Ellwed Talks with Alexis, the Real Coronabride form Australia
In this episode find out how Covid-19 affected Alexis and Gabriel’s destination wedding in Greece. And how this Coronabride handled the situation!
Alexis and Gabriel also endured the consequences of this global pandemic, which has affected the whole world! But most of all, destination weddings and events industry!
By now however, thing might be moving forward after the coronavirus impact in your country or not! Greece is currently preparing to open the summer season to few select countries, but things are not over yet.
Therefore, we spoke to our gorgeous bride Alexis, who had to deal with the postponement of her own wedding as well! And I am so excited to that she is sharing her amazing Coronabride story with us!
In this episode, Alexis will share with us her tips about how and why she planned their destination wedding in Greece by herself all the way from Australia. And why the postponement to the next year was the best decision for them! So let’s get started!
Alexis welcome! It was so lovely chatting with you over Instagram! But First I want to thank you so much for sharing your story with us! We know that many couples had to postpone their weddings and we hope your story will help some brides who have to face this procedure as well. So, let’s start from the begging. How did you two meet and how or why did you decide to get married in Greece?
Gabriel and I met in 2015 at a New Years party at a club in Darling Harbour, Sydney. Gabriel had just moved from Sao Paulo, Brazil to Sydney, Australia 6 months prior. He came to Australia on a student visa, and was only planning on staying for a year before returning to Brazil. It was just after midnight when he approached me at the bar. We hit it off, and danced together for the rest of the night.
From that moment we continued to hang out and go on dates. Despite knowing he was meant to return to Brazil in 6 months’ time. But the more time we spent together, the more serious we became and realised that what we had was real. Gabriel went back to Brazil that year in June as he had to complete his university course. We of course continued our relationship long-distance. We were apart for a year and a half, although we called each other every day. And travelled back and forth between countries to visit each other every few months. Finally in December 2016 Gabriel completed his university studies. He moved back to Australia to live permanently, and two years later (Dec 2018) he proposed.
When we started to plan our wedding a big question came up as to where we would have it? In Australia or Brazil? Do we have one big wedding or split it into two? Things were more difficult because of the logistics of having families on opposite sides of the world. We also didn’t want to have a large, over the top wedding we normally see. It just inst our style. I had always dreamed of eloping, something low-key with just our immediate family, so we said “why not”. It made the most sense for us to have a destination wedding.
We love to travel, and lucky for us our families love a bit of adventure too. We chose Greece to have our wedding as my background is Greek. And we were planning to have our next trip there anyway. I believe (in my unbiased opinion) it’s the most beautiful country in the world. Theretofore it would be the perfect place for our families to come together to celebrate our love. On top, we would have an amazing holiday together with our families at the same time.
Can you tell us a bit more about your wedding? Why did you decide to postpone and when, how?
We decided that since we were having an intimate destination wedding we would book it for Sept 2020. This was to allow us time to save and enjoy our engagement. In Sept 2019 we went to Brazil to see Gabriel’s family and have a small engagement party with them to celebrate. We then did the same in November 2019 we had another small engagement party in Sydney to celebrate with our close friends. This way we could include everyone in the celebrations.
The way I designed the engagement parties were a reflection of our guests. In Brazil we had a casual Sunday barbecue lunch at a local brewery. Whereas in Australia we had it at a Japanese cocktail bar in the city with lots of music and dancing. I had organised Brazilian dancers to come perform for our Sydney friends. It was a great way to bring Gabriel’s culture into the celebrations.
Our wedding, on the other hand, I have designed with our venue and location in mind. The view speaks for itself and I want the styling and décor to compliment that, not distract. Keeping to a neutral and soft lilac palette with hints of gold, I’m attempting to combine modern lux and boho.
2019 was such a busy year! Organising our two engagement parties, travels, as well as planning our own wedding and honeymoon. Coming into 2020 I felt so prepared for our wedding. I had everything booked in. I designed and styled the event myself, made arrangements for our travels. We covered everything!
When the corona outbreak happened, I thought with our wedding being in September we should be safe to still go ahead that late in the year. However, Gabriel and I are both realists and knowing we have to consider both our families we needed a plan B. We decided that if by May we still weren’t sure then we would postpone. We tried to stay positive, especially as we were keeping an eye on how things were going in Greece, and I highly commend Greece for doing such an amazing job at controlling the virus as well as the Greek community supporting the strict guidelines that have been in place.
However, even though Australia is on track keeping the curve flattened, the restrictions and information we’re given wasn’t giving us any confidence that we would be allowed to travel by then. I also had to consider my parents who are in their 60s, and my “Yiayia” (Grandmother) who is in her 80s, and I can’t allow high-risk family members to be travelling during such a dangerous time.
It is also very scary the direction that the virus is heading in Brazil, currently the number of cases and deaths keep increasing, with no real leadership from their government. It is extremely unlikely that Gabriel’s family will be able to travel at all this year, and honestly our wedding should not even be a concern as we just want to focus on their safety at this point in time.
At the end of the day a wedding is meant to be a joyous occasion. And currently we can’t have that, when we need to focus on the well being of our loved ones. We are more than happy to wait another year if it means keeping everyone safe now, and enjoying the moment without the stress later.
How did you two feel when you found out about the corona pandemic and that you must postpone your wedding?
I was stressed at first, mainly due to the unknown. A few of my friends who were due to marry this year in April and May were made to cancel. But I was left in this state of limbo not knowing what to do because I didn’t know when and how the rules would change. I wished someone could have made the decision for me.
I also didn’t want to think that it wouldn’t happen this year, I had already spent a year planning and still had 8 more months to go till our original date… now we have to wait another year.
But once we made the decision to postpone, as heart-breaking as it was, I immediately felt relieved. The anxiety of the unknown lifted and I could get back into organising mode.
How did you handle the postponement?
I think I’ve been incredibly lucky with my experience planning my own destination wedding.
Before this whole Corona situation happened, I found planning my wedding a really fun experience.
My vendors were all very easy to communicate with. I felt really confident that my wedding would be well taken care of as I chose them based on their professionalism, their friendliness, and their abilities to answer all my questions in a timely manner without fuss.
When the corona outbreak occurred, I kept in contact with all my vendors and discussed possible options as to how long to wait and when to make the decision to postpone. We had great communication which helped immensely. They were very flexible, offering new 2021 dates and not charging any fees for this.
They have all been absolutely amazing to work with during these crazy times and have made a potentially stressful situation really easy and positive.
Did you experience any loss as a Coronabride and because of the postponement?
We’ve managed to keep all our vendors except our photographer and videographer who are unfortunately already booked out next year. 2021 is already filling up fast with weddings due to everyone being moved to next year and new weddings coming up.
It also seems likely that my Yiayia won’t be able to travel for the wedding next year as she is getting too old to fly. That really breaks my heart as I not only want her at my wedding, but I also wanted her to have this holiday and experience this trip with all of us, and visit her relatives that she hasn’t seen in a few years.
Did you think of cancelling and why did you decide not to cancel, but rather postpone?
For me, cancelling was not an option, over the past year I have developed some really great friendships with my vendors which has made planning much more special.
I feel like I scored the dream team of Greece vendors. It makes me sad I have to wait an extra year to see them in person, but it is definitely worth me moving the date to keep them, I could not imagine getting married without them either.
Also the travel aspect would still be an issue. We can’t get married without Gabriel’s parents, who live in Brazil, so they would need to travel regardless. We would rather wait till next year when we can all be together.
Will you keep your dates and location of your wedding?
Yes, so we moved our wedding exactly a year later, keeping the 4th September, at Venetsanos Winery.
We are considering having a registration ceremony in Sydney on the 4th September 2020 – what would have been our original date – as a way to commemorate, and do all the paperwork so we will be legally married here.
What about the style of the wedding? Will you keep the styling or change it and why?
I think most things I will keep the same, I have chosen elements that feel timeless to me and my personal taste. Having this extra time though does allow us the ability to save some more, so I may be able to add extra elements that I wouldn’t have considered before.
Do you have any advice to give to all the brides and Coronabrides facing the same situation as you?
Stay calm and positive. Everything happens for a reason, we may not be able to see it now but it’s a blessing in the long term. Focus on the things you do have control over and try not to worry about the rest.
Make the decision now to postpone, as dates and vendors for next year are booking up fast, especially if you don’t want to lose any vendors/dates/guests. Use the extra time you have now to save and plan for the things you couldn’t budget for before.
Keep in touch with all of your vendors and guests. Communicate with them where you’re at and how you’re feeling, and any updates or changes to your plans.
Also, understand that your vendors are in the same situation as you. This is their livelihoods so work together WITH them to find a solution that suits everyone.