Love and marriage in a time of coronavirus

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Hayden Willding and Raffaela Anastasiou face uncertainty after St Mary’s Cathedral was forced to postpone their wedding. PHOTO: Supplied

Bride’s tears as dream wedding hopes are shattered

Hayden Willding and Raffaela Anastasiou from Rozelle in Sydney’s inner west are among the many couples who are left scrambling to change their wedding plans due to the coronavirus pandemic.

They had dreamed of a May wedding with around 160 of their family and friends at St Mary’s Cathedral, but those plans were scotched by the Government restrictions on indoor gatherings followed by the 23 March closure of all places of worship.

“I was preparing myself mentally for it, but as soon as I heard the Prime Minister’s announcement I just cried,” said Ms Anastasiou.

“There was nothing I could do. I called our reception place, called St Mary’s. The cathedral is such a popular place to marry and although they are trying to help me to reschedule there’s nothing available for me until later next year.”

Parishioners observe social distancing guidelines at Mass at St Charles Borromeo in Ryde before churches closed on 23 March, 2020. PHOTO: Alphonsus Fok

“I don’t know if the photographer and videographer I want will still be available and I’m trying to get my head around the fact that something I have put so much effort into planning is now not going to go ahead. I’m in disbelief and I am upset.”

The couple, who met through friends, were engaged in November 2018 and have been saving and planning for their wedding ever since. Mr Willding said he is now worried about the “tens of thousands” of dollars in deposits to the reception venue and suppliers that may now be lost.

“Our reception was going to be held at Pier One and they are trying to be helpful but if their business and others fall over there’s not much we can do about it,” he said. “It’s frustrating when these are savings that over the years we’ve built up.”

They also don’t know what the situation was with relatives who had already booked their flights and accommodation to attend their wedding, Mr Willding added. “It’s very hard at the moment, though I’m glad St Mary’s offered to help us to change the date, and hopefully everything can be lined up again.”

‘I won’t let this get me down’

Ms Anastasiou was was keeping their disappointment in perspective and said her heart went out to the wedding reception providers.

“They are copping it 10 times worse than we are at the moment,” she said. “I only have my own wedding to think about, but they have hundreds to think about.

“I’m not going to let something like this get me down. Getting married to the love of my life has always been a dream of mine and as much as of course I want the wedding I had envisioned, at the end of the day it’s about the person who is going to be married to me and having my family there.

“That’s the most important thing.”

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