A reality TV bride has caused a stir after tying the knot in front of 250 guests at what many on social media have called an ‘irresponsible’ wedding amid the coronavirus pandemic.
Real Housewives of Atlanta star Cynthia Bailey married fiancé Mike Hill on Saturday in a lavish ceremony at a country club in Georgia, the United States.
The couple were forced to move the event indoors after a hurricane put paid to their original plans to exchange vows outside.
Despite having the venue ‘deep cleaned’ by professionals before the wedding, and putting multiple COVID-safe procedures into practice on the day, Cynthia, 53, has copped a lot of flack for hosting “a super spreader event,” as one critic on Instagram put it.
“This isn’t setting an example. They hosted a super spreader event. It’s their right to do it but don’t call it responsible because it’s not at all,” they wrote in the comments on one of Cynthia’s posts.
“I think it was reckless for her to have a 250 person event during a pandemic,” added another.
‘Laughable’ safety measures
Others took issue with the ‘safety measures’ which Cynthia detailed in an earlier interview with People magazine.
“These safety measures are laughable,” one wrote.
“Unfortunately, none of what she said is true. Guests’ social media shows mostly maskless people in attendance - partying, dancing, etc.” alleged another.
Some spoke out in support of the newlyweds, arguing that the attendees were adhering to protocol.
“I don’t know what you were looking at but I saw a lot of people masked up or with shields over their face. Just about everyone's story shows it,” they wrote.
“The law didn't shut them down & the venue didn't say no. They did what they did, people didn't have to attend,” added another.
As one user pointed out, only time will tell if the safety measures were enough to prevent any COVID-19 cases.
“Now we will wait 2 weeks for the outcome,” they wrote.
Elsewhere on social media, it wasn’t just the event itself that was raising eyebrows but also the bride’s sheer, bejewelled gown that one Facebook user compared with a ‘communion wafer’.
“This woman is a reality star having a super large wedding during a pandemic and wearing this disaster of a dress,” wrote a Facebook user.
“I’m not body or sl*t shaming her. I am shaming having this big event during a pandemic AND I personally feel the dress is ugly. To each their own, I guess,” they added.
“If you’re gonna go down the aisle 90 per cent naked, why even bother with traditional white?” commented another.
“Anyone else feel like she HAS to hold the bouquet in that exact position?” remarked one of a particular shot of the bride walking down the aisle.
Bride defends COVID wedding
Ahead of her nuptials, Cynthia told People magazine about the “strict” precautions she was putting in place to protect guests from COVID-19.
The couple had the venue ‘deep cleaned’ by a team of professionals from Saniture Facilities Maintenance ahead of the ceremony. Upon arrival, guests would have their temperatures checked and be asked to sign a COVID-19 waver. They’d also have to wash their hands and “wear a mask at all times”.
To encourage social distancing indoors, the traditional sit-down meal would be replaced with buffet-style 'food stations'.
“We aren't messing around,” she said.