New York Notebook

We decided to cancel our wedding – it’s sad but also a source of relief

Next week, Holly Baxter and her fiancé should have been flying back to the UK to make preparations and see their parents for the first time since Christmas. Alas coronavirus put an end to all that

Tuesday 12 May 2020 13:52
Ester Concilio and Rafaele Carbonelli kiss following their wedding ceremony in Briosco, Italy, this week
Ester Concilio and Rafaele Carbonelli kiss following their wedding ceremony in Briosco, Italy, this week

This week – week nine of quarantine for New Yorkers like my fiancé and me – we decided to cancel our wedding. It’s sad to see it written down like that, in uncompromising black and white, but it’s also an undeniable source of relief. When councils in England shut down, our appointment to give notice was cancelled indefinitely; when Boris Johnson announced that any arrivals by air would have to isolate for 14 days, we knew that was curtains for a large portion of our guest list and potential upheaval for ourselves. As the months went by – and people we knew started postponing their own weddings from March, April, May and June – we realised that we would be competing against a huge amount of brides- and grooms-to-be if we did end up wanting to reschedule in 2021. After a discussion with our venue over the weekend, we decided to pull the trigger on Monday: our September 2020 wedding will now be happening in May 2021.

Now comes the admin of dismantling what should have been our happy day. First came the hen and stag weekends, which we were supposed to be attending in two weeks’ time; they were cancelled last week, while we still hoped we might be able to go ahead with the ceremony. My bridesmaids and hen party attendees have been touchingly lovely about it all, and sent me a large bunch of flowers as a morale boost. We’ve agreed to sign in on Zoom and video-chat with drinks during the day we would have done my bachelorette activities in a villa in Austria.

Next week, we should have been flying back to the UK to do our tastings, as well as my hair and make-up trials. Even if we’d been deluded enough to think those could still go ahead, Norwegian Air made the decision for us by cancelling our flights this week. We haven’t just lost wedding prep, of course, but also a fortnight period when we were due to see our parents for the first time since Christmas; now, we just hope we’ll be able to see them in time for Christmas 2020 (or it’s a Chinese takeaway in a studio apartment for us). I’m sad about it, but I have also had a lot of quality time with my parents since the pandemic began through much more regular and much longer phone calls than I ever bothered to do previously. Every cloud, eh?

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