On the theme of weddings during the coronavirus pandemic, following our post from yesterday of Married in the middle of a pandemic, we were contacted by the beautiful Chelsea who gave a recollection of her beautiful day. Upon reading this couples story I felt like there was too much to share to not make it its own post - so, here we are!
Ben and Chelsea met back in 2014 and spent 4 years as friends. One day Ben asked Chelsea out on a date and the rest was history!
Ben popped the question a little while later in Chelsea’s family paddock in the Mid North Region of SA in the most romantic way. A runner full of photos from their relationship that Ben lead Chelsea down before getting down on one knee to ask her to marry him.
What they didn’t realise was that their wedding plans changing would cause them to be married in this exact same spot, overlooking the rest of the family farm.
“Ben and I had been planning our wedding for the 4th April at a Winery in Auburn” said Chelsea.
“Ben had just moved to a rural town in Victoria for his graduate nursing job, and I had been living at my family home on the farm, and doing relief teaching. We couldn’t wait to start our new life together in VIC on a new adventure. We had been counting down the days and were so excited!”
“I had my bridal shower and Hens night on the 14th of March, and after that, Covid rules got more and more strict. First I was devastated to learn that we couldn’t go on our honeymoon to Vanuatu, and then the restrictions for our wedding got tighter and tighter. However, People kept telling us, at the end of the day, you’re marrying the love of your life and that’s the most important thing. Therefore, we knew that we still wanted to get married even if we had to change our plans.”
“In the last 2 weeks as the rules all kept changing, we too kept changing our plans and how it could all work. Things really got tense on Monday 23rd of March when it was announced that SA’s borders would be closed from 4pm on Tuesday the 24th of March.” Not only would this have meant that Ben and Chelsea would not have been able to be married as originally planned on the 4th of April, but it could even potentially stop the couple from being together for six or more months.
“However, his boss and co-workers were amazing and quickly changed all of his shifts at work so that he could get back across the border just hours before the new law came into place.”
Chelsea explained that their plan then changed to be married on Friday the 27th of March as the restrictions started to get tighter and tighter. But to throw just another spanned in the works, when Tuesday night approached new restrictions were announced that would be effective as of midnight Wednesday.
Only 5 people could be at a wedding. Bride & Groom, celebrant and two witnesses.
“Having our family there to witness our marriage was something that was super important to us” said Chelsea.
So at 9am on Wednesday morning she called up her husband-to-be and asked him if he wanted to get married later that same day.
“Half an hour later, we were frantically planning all the details.”
“My Dad made the arbour for us that day and my Mum decorated it, I made my own bouquet, and Bens Mum (owner of Rustic Tarts) made a wedding cake! I also wore my sisters formal dress as my wedding dress was still at the dressmaker, and my Grandma hemmed it up for me.” Chelsea also mentioned that a cousin of hers took videos of their special day.
Two other vendors helped the final details come together - Make-Up by Kate Heaslip who drove all the way up from Adelaide on very short notice and Cobie Sinclair Photography who was asked 3 hours prior to the wedding to be there and capture their special day - talk about working fast!
“While we were still legally allowed to have 500 people at an outdoor event if they were 1.5m apart, we decided that it was ethical to have only family and our bridal party present. The guests were advised to stand 1.5m apart, and they were not allowed to hug Ben or I or each other.”
The couple had to ensure that they had hand sanitiser available for their guests, but a global pandemic had meant that everyone had gone and stocked up on enough hand sanitiser to last them years and there was none left to buy. So what do they do? Oh you know, just make their own. Yep. The day of their wedding they bought ingredients to make their own hand sanitiser and put it all together for their guests.
“It was a very special ceremony, and I loved saying ‘I do’ in the presence of our family and closest friends as the sun set.”
Chelsea and Ben were married on the 25th of March in a breathtaking ceremony at sunset on Chelsea’s family farm - the same location Ben had proposed a short 7 months earlier.
“We had just our immediate family and a few close friends back for pizza & wedding cake on our back lawn. Despite the chilly night, we had to be outdoors due to the 4m2 rule per person when indoors.”
And because the intensity of arranging a wedding in a day wasn’t enough, during the middle of their first dance the Bluetooth speaker that was playing the music decided that it had enough and broadcasted to everyone that it needed to be charged due to its critical battery. Twice. Oh, and then just turn off. Cool cool cool cool cool.
“The highlight for the whole night was when our local friends heard we were getting married they all drove out to our farm and drove past with flashing lights, horns blasting, big posters they had made and all their cars decorated and all yelling out their windows! It was so precious and memorable. We truely have the best friends ever!”
Ben and Chelsea have made plans to do a vow renewal ceremony and reception early next year to celebrate with the guests they had planned on inviting and to whisk away on their honeymoon when restrictions ease.
“While we were devastated that we had to postpone everything that we had planned for and dreamt of for our wedding, it turned out to be a pretty special and memorable day. As it turned out, it was a windy, wet and cold day on the 4th of April anyway which would’ve put a downer on our planned outdoor wedding anyway!”
The couple have well and truely had their fair share of craziness planning this wedding in 7.5 short hours - and what a story they have to show for it.
The couple expressed how they are so happy with how everything fell into place and their excitement for celebrating again with the rest of their friends and family when the time comes.
“What we would say to couples in similar situations to us is that although it may not be the wedding that you dreamed of, it is still very special and memorable in its own way. We are so glad that we didn't postpone and we have no regrets from our wedding day, we love every part of it even though it was so different to what we had planned. Although it's okay to grieve the changes for a time, you have to accept the situation and make the most of it!”
We’re sending all our love to Ben & Chelsea and wishing them all the happiness in the world. What an incredible story!