Get married, don’t get married; thousands of couples have had to alter their altar – or bimah – plans this year in line with the ever-shifting rules.
Over the next month, Kari Colmans interviews five resolute newlyweds who’ve tied the knot against the odds in true Covid style
Georgia Kirsch, 28, already thought she was having the best day of her life on the day her boyfriend Ronnie Morgan, 29, proposed. And that was long before he had even popped the question.
The date was 30 March 2019, when they had been together for two and a half years, and he had arranged for her to spend the day recording a song at Abbey Road Studios.
She had always loved to sing, but since losing her father almost a decade ago Georgia hadn’t found it in her heart to keep up her talent, until a special performance at a recent friend’s wedding had reminded her how much she’d once loved it.
Ronnie dressed the session up as a well done for facing her fears. He seems pretty pleased with himself as we chat over Zoom, lying back on the sofa, while Georgia is all smiles and glossy hair in a must-have
He took her out for lunch – “and he was really taking his time!” Georgia laughs – when all she could think about was getting back to the studio. Little did she know that upon her return an even bigger surprise was in store.
The studio was showered with rose petals and photographs – the groom’s siblings had got together to pull off the ultimate setting for a truly unique proposal, while other family members waited in the wings to be summoned once she’d said yes.
And it all would have ‘come together’ had coronavirus not struck.
“The plan was to get married in Rome on 21 June 2020 at Villa Miani. The date was perfect for us, because it was my mum’s birthday and Father’s Day,” says Georgia. “It honoured my late father and my mother.”
They had been planning for about a year before Covid-19 reared its ugly head, and they were in two minds about whether to wait it out or get on with it, as much as was possible between the various lockdowns and rule changes.
“We were in denial for ages, partially because we didn’t want to let our dream go, and our dream date,” says Georgia. Then things got very real for them while they were abroad in March for a wedding and were almost left stranded in Morocco.
It was at that point that they decided to move their “big wedding” to 2021.
“We stopped holding on to this ‘dream date’ as we wanted to focus on our guests,” says Ronnie. “We wanted them to feel safe and at ease at our wedding, not worried about coronavirus.”
We were in denial for ages, partially because we didn’t want to let our dream go, and our dream date
However, they agreed that they still wanted to celebrate something. “2020 was supposed to be our year and we wanted to salvage it in some way,” Georgia smiles.
“We spent three months checking the council website to see when they were opening wedding ceremonies again, and the second we saw they had opened it, we booked!”
The Jewish wedding is still planned for 2021, but the couple are now officially married in English civil law.
Although the fact that neither can remember the date (26 September)
without scrolling through their phones and checking their diaries, and the
marriage won’t feel complete without a chuppah, they are still overwhelmed and over the moon that they got to celebrate in some way.
They managed 12 people in total for the ceremony at Hendon Town Hall – “luckily our ‘immediates’ total 10 anyway, plus us”– and 30 for the after-party.
It was all very Covid-secure, they assure me, with personalised face masks, glitzed up sanitiser pumps and temperature checks at the door.
“It sounds very unromantic, but it was amazing. It was the best day of our lives so far.”
We stopped holding on to this ‘dream date’ as we wanted to focus on our guests. We wanted them to feel safe and at ease at our wedding, not worried about coronavirus.
Georgia continues: “We just wanted to be married. We just wanted to celebrate. If the apocalypse came, at least we could face it together.”
Ronnie chimes in with a soundbite he’s very proud of – Georgia already has her head in her hands, in true married-couple style: “The Queen has already approved it, we just need God to approve it!”
As a stylist, Georgia had curated every moment of the wedding (before they moved it). She started her new business GYLES in January, which focuses on styling brides at every point of their wedding experience, from the engagement party all the way through to the honeymoon.
“I was styling groups of bridesmaids, family members and guests for weddings. So naturally my outfit for the civil ceremony was very much ready to go.
“I wore a plain white belted jacket dress paired with the Jimmy Choo Aveline shoes and a chic little monogrammed bag with pearl detailing.”
Ronnie, a chartered surveyor and her model for the day, was “head to ankle” Reiss with Tod’s on his feet.
While Part One turned out to be more than they could ever have imagined, they’re still banking on a stunning Part Two this summer, which will just be the icing on the wedding cake – and no less than a showstopper.
“I have styled every single moment of it,” she insists, including the “two-and-a-half wedding dresses” she’ll be wearing on the night – which of course, she designed herself.
But if this year has taught them anything, it is to appreciate what they already have and to hold on tight.
“For us, I think we will look back at this time and see a journey. We have learnt what’s really important in life: about patience, about not sweating the small stuff. You’ve got to grab on to any celebration, every happy moment, and hold on to those memories forever.
“Health and happiness are of premier importance and the rest just pales in comparison.”
L’chaim to that.
- For more details about GYLES visit www.thediaryofGYLES.com
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