Irish couple Róisín and Andrew decided to hold their commitment ceremony online after the pandemic scuppered their original wedding plans
When the coronavirus pandemic started shutting down large gatherings, it became clear that Róisín and Andrew's wedding wasn't going to happen as they'd hoped.
As the original date loomed, they were increasingly disappointed. But mostly, they were concerned that guests might feel obligated to travel for their big day.
“We realised that although our gathering was due to be under the 100 guest limit at the time, that we would be putting many of our loved ones under unnecessary pressure to make it to our wedding,” explains Róisín, a trainee educational psychologist originally from Co. Wicklow.
“But at the same time, we wanted to mark the day and before we knew it, it had grown into a full-blown commitment ceremony.”
My aunt said it was the best wedding she’d ever been to
That morning, before the big Zoom ceremony, their guests logged on dressed up in full wedding regalia, they swapped photos of the couple, who met as teenagers and shared bubbles, albeit from the other side of the screen.
Their celebrant joined them online while all family and friends heard their promises to each other, watched them cut their cake, and even have their first dance around the living room of their apartment.
“My aunt said it was the best wedding she’d ever been to,” laughs Róisín.
Andrew, the groom, who works for the Barbican Art Gallery in London, said they thought a great deal about the decision to go ahead with what they call “Part One” of their wedding celebrations.
“Even the excuse to reconnect with family and friends was important to us. We wanted the day to be a happy moment. For everyone. We also acknowledged that it was a really tough time but it did allow everyone to focus on something joyous. Even the grannies were able to join us online!”
The couple, who now live in North London together, have always had a refreshingly unique approach to their union.
For their engagement, rather than ‘waiting around for a decision to happen to me’, Roisin explained that she and Andrew picked a date when they would both propose to each other and exchange engagement rings. “It was a mutual agreement. We went to a stunning hotel in Wales and enjoyed prosecco in a giant maze. It was really romantic.”
For the ceremony itself, the couple was able to show their guests the bespoke rings they'd created in a ring-making workshop before the pandemic hit.
Sister of the bride, Elaine Byrne says it was a hugely memorable day. "In such uncertain times, the day brought great and enjoyable relief from the madness.
“It’s a credit to them both how they conveyed their love so movingly over the ether. I bawled my eyes out, I had a blast, and it made me feel so connected once again to family and the new family that I look forward to meeting in person at wedding part two!
“Kudos to them both for taking the difficult decision so early on to keep everyone safe and being so generous to be able to bring the ceremony to us all!"
And although the ceremony was not legally binding, all the guests agreed it was a hugely moving and memorable day. So would the couple recommend it?
“Definitely,” they say simultaneously. “It was such a better option than focusing on the negative,” says Andrew. “It was really lovely to still have that sense of occasion and to celebrate with family.
“We are so happy we didn't let the pandemic stop us.”
Images via the happy couple
Read more: Five wedding dress trends for 2020
Read more: Tom for on the art of looking good on Zoom
Read more: What it's like to have your wedding cancelled due to Coronavirus