Juno Dawson: Hey Boris, Brides With Weddings Planned This Summer Need Some Clarity

As the new Covid variant creates more uncertainty for couples hoping to marry, Juno Dawson says it didn't have to be this way.

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by Grazia |

I want to preface this by saying my wedding doesn’t actually matter. I swear to you this isn’t me going full Bridezilla. We’re talking about a global pandemic that’s killed 128,000 people in the UK alone - clearly my partner and I getting hitched is hardly a priority. It’s not even a priority for us; more than anything we want to see our friends and family, our community, safe and well.

That said, I’m sure I’m not alone in saying I want life back. I want joy back. Our wedding, originally scheduled for June 2020, has become a grim totem of how long we’ve been living under the dark cloud of Covid.

Max, my fiancé, proposed in November 2019 and I got on with what soon became known as ‘wedmin’. We found a caterer, a photographer, a venue, and I commissioned the dress of my dreams from a local designer in Brighton. Because our venue isn’t traditionally a wedding venue, it meant there was no waiting list and we decided there was no point in dragging out the planning; we’d marry the following summer. Invites went out in January 2020 when Covid seemed like something very, very far away from Sussex.

Of course, we all know what happened next. Kerry, my maid-of-honour works for a big multinational company and saw which way the wind was blowing. Even before Lockdown 1 hit, she wisely said 'Juno, this is going to be with us for a while...' I thought she was exaggerating but, to be overcautious, we moved the wedding to March 2021 so we could keep our caterer. She told us, if every 2020 wedding cancelled, her business would go under.

But as we went into Lockdown 3 in December, we knew there was no way a March wedding was going to happen so, to be cautious, we moved to July 2021. This meant we then needed to find a new caterer and florist who already had bookings on this new date. More stress, more wedmin.

Now, of course, we are staring the B.1.617.2 variant, first discovered in India, right in the face. Like the whole country we have been assured that restrictions on weddings would be lifted on June 21, opening us up to celebrate with 50 guests in July. That is now far from certain. It’s an anxious time. All we can do is wait, but waiting games are excruciating. I’ve become a skilled Covid fact checker, every day trying to scientifically forecast the spread of a virus. Needless to say, this incessant checking – fuelled by too much time online - is taking a toll on my mental health. My anxiety levels are up, I’m snappish, and my sleep is all over the place.

However irritating it is for us – the anxious brides-to-be - my heart goes out to all the caterers, photographers, florists, DJs, bands, dress makers and venues who are relying on an influx of business over the summer wedding season. For them, this isn’t ‘a delay’, it’s their livelihood. Max and I went for a food tasting a few weeks ago, when things were looking rosier. Our new caterer managed to stay afloat delivering meals-on-wheels during lockdown within their local community. Not all businesses were able to adapt; she told us how one major event caterer in the south has now gone for good. Their overheads were too big to survive the shutdown.

What is especially frustrating for both brides and businesses alike is the sense it didn’t have to be this way.

I think what is especially frustrating for both brides and businesses alike is the sense it didn’t have to be this way. We can all see how life has carried on pretty much as normal in Australia and New Zealand. Yes, their border and quarantine policies are tough, but they have allowed those island nations to thrive more or less Covid-free. Looking at the so-called Indian Variant it’s painfully hard to see where lessons have been learned in 2020. It’s also somewhat galling to see the government bend over backwards to get football fans into stadia while limiting weddings to 30 guests.

What both businesses and brides need is clarity. Johnson has dragged his heels into lockdown three times now. Yes, they are undeniably shit, but delaying the inevitable doesn’t seem to help anyone both in terms of economics and, more tragically, the human cost in lives. Getting tough now might mean we get to enjoy a summer in July and August.

For now, Max and I are trying to watch the news unfold with steady heads. We’ve postponed our wedding twice, and we can do so again if we have to. We decided over a year ago that we’d rather wait than have a ‘Covid Wedding’. It’s become more than a wedding now. This date, whenever it happens, will now be a party to signal the end of the darkest of times; with music, dancing, family, friends, drunken hugs and, yes, love.

Juno’s books include THIS BOOK IS GAY and CLEAN. She won the 2020 YA Book Prize for MEAT MARKET.

READ MORE: Coronavirus: What Are The New Rules For Weddings?

READ MORE: Wedding Rules Have Changed Again: This Is The Reality Of Postponing Nuptials During A Pandemic

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