Couples rush to get married as restrictions ease

The couple was disappointed when Sydney’s long lockdown meant they had to cancel their wedding, which was planned to take place at the Pilu at Freshwater restaurant with a few dozen family and friends on Saturday, August 21.

“That was a bit of a sad weekend because it was the day we were supposed to get married. We put our activewear on and walked up there and got a takeaway banquet from the restaurant instead,” Mr Conduit said.

The couple’s wedding was livestreamed to family and friends interstate and in Indonesia, Japan, Singapore, India and the United States.

The couple’s wedding was livestreamed to family and friends interstate and in Indonesia, Japan, Singapore, India and the United States.Credit:James Brickwood

They later secured an exemption to get married by a celebrant and with two witnesses, which was scheduled for last Wednesday. But the government’s decision to ease restrictions from Friday to allow guests prompted their decision to again push back their plans a couple of days.

After the ceremony, the couple planned to share a glass of champagne with Mr Conduit’s mother at home while video-calling Ms Miranti’s parents in Jakarta. The rules still do not allow for a reception or a honeymoon.

“Hopefully, when the world’s back to normal, we can go to Italy,” Ms Miranti said. Mr Conduit conceded that lockdown restrictions meant they were more likely to travel to Fairlight than Florence for now: “That sounds about right.”

The couple were allowed five guests at their wedding, in addition to their celebrant, photographer and witnesses.

The couple were allowed five guests at their wedding, in addition to their celebrant, photographer and witnesses. Credit:James Brickwood

One Sydney celebrant had four weddings booked for Friday, while at least two weddings had been booked for Anglican churches in Sydney on Saturday.

Small legal marriage ceremonies were allowed during last year’s lockdown in NSW. Mr Conduit and Ms Miranti’s celebrant, Stephen Lee, said the tighter restrictions this year had been tough on the wedding industry.

“Today is a really welcome sign that we are now turning a corner and, hopefully, we’re going to see some sense of normality start to creep back. I don’t think we’re going to see weddings of any size or magnitude until next year.

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“But we do now have this window open again where people can come forward and get married.”

Mr Lee said he had a backlog of couples wanting to get married. Some had postponed their weddings three or four times. Others were happy for a simpler ceremony – a trend he suspected might continue after the pandemic.

“When you strip a wedding back to what it is, and it’s just two people saying I love you and I want to spend the rest of my life with you. It brings a different level of intimacy to it. It’s really a very special thing.“

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