Two Jewish weddings held immediately after Shabbat to beat Tier 4 restrictions

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Two Jewish weddings held immediately after Shabbat to beat Tier 4 restrictions

James Buckman and Debbie Waterman tied the knot at Borehamwood shul, while Jamie Collins and Chloe Martin got married at Edgware United on Saturday night

Tali is a reporter at Jewish News

James and Debbie under the Chuppah
James and Debbie under the Chuppah

Photographers, videographers, hairdressers and guests – not to mention the bride and groom – normally have months of notice to plan meticulously for the big day.

But Debbie Waterman and James Buckman today spoke of the “whirlwind” few hours that saw them bring their wedding forward by a day to avoid tier 4 covid restrictions from Sunday.

After Boris Johnson announced the new restrictions would come into force for London, the couple sprung into action to invite family and friends, as well as other essential figures for a wedding day, to the hastily-rearranged ceremony at Borehamwood shul that night.

Everyone was present that was originally meant to be there and in what James called a “very overwhelming moment” a temporary chuppah was made out of a friend’s tallit, with some of the couples closest friends holding up the canopy. By 10pm they were married by Rabbi Alex Chapper.

James and Debbie with Rabbi Chapper

James Buckman said: “The ceremony was very special and intimate, at the heart of what a wedding is. People on the livestream said they could feel the warmth. It ended up being better than I could have ever expected.”

Rabbi Chapper said: “It was such a privilege to make it happen for them. They really wanted to get married before the midnight deadline and there was something quite magical and intimate about the last minute and late night chuppah.”

They weren’t the only couple to react with such speed. Chloe and Jamie Collins were originally due to marry on 6 September, but had to reorganise three times due to changing coronavirus restrictions.

The couple were allowed 13 guests, 15 including themselves, but over 100 people joined on Zoom to watch the ceremony.

Chloe Collins told the BBC: “Our rabbi had the idea to bring the wedding forward. We just started calling people to see what we could do, and the more calls we made the more people said ‘yes’.

James and Debbie’s ceremony

“It was a miracle that it just kind of came together. It felt like a dream. Some people take years to plan a wedding, but we did it in two hours.”

Under the previous Tier 3 rules, 15 people were allowed to be present at a ceremony.

Wedding ceremonies are no longer allowed over the next two weeks under Tier 4 rules which came into force after midnight on Saturday for London, the South-East and East of England – unless you have ‘exceptional circumstances’, for example where one partner is seriously ill and not expected to recover.

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