Marriage During The Pandemic : Three Brides, Three Different Perspectives

By Kate McGowan

Planning a wedding during Covid-19 is certainly a unique process. No matter what stage of the planning process couples are at, wedding ceremonies have been turned upside down over the last 12 months. It is safe to say that those Covid couples planning to wed during the global pandemic have almost certainly faced more stress, disappointment and frustration than any average couple before them. Over a year on and with tight legislation still in place, how is Covid-19 still impacting brides who anticipated a wedding in 2021.

Bride-to-be Zara McKeown is hoping for third time lucky, having just postponed her dream wedding for the third time. Zara currently lives in Scotland with her fiancé and had planned on getting married in Northern Ireland, where she was born, surrounded by friends and family. However, the pandemic has made things a lot trickier than she first anticipated. She said, “It has been a nightmare! “We got engaged in December 2019 and then within a month we kind of had the whole wedding organised and planned to get married the following September so it was kind of a 9 month engagement is what we were meant to have and then obviously yeah that didn’t happen!”

Not only is Zara dealing with the standard stresses of planning a wedding during the pandemic, she also has to deal with living across the water from her venue and therefore trying to make plans under different and often conflicting restriction rules set by different Governments. She commented, “Because we are living in Scotland but we are trying to get married in Northern Ireland, it was two different governments and neither of them were on the same page at any point. I know Northern Ireland from the beginning didn’t have a restriction on numbers but Scotland did and because some of our guests were travelling over, they wouldn’t have been comfortable with that and so I think it was the different governments that threw us!”

Zara expressed that although understanding why other brides felt they wanted to go ahead with their ceremonies despite reduced numbers and restrictions, she didn’t ever consider this an option. She said, “The whole evening do and the dancing and everything, that’s a big thing and what we’re looking forward to so it doesn’t feel like it would be the same day without having that atmosphere and that plan. I wouldn’t want any masks either!”

Gabriella Wilson is another bride-to-be who’s wedding plans have been thrown into chaos with the uncertainty of restriction rules. Gabriella got engaged just over two years ago to her childhood sweetheart and has been struggling to stay on top of planning for her June wedding since the pandemic hit last year. She said, “The few things that we hadn’t booked beforehand, either the prices were inflated or fully booked for weddings in the future, some places had even closed down.”

Gabriella and Peter

With the wedding scheduled for just under one month away and despite a slight easing in restrictions, Gabriella has been forced to face facts that the June wedding she will have, will look different to the dream wedding she originally hoped for. She remains positive as she says, “I do think that regardless of what we’re allowed on the day, I’ll be happy with what we have because it’ll be our day. The date we get married is our five year anniversary so we don’t want to change it and the whole pandemic has cemented the whole reason we’re getting married, it’s been very stressful and very annoying and a lot of friends won’t be there to share our day which is awful but as long as we have our family there and we also have our little girl, it’s just a wedding at the end of the day, just one day”.

Niamh McAlister, is a bride who decided to continue with her wedding in February, despite tight restrictions insisting she has no regrets she said, “I would ten million percent encourage anybody to just go for it!”.

Niamh had been with her partner Jacob for 8 years before they tied the knot earlier this year in an intimate ceremony, surrounded by 18 of their closest friends and family. Niamh spoke fondly of her day, “Jacob and I did our first dance in his mums kitchen and we had our cake at our own house it was so lovely and relaxed.”

Niamh was determined not to let the pandemic spoil her day, hinting that the restrictions were a blessing in disguise. She said, “I was almost thankful in that moment for the restrictions because it wasn’t about anything else other than getting married. I think sometimes people forget and when you do ultimately strip the whole thing down and it’s like are you getting married because you want to get married or are you getting married because you want to have a big shin dig. You can say it’s cheesy and all the cliches of the day but I genuinely, ultimately just wanted to be Jacob’s wife. Life is too short so if you want to do something, you need to do it, and ultimately I got what I wanted for my wedding and I honestly think it couldn’t have been more perfect”.

Niamh and Jacob on their wedding day