Ask Audrey: My sister's ‘outrageous’ COVID wedding request

Audrey Griffen
·Contributor
·6-min read

Audrey is a mother to a 16-year-old daughter and a one-year-old son. She probably should have taken into account who she was marrying (Osher Günsberg) much earlier, as she’s far more comfortable behind the camera as a freelance hair and makeup artist, than a TV host’s wife who doesn’t know how to work her angles for any on-camera duties.

Audrey loves to cook, decorate cakes, gardening, DIY and is very handy with a flat-pack, few of which you would pay her to do for you, but she’d happily give it a shot for free.

Audrey Griffen smiling in a navy top
Audrey Griffen. Photo: Supplied

Hi Audrey,

What is it with COVID brides just not getting that this year isn’t all about them?

My sister was due to get married in April but like many thousands of others across the globe, her wedding was put on hold due to the pandemic.

We all had a little cry and raised a glass of champagne on what would have been the big day and resigned ourselves to the fact that it probably won’t be going ahead for at least a year or so. A sad day for my sister and her fiancé but let’s face it, there are a lot worse things happening in the world right now.

Now, she’s decided to go ahead with the whole 120-person wedding in December, which I just can’t get my head around. Our family is full of vulnerable people - our grandmother has been cocooning for months and her future father-in-law is a diabetic. When I brought up this fact with her, she immediately dismissed me and told me ‘not to be such a worrier’ and they’ll make sure they put all the health and safety protocols into place.

Am I overreacting for thinking she’s being absolutely outrageous and extremely selfish for going ahead with this? I’m supposed to be her chief bridesmaid on the day but I’m seriously reconsidering and wondering if I should give the whole thing a skip. Help!

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Dear COVID bridesmaid,

2020. We all had such high hopes for you but they disappeared faster than fairy bread at a kid’s birthday party.

This year has presented challenge after challenge; worldwide sickness and death; vast unemployment; widespread collapse of industries and economies; restrictions on our freedom of movement; constant uncertainty and inability to reliably predict or control what our futures will look like; ​and​ pandemic exacerbated stress and anxiety - ​all of this leaves many of us with less than ideal mental health​.​ Lockdown gave us​ ​time to navel-gaze and figure out what it is that we truly value ​in this new world​; connection with family and friends; freedom of movement; our health and our agency over our lives. Let’s face it, this year has been a complete shit show. (I would have added more expletives but my Nana is probably going to read this.)

Your frustration with your sister and her fiancé is understandable considering the possibility of close members of your family and others to get sick. ​And while it ​is very clear how you would have approached the situation were you in her shoes, here’s the thing - ​y​ou and your sister are different individuals with very different approaches to life, and perhaps even differing values.

wedding bouquet in hands of the bride
One woman has asked Audrey for advice after her sister insists on going ahead with a wedding. Photo: Getty Images

While at first it may have looked like there was little to no chance of celebrating her wedding in the way she and her fiancé ​had ​wanted, as restrictions and rules change, they are obviously able to envision their wedding going ahead during COVID times. There have been many, many people ​who have had to throw their wedding plans out the window. I can’t imagine how hard it would be to have the event you had been planning and looking forward to sharing with your future spouse and family and friends, canceled due to a pandemic​!.​ What are the chances of that? How devastating it would be​?!​

Weddings are stressful and fraught with anxious anticipation as they are, but to have to face changing everything​?​ I can tell you that if it were me having to consider changing dates, venues, guest lists etc., I wouldn’t be raising a glass to what could have been, ​I’d be ​having a mini meltdown and breaking glassware. Ok, that’s a bit extreme but I’d be very, very upset.

While on the subject of individuals and differing values, it’s fair to say that your grandmother, and your sister’s father in law will be able to make the choice themselves as to whether they are comfortable attending your sister’s wedding. Your Nan may very well be happy to take into account the factors of current cases within your State, the number of guests and the layout of the venue, to decide whether or not she will attend. We all have different levels of risk that we are comfortable with, and that’s ok. We have to respect that some people are more conservative and risk averse, but that ​there​ are ​others​ who’d happily throw themselves out of a plane just for fun! I’ve no doubt that your sister and her husband-to-be are going to do their best to keep everyone safe. It’s not anyone’s express intention to make anyone sick for the sake of their celebration.

bridesmaids hold bouquets
The bride has many vulnerable people in her family. Photo: Getty Images

I think what it comes down to is respecting each other as individuals who can make ​choices for themselves​. In the lead up to the wedding, trying to look at it this way will give not only you, but your sister, your grandmother, and everyone else more peace of mind. We all make our own choices, hopefully with the knowledge of the benefits and consequences of those choices. It is up to us to be ok with other ​people’s​ ideas.

These are uncertain times, as we keep getting told. Life has become unpredictable and we are all doing what we can to keep our chins up and carry on. ​It’s not the first time something like this has happened to the world. ​ ​Whether it’s ​war, the Great Depression or any other global event from years past - ​we found a way to adapt​. Life continue​d​. Families ​were ​formed, weddings and birthdays ​were celebrated​, children ​were born and loved ones pass​ed away​. We can’t stop living because our world has become something we no longer recognise.

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