We’re walking down the corridor of our house. It’s our aisle. It’s the four of us: Harry Hookey, Felix the Cat (seven), Dotbot (three-and-a-half) and myself. The kids picked their own wedding outfits. It turns out trackie pants and skeleton t-shirts and dresses pulled out of the dirty washing basket are totally appropriate when it’s a COVID wedding. It turns out anything goes, actually, and my gosh it’s liberating. You don’t need shoes, or forced smiles, or caterers. Hey, you can run down to the supermarket, half an hour before the celebrant arrives to get a slab, some darts and potato chips. You don’t need hair-dos or guest lists, personalised place settings or bonbonniere.
It turns out that for a wedding during a global pandemic, all you need is love.
Stepping into our backyard in Sale — all kinds of tangled up because it’s a narrow corridor and there’s half-carried kids and my dress is getting caught around legs — we burst into the sun and there are our two beaming witnesses: our dear friend and celebrant Bec Symons, and our neighbours hanging over the fence. They’re all clapping and cheering. There’s some delightful confusion because there’s no precise endpoint to our march down the aisle. We meander as a clump of humans and eventually come to a stop near some geraniums.
It’s the wedding service Harry and I had dreamed of. Bec is a legend and, with no audience, our falling-in-love story can be told in its true entirety! (Something to do with a chance meeting at The Town music festival in Licola and a leopard suit).
We’d both vowed to not plan our vows. One of the reasons to get married like this was so wedding planning wouldn’t have to take up any room in our already busy brains. So our vows were messy, funny and spontaneous. We cried so much my fake eyelashes half-dislodged — no one told me and it didn’t matter. We fumbled words and laughed more than we spoke. In front of a crowd, it would have been an embarrassing mess. In our COVID wedding, it made perfect sense.
The kids could be right there in the moment with us, uncensored with no-one saying, “Shhhhh!”. Felix and Dotti drew rings on our fingers with textas and heckled the service… “What’s an awful wedded wife?”, and “Mum, your fake eyelashes make you look weird,” and “FELIX LOOKED AT ME!”.
"Mum, your fake eyelashes make you look weird"
I never thought I’d get married. The whole concept of an actual wedding was daunting and besides, you have to fall in love in the first place (honestly, that’s a tricky magic formula that’d always eluded me). But when you’re shooting the breeze with the love of your life on your front porch at sunset and realise if you swap the initials of both your names it spells “Marry Him”… Well, you absolutely have to get married, right?!
I’m generally more sarcastic than sentimental, more iconoclastic than idealistic… so it almost shames me to say that our wedding, without a doubt, has been one of the most beautiful days of my life. It was a rose-coloured dream. So much so that Felix attacking our witnesses with his Nerf gun, the dog eating the cake, so much fake eyelash glue getting in one of my eyes that I was permanently weeping, my dress staying clean for all of one second… None of it mattered. The day was love-drunk bliss.
There are no social politics or formalities in a pandemic wedding. Your bank balance sings ‘Money Can’t Buy You Love’ and it’s that exciting to be doing something other than watching Netflix or pretending to your children that you like board games. Your head is in the clouds.
Pandemics are shit. Pandemic weddings on the other hand… I do.