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Virus puts love on hold as wedding numbers plunge


The number of Queenslanders choosing to tie the knot plunges as the coronavirus pandemic puts a cap on wedding guests.

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Figures from the Registry of Births, Deaths and Marriages show there were 652 marriages across the state in April 2020, compared to 2070 at the same time last year.

In March, 1503 couples married before public health measures were introduced to limit ceremonies to only five people.

As of June 1, gatherings of up to 20 people are allowed.

While the prospect of not being able to say “I do” in front of friends and family has prompted many couples to cancel their big day, the pandemic has provided a push for others to exchange vows.

Nurse Josie Husson made the “tough decision” to bring her wedding forward because she was concerned her job at Townsville University Hospital could see her forced into isolation.

She had planned to have 80 people at the ceremony but had to settle for just two witnesses.

“The church was very, very empty — it was different and very unusual,” Husson said.

“If we can get through a wedding during a pandemic then I guess we can get through anything.”

Even her husband’s three-year-old daughter, who was supposed to be their flower girl, was barred from entering and had to watch from the church stairs.

“That was a bit hard, because leading up to the wedding we were talking to her about how she was going to be part of our day, and it was going to be so lovely and special,” Husson said.

“There was someone there saying ‘No, she’s not to step foot in here’, so they were definitely very strict on the five-people rule.”

Townsville wedding planner Karen Baldwin said there were many unanswered questions about how social-distancing rules would apply to wedding parties.

“Since the end of March we have had a 100 per cent cancellation or rescheduling of all of our bookings to date,” Baldwin said.

“The only income we’ve been getting is through deposits for bookings into 2021 — we’re just in sleep mode.”

Baldwin said ceremonies would likely remain on hold until gatherings of 100 people were permitted again.

“A lot of our clients still stuck with their original wedding date and did an elopement, and then rescheduled for 12 months’ time to have a vow renewal, and then have the big party after,” she said.

Husson said she had no regrets about bringing her ceremony forward.

“It being a little bit more intimate and more of an elopement was special because we were really able to focus on just us and didn’t have to worry about what could go wrong,” Husson said.

“The main focus was us getting married and the love.”

– ABC / Lily Nothling

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