The Coronavirus pandemic has left the wedding industry hanging in the air. When can we have weddings again? Is 2020 a complete write off? Can we have a small wedding? Will next year be ‘back to normal’? Will we still have to social distance? How will that work in practice?
This got me thinking back to last August when my best friend got married in France. How lucky they were it was last year not this year, how much ‘closeness’ there is at weddings, how much we took for granted.
I wrote my ‘best woman’ speech on the plane. Sloshing down glasses of rosé, constantly bumping elbows with my next door neighbour. I met the groom’s family at Geneva airport for the first time, hugs and air kisses all round before squeezing into the back seat of the car for a cosy three hour transfer.
Lou and her close friends have all lived in France for years. Kisses on both cheeks is standard and this takes away so much uncertainty for me. I’m an anxious ‘greeter’ in the UK. Do we shake hands? Hug? Kiss on one cheek? Kiss on both cheeks? It’s just not clear! I guess the pandemic has removed this uncertainty… we just don’t do any of them! We wave from a distance. We open our arms into an air hug gesture that says “I’d hug you if I could!”. And I really would. I’d love a hug. Maybe that should be my default setting when (if?) we can go near people again. Hug as standard.
Glad Rags and Broad Hips
On the way to the official wedding ceremony, I squeezed into the back seat with Lou and her mum. Such excitement. Such closeness. So lovely to have fresh highlights, neat eyebrows and to be wearing a nice dress and makeup!
(Taking the shine off the joy and happiness somewhat, Lou’s dad cheekily nicknamed me ‘broad hips’ after this and made me sit in the front for subsequent journeys…)
Oysters & Fizz
At the reception I was French kissing everyone. Confidently smacking two kisses on everyone while wafting around with a glass of fizz in one hand and an oyster in the other. Good times.
Bump & Grind
After dark we were dancing on picnic benches, people swapped clothes, folk were in bushes (doing the very opposite of social distancing).
The day after the wedding we sat on the edge of the pool, hot legs touching, pouring each other wine, sharing stories and cigarettes.
The Way Home
The descent down the mountain to the airport saw bums and limbs squished together again, a McDonalds stop, a puke stop. Fragile souls, big hugs, happy memories.
As far as I can tell there’s no end in sight to the uncertainty but we still know we love people, we still know how to have a good time, we still know what makes a good celebration. Perhaps the last few months have made you realise what’s important to you, who your friends are. Perhaps we’ve all remembered it’s the simple things that are the most important. Your very favourite people. Time. Laughter. The best food and drink.
I think we’ll see much smaller weddings in terms of guest lists, but elongated celebrations. Weekend-long weddings with a dance floor big enough to ‘social distance twerk’?