Zunade Reneta Powell de Caires
My fiancé Manuel and I were extremely lucky to have planned our wedding date for 8 August, so fortunately we did not have to move the date – though we were watching the news for updates during lockdown. Once we knew that weddings could go ahead with 30 guests, we contacted our family and friends and downscaled from the original guestlist of 220 people. Luckily, they were all incredibly understanding.
The ceremony was scheduled to take place in St Simon’s Church in Putney, and the priest was happy to go ahead. I had planned everything pre-Covid-19, including my wedding dress, with my final fitting taking place in June. Our caterers were very flexible, working towards our reduced numbers without charging us for the original number of guests. Manuel had embroidered our wedding date on the inside of his suit as a surprise; when the shops reopened, we went to collect it and, cheesy as it sounds, when I saw what he had done, I took it as confirmation that all would be well.
On the day, after the ceremony, we had a few friends in the back garden to toast the occasion. The only issue was with the bridesmaids’ dresses – they arrived in two different shades. We chose to have a “growth mindset” and went with the colour variation.
Originally we were tempted to plan a larger celebration once the guidelines permitted (likely next year, to celebrate our first anniversary) but we soon changed our minds and are very happy with our wedding as it was – with a focus on our wedding vows. The overall cost of the wedding was significantly lower, too, but in hindsight the guidelines allowed the wedding to be really intimate. We’re so grateful that we could go ahead, as we know that this wasn’t the case for many other couples in the UK.
“It felt incredibly special and full of love,” says bride Georgia Taylor-Fallowes of her pandemic wedding.
© Anna Pumer Photography
Mickey and I were supposed to get married on 9 May in Waldron, East Sussex. It was set to be a church wedding with 200 guests. In mid-March, we were given the option to downsize to five guests in total, but then that plan was soon quashed too, and no weddings were allowed to take place at all. I was supposed to be wearing a Pronovias dress, but wasn’t able to have my last fitting or collect the dress itself. There was, of course, much worse happening in the world, and the pandemic put everything in perspective. It felt more important to celebrate our love and postpone the event.
With deposits paid, we moved the wedding to 8 May 2021, and decided to have a small family wedding as soon as we were allowed – we didn’t want to wait another year. Restrictions on places of worship were lifted at the beginning of July and two weeks later, we were married. Our pandemic wedding was perfect: 15 guests in total, immediate family only, and in my local village church. I wore a dress from Sleeper and white Gucci leather sandals. My mother made me a bouquet from her garden – a beautiful mix of blue hydrangeas, eucalyptus and gypsophila. Following a wonderful church service (no singing allowed, sadly), we had a meal put on by my parents back at my family home – my father, husband and stepfather made speeches and there were lots of tears. It felt incredibly special and full of love.
Sally Sibbet, celebrating her wedding day on Hackney Marshes.
We were originally due to get married on the summer solstice in Somerset, not too far from Glastonbury. The wedding was to be held over a weekend in the grounds of a Georgian mansion, with a ceilidh and bagpipes, and 145 guests camping in the grounds.
By April it became quite clear that it couldn’t go ahead, so we decided to postpone the whole event to July 2021. Any sooner than that felt risky, but after putting in so much effort and planning, we didn’t want to downsize.
We ended up celebrating the day itself on Hackney Marshes with a small group of close friends. It was the first time we’d seen anyone in lockdown, and it helped so much to be around people rather than just the two of us missing our families and commiserating. I wore a white ruffle off-the-shoulder dress, and some friends made us leafy crowns like the May Queen from the film Midsommar. All around us, people were having midsummer solstice parties. We watched the most beautiful sunset and stayed dancing barefoot until 2am. It was a magical, cathartic experience.
The pandemic made me rethink what actually matters. Napkin colours seem pretty insignificant now. I have found it hard to feel like my life has gone on hold for a year, but I feel incredibly grateful to be healthy, and hopefully getting to do it next year will make it all the more special.
Being married seemed “more important than ever” to Harriet Wells and her now husband.
We were supposed to get married on 30 May – on what turned out to be a lovely warm weekend! – with 180 of our extended families and friends. We were to start with a service in the beautiful Catholic church in Chideock, a village in south-west Dorset, followed by drinks, a banquet of barbecued lamb by the talented Chris Onions, and dancing beneath the stars to the Cash Cows in a marquee looking out over the golden Jurassic Coast. I’d chosen a long-sleeved silk dress by Lilly Ingenhoven, a Munich-based designer, to complement an embroidered tulle veil and Victorian wax orange-blossom headpiece, both worn by several generations of my family.
We decided to postpone the big party early on – we were told we could only have two witnesses, then weddings were off altogether. Thankfully our suppliers were sympathetic, we felt so awful for them. But we were still desperate to be married: during those strange, scary weeks of lockdown, it seemed more important than ever. We had a couple of foiled attempts in May and June whilst waiting for the rules to change, but eventually were married in the church we’d originally planned to marry in on 10 July, with just 20 guests. My now mother-in-law revealed incredible flower-arranging skills and my old friend Louisa took photos. We then spent a blissful afternoon picnicking, working our way through a cool box of champagne, and playing cricket on the beach. A first swim, it turns out, is much less nerve-wracking than a first dance!
We’re still hoping to have a big party next year, using our original caterer, photographer, and so on – but our magic, intimate wedding surpassed all our expectations. We are so, so happy.
Sophia Edwards with her fiancé Tom.
We were due to get married on 11 July 2020. We had invited 100 guests to our Italian-themed wedding. We envisioned a day of alfresco dining and dancing under the famous avenue of trees at 10 Castle Street, a country house in Dorset. I am half-Sicilian, so it only seemed right to have my dress and my bridesmaid dresses designed by the amazing Antonio Berardi.
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We continued to remain extremely positive that, by July, the global pandemic we had all found ourselves in would have subsided, and our beautiful summer wedding would still go ahead as planned. We really hoped that our positive thoughts would mean that the wedding prevailed. But in May we made the decision to postpone to 2021. As soon as we had made the decision, it felt like a weight had been lifted. That said, the closer it got to July, we felt very upset and emotional. We selfishly hoped that the weekend of our intended wedding would be miserable and raining. It turned out to be a glorious day full of sunshine (typical).
We celebrated our “non-wedding” wedding day with our closest friends. We ate delicious pasta and we drank copious amounts of Aperol spritz at our local Italian restaurant, Osteria Tufo in Finsbury Park – it was a very low-key affair. We are now eagerly anticipating, and remaining positive about, our wedding in 2021. Thankfully our suppliers, bands and venue have been incredibly accommodating and we have not had to make any sacrifices.
Rosie Denton with her fiancé Mike.
Our wedding was due to be held on 25 July at Masseria Lamacerase near Polignano a Mare, a town in Puglia, in the south of Italy. It’s a very special place, with olive trees and cacti set against a backdrop of white stone and sparkling sea. And the food is amazing. With the help of our amazing wedding planner, Giacomo (from Sublimae Weddings), we were able to make our vision for a stylish Italian wedding a reality… until the whole world went into lockdown in March.
The plan was to have our legal wedding at Southwark Registry Office on 22 July and fly to Bari the next day. We had Lamacerase booked exclusively for the long weekend and, with the main wedding falling on the Saturday, we had planned events for our 130 guests before and after the main event. The wedding itself was due to feature an Apulian antipasti feast, including fritto misto, freshly carved hams, traditional cheeses, a pasta course, a meat/fish course, and a dessert trolley, topped off with wedding cake. All this would have been followed by dancing among the olive trees until the sun came up, and probably a skinny dip in the pool.
Naively, at the start of lockdown, I really did think that things would be sorted out within a couple of weeks and that our wedding would still be able to go ahead as planned. But, in May, we formally notified our guests that we were going to postpone until 2021. Luckily, Giacomo was amazingly efficient in helping us pick a new date which worked for all our suppliers and guests. My wedding dress from Halfpenny London is kindly being stored by them until next year, and I am even more excited to wear it.
Mike and I marked our would-be wedding day with drinks at Forza Wine in Peckham and a delicious Italian-themed lunch with our family. Being thrown into these circumstances without a choice has really enabled me to take a step back and take stock of what is important – more so than flashy weddings. We couldn’t be more grateful for the continual kindness and support from friends and family. We feel incredibly lucky and full of love as a result.
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