By Ayinde Summey
MAIN IMAGE: Police escort a bride to a waiting police van after they arrested her for breaking the coronavirus regulations at her wedding in Richards Bay at the weekend. The image has been widely shared on social media. Source: Twitter.
What was supposed to be a joyous wedding celebrated under the year-round South African sun turned into a catastrophe with the arrest of the entire wedding party of 53 people in Richards Bay at the weekend.
The couple were arrested after they were reported anonymously to the police for breaking the mandatory government regulations governing social distancing during the nationwide shutdown due to COVID-19.
This is the second time a wedding party has been broken up by police in the KwaZulu Natal province since the start of the lockdown. The couple was in the middle of declaring their vows when several heavily armed police officers arrived.
The police are under instruction to arrest those violating the government’s orders to stay at home.
At the previous incident, at a considerably larger event, the police arrived after the vows ceremony and just as the party was about to eat. In this instance, the police asked the crowd to disperse and arrested only the bride and groom, who were fined R1000.
Other prospective brides and grooms have been making sure they don’t similarly face the long arm of the law.
In Cape Town, one couple went through with their big day anyway – but with a difference. They exchanged vows with cardboard cutout figures to serve as “guests” while their dog acted as the ring-bearer.
Dan Mace surprised his fiancee Gabi Esterhuizen with a home vows ceremony on the day they should have been married – attended by a number of cardboard ‘guests’. Source: Dan Mace YouTube
The groom, Dan Mace, had contracted coronavirus on a trip to the US and had been quarantined before the wedding.
He and fiancee Gabi Esterhuizen had hoped to find a way to have a ceremony despite the government’s orders but realised they would have to postpone. So Mace decided to surprise Esterhuizen with an alternative ceremony in their garden, sharing their big moment on YouTube.
Mace told the Cape Times he was not against the restrictions.
“I think that our president as well as the supporting organisations have taken bold but well needed steps to ensure that we beat this virus, but that can only happen if we work together and follow the rules,” he said.
The couple still plans to have a formal wedding with their original guests in December and they will take the extra time to finetune their long-delayed ceremony for the summer.