Covid weddings: 8 London couples on the return of 30-person weddings


t’s been a cataclysmic yr for the marriage trade, however after a number of false begins, the worst of the logistical storm clouds look like clearing. As of this week, 30-person weddings are again on and {couples} throughout the capital have lastly (lastly!) been allowed to say their vows in entrance of a small however ever-so-slightly extra beneficiant sprinkling of household and mates.

For a lot of, it’s been a last-minute scramble. Main marriage ceremony planning platform Hitched says it’s seen sign-ups rocket 48 per cent each week for the reason that roadmap was introduced in March and the ultimate guidelines for ceremonies and receptions had been solely launched final week. With simply days to go, ministers introduced {couples} might be allowed a primary dance (however different dancing is suggested in opposition to), cake chopping can happen and speeches are formally again on once more – so long as they’re given outdoors or in well-ventilated areas. Finest males, put together to get slightly soggy this weekend.

From the {couples} hoping for a 3rd time fortunate this weekend to the lockdown lovers compelled to plan a marriage with three weeks’ discover, meet London’s latest brides and grooms.

“Our marriage ceremony was cancelled with two days to go”

Rebeka Verissimo David de Almeida Lucena and Abner Moises Pinto de Lima Lucena

The couple married on the Shangri-La Lodge at The Shard on Tuesday

/ Rebeka Verissimo David de Almeida Lucena

Jobs: Missionary and store supervisor, and guitar participant and music trainer

Unique marriage ceremony date: Nov 22, 2020

New marriage ceremony date: Could 18, 2021

Our marriage ceremony was alleged to happen in November, nevertheless it’s been postponed twice now. The second date was December 17 and it was cancelled two days earlier than, when all my household had flown over from Brazil. I couldn’t tell them at first I was so shocked. They had to stay in the UK for a month because their flights kept getting cancelled.

Thankfully, it was third time lucky and it was completely worth the wait. It’s hard to put into words how perfect our day was. We had just eight guests in the end and relatives around the world were watching on a livestream. It felt exclusive and really special and I didn’t feel any of the pressure everybody talks about on a wedding day. Abner and I have known each other since we were three. He’s my first boyfriend, my first kiss and now my husband. I’m just so happy to be married.


“Our grannies were our bridesmaids”

Ellie Trevellion and Danny O’Leary

Daniel Hambury/Stella Pictures Ltd

Jobs: Primary school teacher and electrician

Original wedding date: May 8, 2019

New wedding date: May 19, 2021

Daniel Hambury/Stella Pictures Ltd

“Our whole relationship has taken place in lockdown”

Ellie Williams and Chris McPherson

Matt Writtle

Jobs: Hospitality manager and surveyor, both currently unemployed

Original wedding date: Jan 2021

New wedding date: May 20, 2021

Ellie Williams

When the wedding was postponed, Chris’ mum had to apply for special leave to remain from the Australian government to stay. She’s been living with us and my parents ever since and she only got the go-ahead last month, so we were only able to confirm the wedding three weeks ago. The whole process has been frustrating and involved a lot of paperwork but the result – having 30 people including Chris’ mum at our original venue – is better than we anticipated. We couldn’t care less if it rains. If we can get through this year, we can get through anything.

“Covid has made us appreciate the true meaning of marriage”

Jobs: Project manager and lawyer

Original wedding date: June 2020

New wedding date: May 20, 2021

Venue: Old Marylebone Town Hall, then Carousel

We got engaged in New York three years ago and had a big wedding planned for last summer in the south of France. When lockdown hit, we postponed the legal ceremony to New Year’s Eve with just our families, but a week before the day we went into tier 4 and another full lockdown, so we moved it to March, on the three-year anniversary of our engagement. Now we’ve had to push it to May, with a midday ceremony at Old Marylebone Town Hall followed by a long, four-course lunch at Carousel, who have been incredible.


“We decided not to change our date – we’ll have a big party next year”

Sophie Whitehall and Rory O’Connor

Sophie Whitehall

Jobs: Banker and strategy consultant

Original wedding date: May 22, 2021

New wedding date: May 22, 2021

Choosing 30 people has been hard, but we’ve tried to keep it to close family and a few very close friends, although Rory is Irish so sadly many of his family members can’t come. We have two young children ourselves, so they’ll be at the ceremony with us wearing little suits. We’ll be live-streaming the service for everyone else. The good thing about having a wedding this year is you can’t be a perfectionist, so if it rains, it doesn’t matter. We just want to get married now so our lives no longer feel on pause.

“I’ve got so many grey hairs and we’ve only had to reschedule our wedding once”

Lauren Holliday and Jide Awonusi

Jobs: Executive assistant and freight manager

Original wedding date: March 27, 2021

New wedding date: May 21, 2021

I really empathise with those who’ve had to reschedule their wedding more than once. I’ve got so many grey hairs and we’ve only had to do change ours the one time. It feels like Covid has really robbed us of the joy of the planning period. We had 230 guests originally. Now we’ve had to tell family members their partners can’t attend, and we’ve lost flower girls and page boys who’d been practicing walking down the aisle. We’d even bought their dresses.

Now we’re going ahead with just 30 people. It’s been exhausting, but after a year when so many people haven’t survived, we’re just so appreciative we’re able to go ahead with our nearest and dearest. It’s also taking place at the church I’d always dreamed about getting married in – it’s the family church for my dad’s side and we had both my grandparents’ funerals there. Jide and I have been together for 12 years so we’ve been waiting for this day for so long.

“I’ve always wanted to plan a wedding, but I never expected to plan three”

Marie Jeng and Abass Kabba

Marie Jeng

Jobs: Account manager and business development manager

Original wedding date: August 29, 2020

New wedding date: May 22, 2021

I’ve always been that little girl that planned her wedding, but I never expected to have to plan three. We’re both first generation Africans here in London and both have huge families so the original wedding was planned for 200 guests – even that was me giving my mum a limit on numbers. When lockdown hit, we decided to cancel the wedding pretty early on, then in September we went full steam ahead planning a new, 100-person wedding for March 6 this year.

At Christmas things didn’t look so good and at one point we even considered eloping, but when the roadmap was announced we thought we’d get in there early before Boris changes his mind. I’m so over planning the wedding now – we just want to move on with our lives – but we are happy we get to go ahead with our mums and dads and some of our best friends. We couldn’t have done 15 people, it’s been hard enough telling aunts and uncles they can’t come.

Marie Jeng

Luckily, we’re able to go ahead in the same venue, a former parish hall called Core Clapton. There’s a chicken and chip shop down the road, which suits our personalities because we’re both inner city kids, but once you step inside, it’s beautiful and white and we can have a lovely dinner there with our loved ones after the ceremony. I like to have a little boogie when I hear music even when I’m shopping, so it’s going to be difficult not to dance, but we are just grateful to be healthy and have each other and our loved ones after this year – many people have not been so lucky.

It’s been a rollercoaster and thought we’d have killed each other over lockdown, but we’ve actually done really well and the last year has shown us how well we get on. Oh, and Abass is a triplet so I get three of them to love.

“We never wanted a big wedding anyway”

Emma Sheerman and Jonathan Mitchell

Jobs: Hairdresser and warehouse manager

Original wedding date: December 2020

New wedding date: May 22, 2021

We never actually wanted a big wedding, so when the pandemic hit, it worked for us. We got engaged in December 2019 and spent the first few months researching the idea of a small wedding in Las Vegas that summer, but then lockdown hit. In July, we started planning a wedding at the Shangri-La at the Shard for December – things were starting to open up and we didn’t even think there would be a second lockdown. We wanted a cosy, romantic Christmas feel – the ceremony was meant to take place at 4pm just as the sun was going down.

It’ll now be broad daylight when we get married but we’re lucky we’ll still be getting married at the same venue and we haven’t had to un-invite people. We’ve chosen to have just 22 guests as we hope it’ll feel more intimate and we don’t have to spend the day worrying about other people. There’s a lot of pressure with a big wedding, I’m not sure I could have coped with one anyway.

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