I’m due to get married in 12 days. Right now, it’s illegal.
You heard me. No, the restrictions for weddings are not the same as funerals (10 people). No, the restrictions are not the five people required for a marriage to be recognised in NSW. Weddings are illegal. Zero people allowed.
I cannot begin to count how many times I have had to explain this to well-meaning friends and family over the past four weeks. People who love me dearly, who have taken the time to reach out and say how sorry they are that this is happening, how awful it must be to be going through this. "But at least you can get married now, and just celebrate later," they all inevitably end up saying. No, we can’t.
The things you never say in 2021. Post continues below.
You see, my fiance and I are both Christians. To us, a wedding is not about the big celebration of love with the 121 people we had on our reception list. Of course, having planned the big white wedding, we were devastated as it began to dawn on us that NSW would not be out of this mess by August 14.
But we had always agreed that we would get married, regardless of how small the minimum legal number for a wedding became – you have to talk about these things when you get engaged during a global pandemic.
In the tightest lockdown endured by NSW last year, when the first wave of COVID-19 was sweeping the globe and we knew a lot less about it all than we do now, weddings were restricted to five people. The couple, the celebrant, and two witnesses. The legal minimum number of people required for a marriage to be recognised by the NSW Registry of Births, Marriages and Deaths.
At the time, this was unprecedented. We watched on as nameless strangers got married without parents by their sides. Coming from a large, tight-knit family with six younger siblings, I couldn’t imagine a wedding where I didn’t have those that I loved present in full. I had never dreamed about eloping and had always wanted a big wedding. I wanted to stand in a church and sing worship songs loudly next to my new husband. I wanted our friends to pray over us in public. I wanted to make promises in front of hundreds of people to love, cherish and protect my husband until death do us part. The whole shebang.