I’ve never looked forward to a wedding so much. After being postponed twice, due to lockdown, one of my oldest and closest friends -Kate- was hoping for third date lucky. After a year of staying in and bad news and being apart, I was ridiculously excited at the prospect of a celebration and a long overdue catch-up and some happy memories. We just needed Boris to allow us to…
The last photo I have of ‘normality’, was at her hen-do in March 2020. We spent a lovely weekend sewing and feasting and drinking and laughing. Although coronavirus was beginning to swarm the news, we weren’t too worried. I do remember elbow-bumping people instead of hugging. I do remember playfully singing “happy birthday” whilst washing our hands. And I do remember us chatting about the virus. But we were optimistic -and naive- and assumed it would be all over by her May wedding date. At the time we had no idea how serious it was going to become, or how much it would impact us, or how many lives would be lost. At the end of the weekend, we said goodbye and excitedly talked about the wedding-to-be. But a few days later, the Prime Minister announced the country was going into lockdown, and I started shielding.
On Kate and Matt’s original wedding date, we were still living in lockdown. My friends and I, toasted them from afar, each in our own gardens, many miles apart. It was rearranged for the following May, and then when it became clear that life was not going to be back to normal by then, it was postponed once again to July 2021. Third date lucky. They were going to wed then, even if it was just the two of them. Thankfully, two weeks before, Boris gave the thumbs up for large weddings to resume. Wahoo! 🙂
So, last weekend, sixteen months after her hen do, and fourteen months after her original wedding date, I got to watch my beautiful childhood friend, wed. And it was an amazing day. Absolutely amazing. 🙂 After a year of darkness and isolation, after a year of being locked away and kept apart, and after a year of surviving the the pandemic thus far… everyone was up for a party. So much happiness, so much love, so much thankfulness. Although predicted heavy rain all day- the weather gods miraculously shone on us, and so, not only were they granted their al-fresco ceremony, but we could spend most of the day outside in the lovely grounds. The wedding feast was delicious (sooo much food!), the venue was beautiful, and it was wonderful to see Kate -and everyone- so happy. My body was on top form, and although I was exhausted by the evening, and needed my scooter and continuous oxygen, amazingly I was able to stay celebrating until the finale. Yay! I even danced a little on my scooter! 😛 But best of all, I got to spend the day surrounded by my oldest friends. Thirty-six years of friendship and counting! 🙂 I’ve not smiled or laughed so much, or been so incredibly happy since the pandemic started. It was the tonic we all needed. 😀
Planning a wedding in normal times is stressful, so I can’t imagine how difficult it has been for bride and grooms this past year. Cancelling dreams, postponing dreams, changing dreams. Negotiating with the venue and caterers and florist and band. Re-writing guest lists, re-inviting friends, altering outfits. Hoping the registry office re-opens in time to give notice, hoping no-one tests coronavirus positive beforehand, and hoping guests from abroad can still attend (Our friend Sal -from Belgium- isolated for a week to come 🙂 ). Plus the constant uncertainty -as it could all be changed, once again, by one government announcement! Furthermore, there is the colossal stress and responsibility of keeping the venue and event as Covid safe as possible. At Kate’s wedding, folks were asked to test themselves beforehand, the vast majority were also double vaccinated, and we spent most of the day outside. The teepees had open sides, people were seated six to a table, and the planned BBQ buffet was changed to a BBQ sit down meal. To keep extra safe, I socially distanced from my friends for the majority, but by the evening, high on happiness, I had some long-overdue cuddles with my besties. 🙂 Drunk people can’t socially distance! 😉
I am hopeful that now the country is slowly re-opening, they’ll be many more celebrations and get togethers and fun. Lockdown has reminded me how wonderfully important my friends and family are! 🙂