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Open letter... on post-Covid weddings

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Planning a wedding during the pandemic has been a headache for couples.

Planning a wedding during the pandemic has been a headache for couples.

Planning a wedding during the pandemic has been a headache for couples.

I'm as giddy as a schoolgirl who has got two jabs, a box of lateral flow tests, a wedding invitation and a flight to catch. In the new era of post-Covid weddings, the deliberation about whether the shoes match the dress, and that's just my husband, has been replaced with endless online searches about who can travel where and when - and we're only going to Scotland.

If we were travelling any further, I'd have melted the internet.

But it's been so long since we were allowed out in public the social etiquette may have changed entirely.

I shook someone's hand in public recently and spent the next five minutes apologising for the glaring social breach.

I'm hopeful the basic etiquette of a wedding is still the same. Compliment the bride, thank the parents for the invitation, compliment the food, flowers and bridesmaids, hand over a generous gift, don't mention the reinforcement of patriarchal structures.

The fact the wedding is happening at all is also comment-worthy since so many nuptials have floundered in the face of restrictions. I know the complications of organising a funeral under strict rules on numbers.

It was like picking a World Cup team when several relatives ended up on the subs bench, despite their impressive sandwich-making skills and possession of a nice suit. I haven't done that much head-counting since my daughter's 10th birthday party after we lost a child in the ball pit.

The wedding numbers have already been restricted for the church, so some family members have been asked not to attend, and we've selflessly taken one for the team.

For the reception, I wonder if we have to be seated a metre apart, and how that affects your small talk. It's strange now to watch pre-Covid TV panel shows when they're practically sitting in each other's laps. After just over a year of abnormality the previous normality looks almost claustrophobic.

And hugging is a huge issue, particularly with family members we haven't seen since the world went mad.

I am a hugger and proud of it. There doesn't need to be an excuse, or even an introduction, and if one of the huggees hasn't cracked a rib you're not doing it right.

Since Covid started, I've felt like my arms have been strapped down. I'd hug the ironing board if it wasn't insisting on the social distance thing.

The hidden dangers of hugging had already become an issue before the pandemic started, with a debate two years ago about whether kids should have to hug relatives if they didn't feel comfortable with it.

The demise of the humble hug started with creepy relatives and consent and has ultimately been killed off by Covid-19.

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For some sensible input I asked my husband, 'Should we hug at the wedding?' 'We hug all the time,' he told me.

And is it acceptable to ask if someone's been vaccinated before moving in for a rib-crusher, or are all the unvaccinated people at a separate table with the under-10s and some colouring books?

Should there be a checklist with the wedding favours about whether you've experienced fever, headache, or loss of smell?

How does dancing work, and will dad moves have to be shelved for another year? Can I sing along to Ed Sheeran (it's a wedding, there's always Ed Sheeran)?

But I know with certainty that we'll laugh, drink, toast, and the bride will be beautiful.

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