When we started contacting our 150 guests, I always imagined it would be to say thank you for a wonderful wedding day.
I thought I’d be in a blissful – probably hungover – state the morning after the night before, reminiscing about the soppy speeches, the fancy outfits and the dodgy dance moves while sending messages of gratitude.
Instead, it was the second time in six months that we had to draft a note to let our nearest and dearest know the big day was cancelled.
Along with thousands of other brides-to-be, I have had my hopes of walking down the aisle in 2020 reduced to perusing the supermarket aisles for loo roll. Twice.
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Refusing to give up hope, we have pencilled in a third wedding date for 2021, but with each week that passes our positivity wanes, too. It seems the third time is unlikely to be lucky for us.
Our original wedding date was 25 April 2020. Just over a year earlier, on a rainy Sunday evening, my other half, Adam, popped the question while I was wearing pyjamas.
As he slid off the sofa to awkwardly get on one knee, I burst out laughing and asked: ‘Are you joking?’ He wasn’t. I had ruined the moment, but it was imperfectly perfect.
The next few months were a whirlwind of ring shopping, food tastings and arguments about the table plan. I can’t say I was one of those brides who loved planning the big day, but as it was getting closer, I started to get butterflies. After 10 years of being together and attending hordes of nuptials for our friends, it was soon to be our turn. Or so we thought.
Our wedding day was approaching, but so was Covid-19. There had been rumblings about a virus in the news, but it never crossed my mind that it would impact the world in the way it has.
My hen do was the first moment I knew to take this seriously. I was due to be travelling to Disneyland Paris with 19 of my closest friends, but at the eleventh hour we had to cancel.
The wonderful bunch threw me an impromptu ‘do, yet the impending threat of lockdown loomed over me.
Two weeks later came the call I’d been dreading from our London venue. The government had banned weddings. Oddly, I felt relieved.
I had been a ball of anxiety for weeks and now the decision was taken out of our hands. As the nation went into full lockdown, we marked the day with champagne, a socially distanced catch up with family, a few tears and a fish and chips takeaway.
Keen to reschedule, we’d confirmed 5 September with our venue quicker than you can say ‘I do’. Disheartened, but not discouraged, we moved our suppliers to the new date and were incredibly fortunate that all were so accommodating.
We paid a couple of suppliers the remaining balance to help them through a tough summer but were not left out of pocket. With a new focus, I could breathe a sigh of relief, confident this one would go ahead. How naive.
Weddings might have been back on, but only 30 guests were allowed. This would mean we’d have to cut half the bridal party.
So we postponed again and our venue offered us one of the last Saturdays available in 2021: 10 April.
Telling everyone this time around was different. I felt defeated. I tried to make light of the situation, especially when there are people going through so much worse. But just for a moment, I needed to grieve for the day we had been dreaming about and then look forward to the new year.
When the rule of six was introduced and good old Boris Johnson threatened life might continue this way for another six months, I could no longer fake a smile. That would take us to a fortnight before our third scheduled day. Now, with a second lockdown, and fears that it might go on for longer than the one month promised, any wedding at all seems unlikely.
Friends have said to us ‘why not just get married anyway?’ and ‘it should just be about you two’. But I disagree – and 71% of couples due to tie the knot before January 2021 who have postponed their day do, too.
For me, a wedding is about the guests just as much as the bride and groom. I want to look around from the top table and see our family who have cooked us countless meals when we were broke, my girls who have always been at the end of the phone when we’ve had a stupid row and our friends who are woven in the tapestry of our relationship.
There is just no way I could tie the knot without them all there.
I know we could have a micro wedding and a big party later but I just don’t know if I’d have the energy once the formalities were signed.
Our plan of action is to give it until early January to see if anything has advanced on the coronavirus front. If not, then we are going to postpone for a couple of years.
We might lose out financially this time, but I need a break from the ‘what ifs’. We can’t live in limbo anymore.
In the style of any true best man speech, it’s been emotional, even the country is in tiers.
I might not get to wear the dress just yet, but all good things come to those who wait, right?
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