Coronavirus wedding: Together at last… but at a distance from the guests
THE course of true love may never run smooth, but like Shakespeare’s lovers Lysander and Hermia, a couple were determined to achieve their own happy ending by tying the knot in Jersey.
As if overcoming the complex visa issues for bringing Lauren Gallaher’s partner of four years, Micheljump Rosa, to the Island from his home in Cambodia was not difficult enough, the couple then faced a further wave of challenges brought about by coronavirus.
The couple met in Rosa’s native country while they were both working for the same charity, the Cambodian Hope Organisation, and their relationship was able to survive and grow after Miss Gallaher – as she then was – returned 6,000 miles home to Jersey.
Twice-yearly visits may have been the only times when the couple could see each other, but they kept in regular contact and planned for a future when they could be together permanently.
‘We were waiting for news about Rosa coming to Jersey, but it’s not quick, and we didn’t get the news we were hoping for by Christmas,’ Lauren said. ‘But in mid-January the visa was granted and Rosa was able to book his flights to Jersey.’
Although the couple had declared their intention to get married, they were not officially engaged until Rosa popped the question on Valentine’s Day, meaning planning could be stepped up for a late-spring wedding in Jersey on 30 May.
Coronavirus may scarcely have registered on the radar in mid-February, but it soon became apparent that the global situation was worsening and it was necessary to make their wedding a moveable feast.
‘It was very important for us to be able to get married, not least because Rosa’s visa was dependent on it,’ Lauren added. ‘We chose a new date of 4 April, and then 30 March, but our vicar said we should do it as soon as possible and we were given permission by the Dean.’
Just before the eventually chosen date of 24 March, another curveball was thrown the couple’s way when new measures meant Lauren’s brother, sister and brother-in-law were required to self-isolate after travelling to Jersey for the ceremony.
The latest restrictions meant that the family visitors had to stay inside the family home on Trinity Hill in St Helier, while the bride and groom entered via the garden with their witnesses – Lauren’s parents, Neil and Francelise.
The service was conducted in warm sunshine – not quite a Midsummer Night’s Dream, but pretty good for early spring – by the Rev Paul Brooks, of St Paul’s Church.
‘It was an amazing day,’ said Mr Brooks. ‘I have known Lauren for many years, and Rosa for almost as long as Lauren has, and it was great that two people of strong faith could get married in the eyes of God.
‘It’s wonderful that two people born continents apart could fall in love and be able to be married in our beautiful island – it was very special to see Rosa’s reaction when his bride walked in through the garden gate.’
With Rosa’s family in Cambodia keeping in touch via Facebook live, the service was followed by a takeaway meal delivered by the Portelet Inn, before the newlyweds set off for their honeymoon.
Original plans to go to the Lake District had to be shelved, so the newlyweds set off for L’Horizon Beach Hotel & Spa overlooking St Brelade’s Bay, where they were among the only guests.
Lauren said: ‘It was great to have some time to relax. It had been very busy getting everything organised, but everything seemed to come together just in time, with a little help from our friends – flowers, orders of service, the men’s suits and the rings.
‘What felt like a bit of a rush and panic turned out to be such a blessing – it was a wonderful and unique day and we’ll have great memories of it.’
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