He said ‘yes’ in October. On a yacht in the Ionian, I’d blurted out ‘Let’s get married!’ after just five months together.
Over the following weeks, in a dizzy, romantic and manically high emotional state, we’d booked our church in Corfu, met the priest, secured a venue and visited Aphrodite Corfu Villas in Agia Pelagia – our dream accommodation. Big Fat Greek Wedding: sorted.
I was openly smug about my organisational skills, and completely relaxed that everything was in place for the big day: 12 September 2020. Being half-Greek, I’d been planning my wedding all my life, so putting it in motion felt effortless.
What is it they say about the best laid plans?
By January, we’d scrapped the wedding. I was pregnant and my due date happened to be on the same day. It felt so serendipitous it made me laugh out loud when I thought about it. That was also around the time that Covid-19 came onto our agenda – but it was still far enough away in China (or so we thought) for us to not pay too much attention.
Once coronavirus had caught up with Europe in February, I’d reached the ‘safe’ 12-week mark. Then I miscarried in Greece, having visited to break the news to family there (as a travel writer I split my time between Athens and London).
I was distraught. A numb hopelessness came over me as lockdown commenced in Athens, away from my tight circle in London. My fiancé Edoardo’s entire family in Milan were in lockdown, and people he knew were on ventilators, dying.
So, in fear of completely losing it, I threw myself into planning our wedding again.
I was doing all I could to keep my mind occupied – desperate for a distraction, I demanded Edo stay up late in the night organising bits of paper with names of our 150 guests into a seating plan.
Although I knew he thought I was rushing into making wedding plans while the world went into lockdown, he was patient and calm with me, and understood that I needed just one good thing to look forward to in order to cope.
I’ve yet to experience any panic that it might not go ahead. Perhaps naively, I’m hoping that by September, we might have got to grips with the virus and our ‘new normal’.
So we’re ploughing ahead with the plans, in spite of it not being quite as we’d imagined. Invites, for instance were hurriedly sent out to a BCC-ed list via email, instead of being printed. Classy.
Hovering over the ‘send’ button three months before our big day, I felt ridiculous, stubbornly going ahead with an overseas wedding while friends and family were nervously disinfecting tins from the supermarket.
Once the email was sent I was inundated with a flurry of worried messages from guests. They expressed concerns about flight availability (they’re either extremely expensive or non-existent), economic instability, and an undoable 14-day quarantine on return to the UK. One also has a genuine (and very reasonable) phobia of becoming ill.
I would be depressed, but after all that’s happened, all I can do is pour my hope into this wedding.
With every RSVP and trip confirmation email I’m forwarded, I get increasingly excited. I might actually be able to pull this one off. As the days go on, friends book onto flights that they are aware may never actually leave the ground.
Even if they do get to Greece, accommodation is proving tricky. Apparently, other people, who are as optimistic (or deluded) as I am, held onto their holiday bookings for September, meaning good accommodation near the venue is few and far between for the week of the wedding.
Taking care of the finer details is also impossible. The taverna playing host to our pandemic nuptials is not yet open, so we haven’t been able to go for a tasting. Receiving anything like my shoes, fairy lights and even the cake topper – all online purchases – is proving near-impossible, and our photographer, taking care of a sheltering mother, is not able to travel.
We had lavish plans for flying a pastry chef in from Milan, which are now laughable.
All these things would usually frustrate us both so much, but after all that life has dealt us this year, we realise that there are some things you just can’t plan for. Even weddings.
Ultimately, we’ve decided to continue on with our plans because despite all the setbacks, we want to have at least one positive thing to look forward to (and enjoy) on the day our first child would have been born.
Our lives, careers and social lives have already been put on hold for long enough because of this virus.
We want to finally move on and throw one hell of a party. Opa!