For Alana Wade and Bede Matthews, a Canberra autumn was to be the perfect time for them to get married.
The pair, both true locals who have grown up in the city, met 11 years ago and when they became engaged last year they wanted to make it official quickly.
"We wanted an autumn wedding because it's the most beautiful time of year in Canberra and we wanted it to be sooner rather than later because we've got a couple of family members who aren't very well," Ms Wade said.
A close family member with a rare form of cancer and a terminally ill rescue greyhound, set to be dressed up as a bridesmaid, were close to Ms Wade's and Mr Matthews' minds as the wedding day became uncertain.
Last weekend, they had to make the heartbreaking decision to cancel their April wedding, just four weeks out, as the COVID-19 pandemic caused global disruption.
It is a decision currently being faced by couples across the globe, as venues and other wedding suppliers say the industry will struggle for the rest of the year and into the next.
"We kind of got to the point where we could sense our guests were getting a bit uneasy about if we were going to go ahead or not. And we were like, 'we don't want that'. We don't want uncertainty and people to be scared to come to a wedding that's meant to be happy. It's meant to be joyous," Ms Wade said.
So last Sunday, the couple spoke to their parents and slept on the decision. After weeks of growing unease, the decision had to be made: the wedding would have to wait.
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Mr Matthews' family has now been spread from Canberra all over Australia, making the prospect of travelling unnerving.
"I think my aunty said she couldn't come. She lives over in Western Australia and said she wasn't comfortable travelling with the virus and especially through airports. That was probably the first sign that there might be a bit of a problem, especially with people coming down," Mr Matthews said.
In the lead-up to the decision, Ms Wade said she had gone around in circles.
"Should we? Shouldn't we? Maybe we should wait; maybe we could push through. I think the hardest thing was we knew what the decision was, we just didn't want to make it," she said.
The news has been received well by family and friends - 130 were invited - but it has still been awfully tough.
We kind of got to the point where we could sense our guests were getting a bit uneasy about if we were going to go ahead or not.Alana Wade
Their contingent of canine bridesmaids - Tiffany, Winter and Sugar, all rescue greyhounds - will likely be down a member by the new wedding date in October, or the "back-up back-up" day in March 2021.
Sugar, who was diagnosed with osteosarcoma and had a rear leg amputated, has had a gruelling program of chemotherapy and has already exceeded expectations.
"We thought 'this is amazing, she's actually going to make the wedding', which is April, which I still think she will, but I don't think she'll make the new date," Ms Wade said.
Mr Matthews said the wedding had been a beacon of hope after a turbulent and unforgiving start to the year.
"I think especially with the start of the year, with the fires and the hailstorm, I think for us the wedding was just something to look forward to, as a kind of new beginning after all the terrible stuff that had happened throughout the year," he said.
Ms Wade said the couple would still try marking what should have been their wedding date.
"At this stage we're still hoping to go on our honeymoon that we rescheduled to Australia, in the Blue Mountains, but we don't know what will happen there. We will just leave that one and pretend it doesn't exist until closer to the day and just hope it's still OK," she said.
"We decided we'd take ourselves out for a nice dinner on the day of the wedding, so that we could at least acknowledge it was meant to be a nice date and not let it pass by. We're still hoping that we can do and the restaurants haven't been closed by then.
"But we'll see."
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