It was supposed to happen next Friday. The ceremony would be in an apple and pear orchard. Dinner among the decorated trees at long tables full of friends and family. Then dance late into the night. That was the dream wedding of Esther Luijk (27) and her fiancé Bob (36). “After every press conference, less of our dream was left.”
Corona spread across the country. Esther: “Everything became uncertain. Did I already have to book the make-up artist or wait a little longer? Was the location inside corona proof, could we still move it if that was not the case and rain was forecast? We were doubting, doubting. Van our happy wedding vibes were little left. “
In June they took the plunge: postpone. A whole year. With the hope that next year corona will be under control. “We have been in doubt for a long time. My grandfather and grandmother mean a lot to me. They are 94 years old and have dementia. The chance that they will be there next year is small.” Fortunately, she has a video message from her grandparents. “That was part of my boyfriend’s proposal. My grandfather and grandmother have been married for almost seventy years and in that video they tell me all the secrets of a long, happy marriage. After the video, my friend proposed to me in a Saint Nicholas poem.”
A friend of Esther’s plans to have her wedding next month. Esther is master of ceremonies. “I get it, they have been engaged for three years. But it is also complicated. Guests are not allowed to congratulate the bridal couple. You sit in a fixed place all day: at the ceremony, the reception and then at the dinner. Then you hope. but that your neighbor is a bit sociable. “
Esther’s dress can stay with the tailor for a year. After their decision, normal life went on and on September 18 she was scheduled for work. “Not long. A week after we had canceled everything, I was fired. Corona meant less work.” She now has a job again, and her new schedule has 18 September as a day off. “Then we’ll do something fun. We don’t know what yet, but we’ll make it a special moment.”
Idyllic church on a mountain
“10 10 – 20 20, nice date, right?”, Says Liesbeth Uithol (42). She has four dresses ready – “I couldn’t choose” and a plane ticket. The plan: to southern Spain with 25 friends. Get married in an idyllic church on top of a mountain with an amazing view. A whole weekend of partying, eating, drinking and dancing with everyone they love.
“My parents have a house on the mountain where all the guests can sleep. We wouldn’t come down that mountain all weekend.” But then came corona. “During the first press conference we said to each other: ‘Fortunately that date was canceled in April’.” Her friend Ronald had asked her on New Year’s Eve, just after midnight around the campfire in front of their camper. “He suggested April, I thought that was too early. It was October.”
But also in October, corona Europe is not yet out. “Last week we decided to cancel everything. We were crazy about the weekly changes. Then Spain was code red, then orange, then it was safe again. Then Brussels, where we would be flying from, became code red. Very annoying.”
Their guests also struggled to change, hold or cancel their ticket. “We had already stopped organizing because the rules were constantly changing. Our suppliers in Spain were also going to be difficult.” Covid-19, “they would say.” We don’t know if we can deliver. ” After the umpteenth change I looked at Ronald. “Now it’s done”, I said. Apart from our own conscience, we also had to take responsibility. We are not getting married for the first time and our wedding is not a must. We want to celebrate our love , how we like it. That’s not five feet from our friends. “
Cry on the mountain
10 10 – 20 21 then? “Who knows what the world will look like then. We will first travel through Europe for seven months with the motorhome in February.” Those four dresses just go along. “Who knows, we might end up unexpectedly at a great location. Then we just fly everyone in and get married. We’ll see how it goes.”
All guests have since canceled their tickets. Ronald and Liesbeth not yet. “We still want to go to Spain, the two of us. We’ll go there on that mountain and cry about our missed honeymoon holiday.”
“Remondo and I have been together for thirteen years, have our own company, a house and two children. We have had a whole life together. Marriage is the icing on the cake for us. We only wanted to do that when the children were older”, tells Irene van Zuthem (31).
This year it would happen. The couple organized a festival wedding in the meadow next to their house: a large tent, 150 chairs, a runner, a tire, seven food trucks and lots of guests. That was the plan for the end of June, when the days were long and dusk at its finest.
Pregnancy test still warm
“Our date had been set for two years and everyone was looking forward to it. Jokingly, jokes were already being made: who would be pregnant? And sure enough, our best friends came by around Christmas. He is our wedding official and she is master of ceremonies. pregnant, they said. The due date was two weeks before our wedding day. “
“The idea that they couldn’t be there … that just wasn’t possible. Then at the end of August. Not much later, another good friend was on the phone crying, the pregnancy test was still warm. You can guess when she was due. We are moving. everything to the beginning of May. That date stood still. “
“To make myself familiar with the new date, I started putting it on everything to compensate. On the napkins, the cards for the table, my homemade denim jacket for when it got cold, it was engraved in our rings. We were there. all ready and at the end of February we sent the invitations. At that time, Corona was still that crazy virus in China, no one expected it to bring the Netherlands to a standstill so quickly. “
The first press conference took place 1.5 weeks later. “Rutte looked straight at us through the TV screen:” This virus is not here for weeks, but months, “he said.” Remondo and I exchanged looks: it was seven weeks before our wedding. Suddenly no one was allowed to get together anymore. “
Irene’s parents are in the high-risk group and they were concerned about their grandmothers. There was nothing else to it, the wedding was postponed. She hung her summer wedding dress in her parents’ attic. All napkins, handkerchiefs and decorations disappeared into a very large cupboard. Remondo quickly picked up his suit, afraid that the business would go bankrupt.
Irene found the phone calls to all suppliers the most difficult. “We have an online business that has grown through corona, but all the earnings of the freelancers in the wedding industry have dried up for an entire year. That’s why we dropped all down payments.”
They have now returned to the first date, a year later. “We would very much like to copy-paste our plans to next year. But I don’t dare to look forward to it yet, who knows, the festival wedding might not take place again. Next year my dress will be in the attic for 1.5 years. also long enough. Maybe we should still celebrate it in a slimmed-down form. I hope not, but the date remains. That’s for sure. “
Almost 50 percent fewer weddings since Corona
After the first press conference in mid-March, there were 450 fewer marriages every week than in the same period the year before. Rutte announced that only thirty wedding guests were allowed to come. What made it extra complicated: all catering establishments had to keep the doors closed. Every week, more than 500 couples gave each other the yes. The number of registered partnerships hardly decreased compared to last year.