SAVE THE DATE OR CHANGE THE DATE

Written by Gontse Seakamela

Yes, we are all Covid19-fatigued, however, this virus has affected all of us in all spheres of
our lives. Many couples had to either change their dates or change venues or reduce the
number of attendees or worse still, cancel or postpone their wedding indefinitely.
AJ Smith and Eugene Smith could not be stopped by Covid19. They sealed the deal on the
20 November 2020 in style, safely, full of love and joy.
We asked the newlyweds a few questions about their wedding in the wake of Covid19.

Q: Please let us have your names and also your pronouns?
AJ Smith (he) & Eugene Smith (he)

Q: Please let us know how you met and how long you have dated? 
We first met in 2014 through mutual friends. At the time we were both in relationships
and thus didn’t persuade anything with the other. Our relationships with our partners
at the time taught us many life lessons and shaped us to become the loving,
respectful partners that we are today for each other. We started dating officially from
early 2020 and got engaged in October 2020.

Q: Please share who and how they proposed and the reactions and where the
proposal happened?
We both informally discussed the idea of marriage and eventually Eugene
surprisingly proposed to AJ at a restaurant in Benoni, the same restaurant that we
went to on our first date. It was just the two of us which made it an intimate affair.
Q: Please share the most amazing thing that happened during the wedding?
The most amazing thing that happened during the wedding was probably the fact that
heavy rain was expected on our wedding day (the 20th of Nov). We managed to take
the most amazing pictures at the most beautiful and extremely professional Photo
Factory Venue East Rand in Boksburg (the old gay-owned Heavensgate wedding
venue). About 5 min after we had taken the photos, it started pouring and although it
rained heavily for the rest of the afternoon, all our guests arrived at the reception on
time and safe. Friends and family all shared a common belief that rain on your
wedding day is a blessing.

Q: How did you choose your wedding date? And did you send the “save the date”
before Covid19 hit us all or during Covid19?

We decided that we did not want a long engagement and that it would be ideal for us
to get married during the Covid19 pandemic as it is a year that will always be
remembered. The hospitality industry suffered a big loss during the hard lockdown
that was imposed on our country and our support at this stage was of great value,
hence we decided to get married on the 20th of November 2020.

Q: Did you have to move your date due to Covid19?
We did not have to move our date as we only got engaged in October 2020.

Q: Please tell us about the venue you selected and share the restrictions and
protocols followed to comply with the Covid19 lockdown regulations?
We decided on the beautiful French-themed style venue “Pheasant Hill Boutique
Hotel” in Irene, Pretoria. The owner of the venue (gay-owned) ensured that we do not
overbook the venue and that the Covid19 protocols are adhered to. Seating
arrangements were adapted to include only the maximum allowed guests per table
and their staff wore masks at all times.

Q: Did anyone of your close friends or family members miss the wedding due to
their fear of Covid19?
None of our guests missed our big day in fear of Covid19. We invited an intimate
group of 40 people.

Q: What aspects of wedding planning were made easier by Covid19 regulations?
Booking the venue as there was a lot of options at reasonable prices due to Covid19.
Prices were adjusted accordingly, to make it more affordable for us. It all went quick
and we managed to arrange a beautiful wedding in just 4 weeks.

Q: Anything else that you wish to share that made this wedding special for you
guys?
Family and friends all making it and have a time of their lives celebrating our union,
this was beautiful to witness.

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