Meet the couples who tied the knot during the Coronavirus pandemic
Weddings take months, often years, of meticulous planning. An exceptional amount of time and effort goes into selecting the perfect venue, the right dresses and suits, a delicious cake and all other components that make up ‘the best day of your life’. For many couples this year, all of that planning seems to have gone to waste.
Recent research found that the wedding industry could lose around £87.5 billion due to the effects of the COVID-19 crisis, and that 64% of the weddings due to take place in the United Kingdom this year could be cancelled or, at best, postponed – a blow to the hundreds of thousands of couples who had been focusing on putting all of the details of their perfect day into place.
However, not everyone has resigned themselves to this, and there are a surprising number of couples out there who weren’t going to let a little thing like a global pandemic stop them from saying ‘I do’!
One such pair was Michael McCaw and Lucrecia Landeta Garcia, who wed in a ceremony at Belfast City Hall last month. Michael and Lucrecia had been due to celebrate their marriage with around 130 guests, who had all travelled to the wedding from locations around the world, including France, Japan and Argentina, where Lucrecia hails from originally.
However, due to the pandemic, there was no way that such a gathering of cultures could ever go ahead. Michael and Lucrecia, however, were determined to tie the knot. “We’re at the age where we have a lot of friends getting married,” Michael told Metro last month, “Many of them have pushed their dates to later in the year or next year, but with the uncertainty we just wanted to crack on.”
With their dream ceremony remaining just that, Michael and Lucrecia pulled out all the stops to ensure that their wedding day was still on to remember. “It was a matter of doing what we could, but, for me, I’ve never had a wedding before so this feels good.”
Michael and Lucrecia wed with just six socially-distanced witnesses, including two close friends, a photographer and a registrar – and, of course, still sealed their partnership with a kiss.
While their official ceremony was a quiet affair, Michael explained that the pair still plan to celebrate their nuptials with all their loved ones – in a very 2020 way. “This was wedding part one, part two will be on the original date. We’ve got everyone from Argentina, Australia, Japan, France, England via Zoom. We’ll have a blessing, a few drinks, a bit of a dance – I can’t wait.”
These alternative weddings haven’t just taken place in the United Kingdom, either. Lucy Lilley, who moved from the UK to southern Spain, found herself left with a choice between planning a wedding in the space of 48 hours or moving her wedding to 2021. For Lucy, when her fiancée, Pablo, informed her that he wanted to take advantage of a ceremony slot that had just become available, it was an easy decision to make.
“I didn’t hesitate,” she wrote, “With all the uncertainty of coronavirus and lockdown in our home in southern Spain, the only solid thing going on in our lives was that we loved each other.” Lucy and Pablo were allowed just two witnesses at their ceremony, with one witness deciding to make quite an appropriate wardrobe statement for the current climate.
“At the town hall we watched as a pair of newlyweds came out of the hall doors, dressed in their normal day clothes. Their faces dropped when our witness, Julio, rocked up in a Second World War gas mask. Our only other witness was Pab’s brother.”
“Our local counsellor read out our vows as Pablo and I sat as close together as we were allowed to. On one side was Pab’s brother, who was convinced that he was going to catch something and on the other was Julio, in his board shorts and gas mask, who really couldn’t care less.” Despite the abnormality of the nature of their wedding, Lucy says she has no regrets about the way in which she and Pablo tied the knot.
“In the end, it didn’t matter how we got married, just that we had. We both had a strong sense that it was supposed to be like this. One friend commented that she knew I’d do something unexpected and totally different for our wedding, but really wasn’t expecting this – we’d really outdone ourselves.”
As the world begins to move towards the ‘new normal’, couples such as Michael and Lucrecia or Lucy and Pablo are part of an exclusive club of couples, all with their own stories of becoming husband and wife in the midst of a global pandemic.
To Lucy, this is part of the appeal. “It genuinely was the happiest day of my life and the circumstances we found ourselves in only added to the sense of romance. Getting married in lockdown will be just another story to tell the grandchildren.”
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