Locked-down couples waiting to tie the knot in NSW were allowed to proceed with small outdoor micro weddings from Friday but there haven't been many takers in the Illawarra.
When Health Minister Brad Hazzard signed an amendment to the Public Health Order to allow small outdoor wedding services with no more than five guests and no receptions, the phones of local marriage celebrants and wedding photographers remained silent.
Debbie Moroney and Bec Owen were the exception late last week when one Wollongong couple decided to make the most of the opportunity and get married on Saturday.
For Ms Moroney it was her first wedding as a celebrant in 18 months.
"It has been very tough," she said. "I was so excited about this wedding and to be doing what I love. Marrying couples is such a lovely job and with only five guests weddings are lovely and intimate.
"I interviewed this couple in April - they were going to get married in May but there was a hiccup.
"They then contacted me a couple of weeks ago and I said I can't marry them yet because of the COVID restrictions.
"But I said when it opens up I would let them know and that happened last week.
"It was good because I already had all the paperwork done and everything ready to go."
Ms Moroney has been booked for another two weddings next month but she doesn't know yet whether restrictions will ease enough for the one with 100 guests to go ahead.
Bec Owen, of That Moment Photography, said it was a wonderful surprise when she got the phone call about Saturday's beach wedding because she hasn't photographed a wedding for months.
"I do wedding and family photos predominantly. Any work at the moment has to be outdoors," she said.
"I have three other weddings that are just waiting for when they can have more people.
"So everything is on hold at the moment, which is why I was so happy I could put a camera in my hands on Saturday."
The new wedding rules
Under the amendment to the public health order signed by Mr Hazzard last week:
- A person who lives in Greater Sydney can't attend a wedding service outside of Greater Sydney.
- A person who lives in regional NSW can only attend a wedding in Greater Sydney if they are part of the wedding party or the parent, child or sibling of one of the people getting married.
- A person who lives in Greater Sydney, but not in one of the 12 local government COVID hotspots can only attend a wedding in an area of concern if they are part of the wedding party or the parent, child or sibling of one of the persons getting married.
- Along with the couple and five guests weddings are presently allowed two witnesses, the celebrant and one person to record the occasion.