Sam & I celebrated two years of marriage this September and as we celebrate what is quite a
milestone for us, I have been reflecting on our marriage and on all the ways God has blessed us. It
has been beautiful to return to the beginning and revisit the story of how we celebrated our
wedding day because it is a good story (if I do say so myself!) and it taught me many lessons which I
know have helped and will continue to help me in my marriage.
My husband proposed to me at the end of 2020, which, thanks to Covid 19, was a year of postponed
and cancelled plans for everyone. We didn’t know what the following year would hold but we hoped
it would look more ‘normal’ than 2020. We set a wedding date with the hope of being able to
celebrate with all our family and friends but we knew that if that wasn’t possible, the most
important thing for us was simply to be married. We had the date engraved on our wedding bands
and planned to go ahead with our wedding regardless of whatever restrictions might be in place
even if that meant a micro-wedding.
I’ll spare you the details of our wedding planning process but as I’m sure you can imagine it involved
sending multiple messages out to our guests with updates and tweaks to our plans depending on the
constantly changing restrictions.
As our wedding date approached, we were thrown a real curveball.
At that point, all weddings were banned in our state as part of the Covid 19 restrictions, even tiny weddings with the minimum legally required number of persons present (the couple, the celebrant and two witnesses), and in fact no churches were permitted to open. As the date approached, we prayed the laws would
change. Our florists asked if I wanted to order flowers (turns out they need to be ordered a week in
advance). I decided to order enough flowers to use for a very small wedding party in the hope that
the laws would change and we would be able to use them.
On the morning of what would have been our wedding day we awoke to find out that the laws
hadn’t changed. This was not to be our wedding day! It was a surreal feeling. I went around to my
fiancé’s house where we spent the day painting some old furniture (I love a good DIY project) in the
sun and listening to music. Generous friends and family dropped off yummy treats to cheer us up
and even a few wedding presents that they insisted we open early. It was hard to be annoyed or
upset when we were being showered with such kindness.
I had the last-minute idea to ask my talented florist friends to arrange the flowers into lots of mini
bouquets in jars. I took them around to one of the local nursing homes and delivered them to each
of the elderly residents whom I look after there. (I work as a doctor which meant I was allowed in to
visit even though the nursing home was in lockdown). The flowers seemed like loaves and fishes:
there seemed so many for what was meant to make just a few small bouquets! The tiny gift of a jar
of flowers made my patients smile. Their joy and kind words lifted my spirits and made me start to
forget about the disappointment of not being able to go ahead with our wedding.
Later that day the NSW government announced that weddings were to be permitted, with a
maximum of 5 guests, in 6 days’ time. Any disappointment that we still had was replaced with joy
that we would be able to married in just 6 days!
In 6 days: we set a new date and time, ordered a new lot of flowers, edited our booklets and
organised a friend-of-a-friend to film and livestream our ceremony. He had to hire camera
equipment from Sydney and, to this day, how he made that happen I do not know! A young woman from our parish who happens to have the voice of an angel was able to be present to sing and play
the hymns. The NSW government didn’t clarify the rules or provide anything in writing until the
evening before our wedding – it was then that we found out that the priest, ourselves, and our
witnesses didn’t count in the 5-person rule which meant our parents would be able to attend. We
eagerly called them to invite them and they even more eagerly accepted!
We couldn’t have a reception on the day we were married nor could we go out for dinner to
celebrate because our state completely was locked down. We were not phased at all though. We
were simply thankful that we were permitted to set inside the church!
I better not leave out a very important element of any woman’s wedding: the dress.
I know it is not all about the dress however I know that at least the female readers will understand when I say it is and should be still a big deal!
I am not embarrassed to admit I had a wedding dress Pinterest page years before I even met my
husband. Hours of dreaming and planning had gone into my dream dress and during our
engagement I had designed my own dress and had a dressmaker custom-make it. It was such an
enjoyable and exciting process! Because we had been in lockdown, I hadn’t had a fitting for a
number of weeks as our wedding date approached. I excitedly called the dressmaker to arrange a
final fitting but I was to find out that because her workshop was locked down, so was the dress! I
was told that it would not be possible to arrange a fitting or even a ‘contactless’ pickup or delivery of
the dress as she was not permitted to leave her home to travel to her workshop. Only the grace of
God can explain why I wasn’t phased by this. I knew that everything was coming into place and I was
not going to let the absence of a white wedding dress be an obstacle.
On the morning of our (actual) wedding day I went to my wardrobe and pulled out an emerald
green, silky, knee-length dress – an impulse buy from a shopping trip with my mum and sisters about
2 years prior. I had bought it because, even though I didn’t have an occasion to wear it to, it fitted
perfectly and was on sale and Mum had commented that it might “come in handy should a formal
occasion crop up and you need something to throw on!” well, perhaps her words were prophetic? I
tried it on and it felt like the perfect dress to be married in.
I had a relaxed, quiet day drinking tea and pottering around (a typical ‘lockdown’ day, really). It was
very relaxed and peaceful. I feel blessed to be able to describe my wedding day like that. My
housemate kindly did my hair and a friend, who is a pastor’s wife, paid a surprise visit and did my
makeup, under the guise of a ‘pastoral visit’ which was, strictly speaking, allowed.
That evening, in a most intimate and beautiful ceremony in our candlelit church, we were married.
I had never felt so much peace. I soaked in the goodness of our love for each other and God’s love.
God’s word felt so alive as the Scriptures were read, the homily and hymns touched my heart, the
grace of the Sacrament was so tangible and it was all even more joyful than anything I had imagined.
God had made a way.
In the coming weeks, I will be reflecting on 5 lessons I learnt from the rollercoaster of days leading
up to our wedding and from the wedding day itself.
Written by Grace Morey
Grace is originally from Barooga, NSW, and after a transformative experience at World Youth Day in her teens she decided to place her faith at the centre of her life. She has been active in youth and womens’ ministry in a variety of parishes and universities since. She studied Medicine in Sydney and is now a qualified general practitioner. Over the years she has moved around a lot (having a total of over 20 different housemates, she thinks!) and now lives in Albury, NSW, with her husband, Sam, and daughter, Evangeline.