Weddings once again on hold across Echuca-Moama

By Andrew Johnston

WEDDINGS will again be limited across Echuca-Moama as regional Victoria returns to stage three restrictions.

Only five people will be permitted to attend a ceremony from Thursday, August 6 — with two witnesses and the celebrant joining the couple.

Echuca marriage celebrant Jennafer Whelan said a number of weddings had already been transferred due to the restrictions.

“This is a day they have been planning for a long time, their most special of days. And it has been taken away from them with very little warning,” she said.

“I celebrated my most recent wedding on March 19. March is typically my busiest month, so when COVID started having a major impact on March 23, things changed a lot for those who were planning to get married, and the plans for many shifted forward about six months.

“In the past few days we have received a lot of phone calls, texts and emails from couples who had their weddings planned for later this year. There was a very real concern about the virus, but also optimism we would pull through it and be able to resume life as normal.

“Now we are headed back into some tough times and people need to adjust. Now those weddings which were booked for later this year have now been moved to next year.

“There has been some difficulty with dates, but thankfully I have been able to accommodate all of my bookings. But couples are staying positive, they're rolling with the punches and doing everything they need to do because at the end of the day, their wedding is what matters.”

But according to Mrs Whelan, it's not just the couples who have been willing to compromise.

“Vendors have been fantastic,” she said.

“Everyone is recognising how difficulty this is and how much has changed, so they have helped in changing dates or refunding deposits — whatever it will take to make things.”

While the world will eventually return to some form of normality, Mrs Whelan said she expected COVID-19 to have a long-term impact on the wedding industry.

“I've been celebrating weddings for more than 30 years and have seen a great deal of change in that time,” she said.

“I believe they will never be quite the same again. Couples had planned for 150 to 180 guests who are now telling me they will be having 80 to 60. People also wanting to celebrate their love in a way they may not have thought of in the past.

“What remains key in all of this is people's wedding days remain incredibly important. It's one of the most special days of your life, and while it may look different in the future, it still has the same meaning.”