s Livestreamed Wedding – Sydney, Australia
Michael and Pamela livestreamed their Sydney wedding with their loved ones. The couple had only 5 people at the wedding, including themselves, with a celebrant, photographer, and their celebrant’s husband as a witness.
But the couple had family members around the world – from Peru to Japan to the US – watching over Facebook live as Michael and Pamela tied the knot beside Sydney Harbour.
"It was very emotional since everyone was so far away, but at the same time I felt that they were there with us," recalls Pamela. "Michael’s mum and family from Chicago were waiting for the ceremony to start with a bottle of Champagne. So cute!"
The couple are planning a celebration in Mexico, once restrictions have passed, to bring the two families together.
Yvonne and Craig’s Two Person Wedding – Wongan Valley, Sydney
With family across the globe, from China to Scotland, Yvonne and Craig first considered a destination wedding. But as restrictions prevented travel, and with concerns for elderly family members, they quickly pivoted their wedding plans.
The couple’s tiny wedding was conducted in the Wongan Valley beneath a towering tree against mountain scenery and the Australian outback. With their celebrant, photographer, and wedding planners as witnesses, the couple said "I do".
"Our photos captured our adventurous spirit, hopelessly romantic souls, the fun and the happiness."
With native wildlife looking on, the couple couldn’t have been happier with their wedding.
"Our wedding shows the beauty of…the Australian wedding story expressing multiculturalism diversity and simplicity," Craig says of the union.
Bindi Irwin and Chandler Powel’s No Guest Zoo Wedding – Australia Zoo, Australia
Even close to home couples are finding a way to celebrate their special day under new social distancing laws! Bindi Irwin and Chandler Powel were able to pivot their 12 months of wedding plans to a no guest wedding at Australia Zoo where they both live and work.
Bindi’s mother, Terri, and her brother Robert – who walked her down the aisle in place of her world-famous father, Steve Irwin – were able to attend due them also living onsite at the zoo. While not the picture-perfect wedding they had originally planned, the couple made the right decision during these uncertain times.
"Right now, we’re encouraging the world to hold onto hope and love, which will carry us forward during this profound time in history," wrote Bindi Irwin. "To everyone reading this – stay safe, social distance and remember LOVE WINS!"
The family also lit a candle in memory of Steve Irwin who passed in 2006.
Reilly and Amanda’s Viral Wedding Ceremony – New York, America
These two lovely brides have become the poster children for how to conduct a wedding while following social distancing guidelines. Their wedding made news around the world as they got married a few steps from their home. Friends were arranged on the street at a safe distance, while the officiant literally hung out a fourth floor window. The rest of the neighbourhood joined as guests, safe from their home and apartment windows.
The event featured props, costumes and bubble wands from a friend who owns an event company, and there was even a reading from Gabriel Garcia Marquez’s Love in the Time of Cholera.
Reilly told CNN the event "was even more special to share with the entire neighbourhood in such a scary and uncertain time."
Neighbours reported the event as lovely, festive, and magical. It was an example of how people are pulling together even while safely isolating.
However, not every bride and groom were able to so easily pivot their wedding to fit new guidelines.
Lachlan and Kristen’s Rush to the Alter – Yorke Peninsula, South Australia
With new rules on gatherings coming into effect, Lachlan and Kristen moved their wedding forward 4 days. They got word out to their family and friends on Facebook that the wedding would be held that Wednesday, for anyone who was around.
"We were meant to get married on Saturday, but obviously, with the new rules coming into effect midnight tonight we’ve moved it forward to today," he said.
While the couple supported the government’s measure, they didn’t want to wait to get married. They did everything they could to keep their guests safe, ensuring chairs were placed one-and-a-half metres apart, and making sur everyone had access to hand sanitiser and soap.
"We’ve been trying to organise this for a while now and we got so close it’s not worth postponing it now, because if we postpone it now it may not happen."
Katy and Stuart’s Postponed Farm Wedding – Tumby Bay, South Australia
Katy and Stuart were meant to get married this weekend but made the difficult decision to postpone their wedding. The couple tried several venues and wedding styles, from sit-down celebrations to cocktails, until they finally moved the wedding to their farm in Tumby Bay.
"Obviously being with a farmer, everything is planned out as our life is around the farm. This whole virus puts our whole life another year behind."
But the couple are still optimistic about the fact that they will get married one day.
Tineka Everaardt’s Postponed Wedding – Melbourne
Like hundreds of other couples, A Current Affair reporter Tineka Everaardt’s wedding at Marybrooke Manor in Melbourne has been postponed.
"I was frightened our immune compromised guests might get sick and I was saddened that I couldn’t even hug my family on my wedding day."
Everaardt acknowledges, though, that she is one of the lucky ones, with her vendor’s helping her postpone her special day, with many vendors transferring deposits to dates later this year.
"I am choosing to be positive, hoping that my big day will still be happening come November."
Australian Weddings Face Strict New Regulations
As of Sunday 22nd of March 2020, Prime Minister Scott Morrison has announced the strictest gathering recommendations to date, in order to curb the spread of COVID-19. Now, no more than two people can gather in public spaces at any time, which is down from the initial 10, unless you are from the same family.
However, existing restrictions on weddings, which is five people including he couple, celebrant and two witnesses, remains.
These restrictions assert that people should only be leaving their homes for four reasons:
- Shopping for food and essential supplies, as infrequently as possible
- For medical care or compassionate needs
- For work and education that can’t be carried out remotely
- To exercise within compliance with public gathering rules
Those who are immune compromised and people aged over 70 need to stay at home and self-isolate, for their own safety. Travel overseas has also been banned with exceptions for aid workers and vital government travel.
Scott Morrison has acknowledged the new measures are heartbreaking but necessary, especially with some weddings recently being the source of COVID-19 transmissions.
"I said in the parliament that 2020 for most Australians was going to be their toughest year, and what we have seen unfolding this week has been just that," Scott Morrison said. "These are heartbreaking moments in our nation’s history, and story. We are not unconscious of the real impacts these measures are having on the daily lives of Australians."
While we all work to cope with social distancing, lockdowns and COVID-19, it is important to remember to breathe. Wedding planning is stressful in normal circumstances, and even more so at times like these. Remember you’ve got supportive family and friends around you, no matter whether you decide to have a small-scale wedding or you choose to postpone to calmer times.