Couples set to wed next week reveal fear new Covid rules

Couples set to wed next week reveal fear new Covid rules

December 23, 2021

Couples set to wed next week reveal their turmoil at waiting to find out if further Covid restrictions will ruin the big day AGAIN – with one bride-to-be saying ‘the stress is making me ill’

  • PM Boris Johnson has held off enforcing new lockdown restrictions before Xmas
  • However, couples planning a winter wedding in the days and weeks after Christmas say they’re in turmoil that plans will be ruined by a ‘circuit breaker’
  • They say their guests are anxious about getting Omicron and they’re worried that florists, photographers and wedding venue staff may be off work
  • Rachel Howell, 37, and Craig James, 29, from Shropshire, have cancelled their wedding once already – and fear they may be forced to postpone again
  • Office manager Kayleigh Grant, 36, says she’s so worried that her wedding to fiance James Smith – with 72 guests – will be called off that she can’t sleep

Couples who are hoping to finally get the winter wedding they planned to have last year – before lockdown struck – have revealed their turmoil at finding that their plans once again in jeopardy. 

While Prime Minister Boris Johnson has held back from any official Covid curbs before Christmas, couples due to wed in the days and weeks after December 25th have been sharing their agony at being at the mercy of more possible restrictions being introduced.

Alongside the fear that Omicron will rip through their guest lists and affect the work of suppliers and staff at their venues; they now say they’re also living in fear of guest number limits being reintroduced within days.  

The £14 billion pound UK wedding industry, brought to its knees for much of 2020 and early 2021, faces yet another blow; couples who assumed they’d be safe a year on from the first Christmas lockdown are again faced with the prospect off calling off their nuptials.

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Winter wedding jeopardy: couples who’ve spent months planning to have a wedding next week are now fearing new restrictions will come in after December 25th that could see their plans cancelled

Helen Pye, Deputy Editor at wedding website Hitched, told FEMAIL that the romance of the festive season means it’s always a popular time for weddings, and couples hoped they’d escaped Covid’s curse: “Planning a wedding is stressful at the best of times, let alone with the added layer of uncertainty Covid continues to present. 

‘With Christmas and New Year being such a popular time to tie the knot – and many postponed weddings moved to this period – even more couples will be feeling nervous about what’s to come.

‘The best advice we can offer couples is to keep communicating with your venue and suppliers. It’s important to remember that they have the same amount of information as you, so try to be patient with them.’ 

Take heart, says Pye, that ‘everyone wants your day to be a success.’  

‘It’s become so stressful, I feel like it’s making me ill. We’re set to lose thousands if our wedding doesn’t happen…’ 

Rachel Howell, 37, and Craig James, 29, both teachers from Shropshire, were due to marry last December but put their winter wedding on hold hoping they’d get the green light to walk down the aisle this year instead. They’re now fearing for their re-arranged wedding, due to take place next week, with guests having travelled from across the UK and even America to be there… 

Rachel Howell, 37, and Craig James, 29, who are both teachers from Shropshire, were due to wed in December 2020 but were forced to cancel as lockdown hit. A year on, their new wedding date – December 29th – now also looks in jeopardy

Worry: The couple, pictured, have friends who travelled from America two weeks ago – at ‘huge cost’ – to ensure they’d have enough time to quarantine if they caught the virus en route

‘We’re on tenterhooks, we’ve been checking Omicron figures and watching them rise, we’re waiting for any type of announcement from the Government about whether we can go ahead.

‘I’m a really positive person but I think this is making me ill; I feel so anxious and I’m on the edge of tears all the time. 

‘I should be really excited now but I’m nervous and overwhelmed by everything. We’re both exhausted by it. 

‘My mum’s in a care home and I haven’t seen her because we’re trying to stay safe – and she’s now made the decision that she’s not coming to the wedding. 

 ‘Everything’s booked, we’re ready to go’: Rachel says the couple are ‘exhausted’ by the uncertainty over whether their manor house wedding faces being cancelled again

Getting married next week? How to keep stress levels down…

Helen Pye, deputy editor at wedding website Hitched, says communication is key in these complicated times.

‘The best advice we can offer couples is to keep communicating with your venue and suppliers.

‘It’s important to remember that they have the same amount of information as you, so try to be patient with them.’ 

Take heart, says Pye, that ‘everyone wants your day to be a success.’ 

‘Make sure you keep your guests up-to-date with any changes as they’re confirmed: emailing is the easiest way to do this, so everyone has the same information and knows what the plan is.’


The couple say they’ve taken every precaution they can to ensure their country house wedding goes ahead.

‘We’ve done everything we can – our guests are all triple jabbed – our venue, a country manor house, holds hundreds of people – we only have 23 people attending including ourselves.’ 

There’s frustration and disappointment – even though their wedding could still go ahead – at how the uncertainty has affected the build-up. 

‘It’s our right to get married in the way that we want and everyone is being safe – it was supposed to be a chink of light for us in all this gloom.’ 

They say they faced a decision day on Wednesday this week when suppliers asked them to confirm they wanted to press ahead with food and flower orders. 

‘We’re set to lose thousands of pounds if our wedding doesn’t go ahead.

‘We’ve had two of our guests fly over from America, at huge cost to them. 

‘They came over two weeks ago so they’d be clear should they catch the virus.’ 

Speaking about their plans last year, Rachel says: ‘We planned to get married last December, and again the Government was late in making announcements. 

‘A lot of our guests had anxiety when Covid rates went up and we were worried that guest numbers would be small so we postponed. 

‘We thought surely by next year, it’ll be okay. We knew there might be a spike again but we hoped the Government would handle things better. 

The couple say their appreciate the importance of affecting the NHS but they just want some clarity either way.  

‘It’s the inaction of the Government that is causing the most anxiety. I’d really like to see the Prime Minister give a figure on guests for weddings and funerals so people like us can make a decision.’

‘Our guests have put their lives on hold for fear of contracting Covid – we feel like we’re playing Russian roulette with lateral flow tests!’ 

Bride-to-be Kayleigh Grant, 36, an office manager, from Westerham, Kent is set to wed fiancé James Smith, a plumber, 34, next week on December 31st, after already re-arranging their big day once before… 

After bride-to-be Kayleigh Grant, 36, and fiancé James Smith cancelled their wedding last year, they’d hoped a wedding on New Year’s Eve 2021 would be a safe option – however, the couple say they’re now stressed at what should be the happiest time of their lives (Pictured on the day the couple were engaged in 2019)

Kayleigh and fiance James should be celebrating their first wedding anniversary. 

Instead, the couple, who live in Kent are still engaged – a year after they tried to get married but had their plans scuppered due to the 2020 Christmas lockdown. 

Kayleigh explains: ‘We got engaged in December 2019, and paid our deposit and signed contacts with our wedding venue two weeks before the first lockdown in March.

‘We thought getting married now was going to be okay, but then Omicron arrived three weeks ago and we’re just not enjoying what should be one of the happiest times of our lives.

‘We have 72 day guests, who also have families to think about. I know they don’t want to let us down by not coming – weddings are not cheap, however they need to do what’s best for them.’ 

The couple’s wedding venue hasn’t been helpful, says Kayleigh, which has added to their woes – she admits if their big day is cancelled, there might be some feelings of relief because their 72 guests are currently taking great care to avoid catching the virus so they can attend

She says many of the guests have ‘put their lives on hold’ for the time being, afraid to go out in fear of contracting Covid and not being able to attend. 

‘We feel like we are playing Russian roulette with lateral flow tests!’ 

Kayleigh says the threat of more restrictions has left them anxious but they haven’t found much reassurance at the venue where they’re getting married.  

‘We are trying to manage everyone’s expectations and concerns with no helpful advice from the venue. 

‘I know they don’t know much more than we do but I’ve never done this before let alone amidst a global pandemic, I would have felt better and more at ease if they were more proactive.’

The bride-to-be says she’s struggling to sleep while there’s uncertainty over their big day

With Wales and Scotland imposing stricter restrictions, suggesting England might go the same way, Kayleigh and James now say they’re dealing with ‘so many scenarios and not a lot of outcomes’.

Kayleigh says the impact on her mental health has been significant. She says: ‘I’m currently not sleeping (unless I’ve had a large glass or two of wine!). 

‘We’re constantly checking the news and trying to answer our guests’ questions with “I don’t know”. 

‘We’re feeling lost and out of control. I know if the Prime Minister does do a circuit breaker straight after Christmas, it’ll give me just three days to move suppliers and find another date. I just can’t process that just yet – we’ll be absolutely gutted. 

She adds: ‘There would, sadly, be some relief probably too though – purely because I don’t want anyone to feel worried about coming to our wedding.’

Omicron is 80 PER CENT less likely to lead to hospitalistion than Delta, according to real-world South African research 

People who catch Omicron are 80 per cent less likely to be hospitalised than those who get Delta, a major study from South Africa suggests.

The real-world analysis, of more than 160,000 people, comes ahead of a similar UK Government report expected to show Britons are also less likely to be severely ill with the variant. 

Omicron sufferers were also 70 per cent less likely to be admitted to ICU or put on a ventilator compared to those with Delta, according to the study led by South Africa’s National Institute for Communicable Diseases (NICD). 

South African doctors have insisted for weeks that Omicron is milder since raising the alarm about it on November 24 and accused the UK of panicking about Omicron.

But the researchers at the NICD who carried out the study, which has not been peer-reviewed yet, said it still doesn’t answer whether Omicron is intrinsically weaker than Delta.

‘It is difficult to disentangle the relative contribution of high levels of previous population immunity versus intrinsic lower virulence to the observed lower disease severity,’ the researchers concluded. 

Built-up immunity from three previous waves of the virus and vaccines are believed to be doing most of the heavy lifting in keeping patients out of hospital this time around.

Up to 70 per cent of South Africans are believed to have had Covid before and only around a quarter are double vaccinated, with boosters not widely available yet.  

The findings will raise hope that the UK also face a much milder wave, with 75 per cent of the population double-jabbed and nearly half boosted.

Boris Johnson is said to have held fire on bringing in more Covid restrictions ahead of Christmas after the UK Health Security Agency tentatively backed suggestions that Omicron infections tend to be less severe, boosting hopes that the coming weeks may not be as bad in terms of case numbers and hospitalisations as experts have previously forecast.

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