Getting married in the pandemic

Organizing a wedding is a mammoth and difficult enough task at the best of times, but what must it be like to be “tying the knot” in the middle of a global pandemic?

Maggie, a lecturer in public health, and Andrew, a governor at a London college, have known each other for 35 years and took the decision to get married in December 2020. Both were determined to be “man and wife” before they hit the age of 70. They had hoped to have the ceremony in January 2021, but the COVID-19 situation in the United Kingdom at that time meant that weddings were highly restricted and non-essential travel was discouraged – making it impossible for guests to attend.

As Maggie says, “It was very disappointing that we couldn’t get married in January, but the safety of our guests had to be paramount and it wouldn’t have been the same just getting married on our own”.

Instead, the couple decided to hold off until July 2021, when they hoped the easing of public health and social measures, and increased vaccination coverage would allow for a safer event, with fewer restrictions, which more of their invited guests would feel comfortable joining.

As a result, they booked a historic central London venue for the ceremony, taking on board current COVID-19 restrictions that limited the number of guests to 30 to ensure adequate social distancing, and the need for everyone to wear masks while inside the venue.

“It might not be the big wedding we’d hoped for – and it’ll be a bit odd with everyone in masks, but at least we get to get married with our friends,” commented Andrew. “We know that quite a few people might feel apprehensive about coming, but we’ll do all we can to reduce the COVID-19 risks in the venue, including providing hand sanitiser and making sure doors and windows are open to give plenty of ventilation.”

The pair are now really looking forward to the “big day”, although saddened that some of their family and friends from overseas will not be able to come. “We understand that international travel just isn’t sensible right now with COVID-19 still around,” says Maggie, “but hopefully it won’t be too long before we get to see them again.”

To reduce their own risk from travelling, Maggie and Andrew have decided that rather than having their honeymoon in Italy, as they’d first intended, they will instead treat themselves to 2 nights in a luxury apartment, just around the corner from the wedding venue.

WHO/Europe has launched its Summer Sense campaign to encourage everyone to exercise caution and keep safe from COVID-19 this summer. With the pandemic far from over, we all need to practice #SummerSense, and:

  • if you want to travel, think about the need. If you decide to, do it safely;
  • assess our risks at every step;
  • take precautions, such as cleaning our hands frequently, keeping a safe distance and wearing a mask;
  • avoid the three Cs; settings that are Closed, Confined or Crowded.



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