Whether it’s getting engaged on Valentine’s Day or planning a 150-person wedding for August at Howard Smith Wharves’ picturesque Bougainvillea House, if there is one thing my friends and family know about me, it is that once I set my mind on something, I am full steam ahead.
As many newly engaged couples can no doubt relate, we were swept up in the excitement, busily planning our wedding before things started working against us. First it was the celebrant who stood us up (that is never a good omen), then the wedding dress shopping ended in a scraped car and an almost $10k bridal dress bill. But never in my wildest imagination could I have predicted COVID-19 was going to undo our wedding.
When COVID-19 struck and restrictions began to be enforced, my fiance and I were devastated to realise our dream wedding would have to be cancelled. With a planned guest list from around the world, plus young and elderly guests that we wanted to join us, we realised it would be at least 12 to 18 months before our original wedding vision would be a reality. With a heavy heart, we sent out an email advising our guests we were cancelling our event, and worked with the venue to make alternative arrangements.
It was a devastating blow to what was meant to be one of the most exciting times of our lives. We have been riding this euphoric cloud as the newly-engaged couple, basking in the absolute high we were feeling. COVID-19 had come through and crushed us in one fell swoop.
After many long therapeutic nights enjoying gin and tonics on the balcony we reflected on the importance of marriage, to us, and what we wanted for our lives. Our love and desire to be husband and wife hadn’t changed, so why would we put our lives on hold for COVID-19? We decided we would move forward with our wedding but in an adapted, virtual way.
We would be having a Zoom wedding, which was a very fitting outcome for the founder of Women in Digital, if I do say so myself.
Unsurprisingly, we received mixed feedback from friends and family. Most were supportive of our decision but they did have one condition. They asked us to promise that we would hold a big party to celebrate as soon as we could, which is definitely in the works.
With a big, protective and conscientious family there were still a number of important guests that couldn’t attend, including my fiance’s 80-year-old grandmother. Introducing the concept of a Zoom wedding that she could watch from the comfort of her couch was an interesting discussion.
Less than an hour after the wedding, we were celebrating our nuptials with champagne and I received an email advising me that the recording of “Matt and Holly’s Wedding” was ready – the quickest wedding video turnaround of all time, I’m sure.
The day was spectacular. In fact, I wish I could rewind and do it all again. There was something magically symbolic about beating the odds and moving forward with our commitment come rain (oh, did I mention it rained just before our ceremony too?), hail or pandemic – we were going to make it happen and become husband and wife.
This pandemic has forced us to change how we conventionally think about things in both our personal and professional lives.
With so many uncertainties, we have proven that you don’t need to put your life on hold. We have continued to push forward with our community-based events at Women in Digital online (that’s right, not only a wedding but work events too) and are planning to host the Women in Digital Awards in an online format later this year. If we can do it for a wedding, you’d better believe we can do it for an awards gala!
What 2020 has taught me, my family, my husband (I’m still getting used to saying that) and my team is that life happens, problems arise; what doesn’t change is the original purpose and meaning of the event, the essence of what we’re committing to and the importance of beating “Rona” at her own game.
Holly Tattersall is the founder and CEO of Women in Digital and an occasional InQueensland contributorJump to next article