COVID-19 Global Diaries: 'Our wedding left 42 guests struck down with the virus'

Emma and Scott Metcalf never imagined their honeymoon would be interrupted with shocking news from home. Emma recalls how their dream wedding became a living nightmare for their loved ones

coronavirus wedding

Emma and Scott Metcalf never imagined their honeymoon would be interrupted with shocking news from home. Emma recalls how their dream wedding became a living nightmare for their loved ones

When I married Scott surrounded by 120 guests, I remember being so happy hugging and kissing everyone. All of them are our loved ones and they made the day so special. The reception was one big party where we all laughed, danced and enjoyed every single moment.

We left Sydney for our honeymoon in the Maldives in a love bubble. Four days into the trip, one message burst the bubble. We found out two of our lovely guests had tested positive for COVID-19. It was a huge shock and it caused us a lot of worry. We immediately informed our other guests, directing them to get tested if they had symptoms and provided information to the health department.

As more and more of our guests tested positive, we knew the severity of the situation. So far, 42 of our loved ones are confirmed cases. Of course, we couldn’t help feeling some guilt that our beautiful day had now impacted so many people, even though we knew we hadn’t done anything wrong.

coronavirus wedding

Emma & Scott with guests at their wedding in March

On the day of our wedding – March 6 – there were no restrictions on events or travel bans in Australia. We never would have gone ahead with the wedding had we known what would happen. We have received negative feedback online for ‘putting people at risk,’ but we’ve been trying to champion a message of empathy and education.

When we landed back in Australia, both Scott and I (remarkably) tested negative, but we still self-quarantined for two weeks. It was really challenging being separated from our loved ones when all we wanted to do is help them. I couldn't have got through all of this without Scott. He’s had to pull me off the floor a couple of times.

We’ve joked that we knew the universe would test us as a married couple, but we didn’t realise how strong it would push us in the first week or married life. Despite what’s happened, I will always remember our wedding as a day filled with extreme amounts of love.

Thankfully, three weeks after the wedding, we started getting messages from everyone saying they were now in the clear.

Maria Coole

Maria Coole is a contributing editor on Marie Claire.

Hello Marie Claire readers – you have reached your daily destination. I really hope you’re enjoying our reads and I'm very interested to know what you shared, liked and didn’t like (gah, it happens) by emailing me at:

But if you fancy finding out who you’re venting to then let me tell you I’m the one on the team that remembers the Spice Girls the first time round. I confidently predicted they’d be a one-hit wonder in the pages of Bliss magazine where I was deputy editor through the second half of the 90s. Having soundly killed any career ambitions in music journalism I’ve managed to keep myself in glow-boosting moisturisers and theatre tickets with a centuries-spanning career in journalism.

Yes, predating t’internet, when 'I’ll fax you' was grunted down a phone with a cord attached to it; when Glastonbury was still accessible by casually going under or over a flimsy fence; when gatecrashing a Foo Fighters aftershow party was easy-peasy-lemon-squeezy and tapping Dave Grohl on the shoulder was... oh sorry I like to ramble.

Originally born and bred in that there Welsh seaside town kindly given a new lease of life by Gavin & Stacey, I started out as a junior writer for the Girl Guides and eventually earned enough Brownie points to move on and have a blast as deputy editor of Bliss, New Woman and editor of People newspaper magazine. I was on the launch team of Look in 2007 - where I stuck around as deputy editor and acting editor for almost ten years - shaping a magazine and website at the forefront of body positivity, mental wellbeing and empowering features. More recently, I’ve been Closer executive editor, assistant editor at the Financial Times’s How To Spend It (yes thanks, no probs with that life skill) and now I’m making my inner fangirl’s dream come true by working on this agenda-setting brand, the one that inspired me to become a journalist when Marie Claire launched back in 1988.

I’m a theatre addict, lover of Marvel franchises, most hard cheeses, all types of trees, half-price Itsu, cats, Dr Who, cherry tomatoes, Curly-Wurly, cats, blueberries, cats, boiled eggs, cats, maxi dresses, cats, Adidas shelltops, cats and their kittens. I’ve never knowingly operated any household white goods and once served Ripples as a main course. And finally, always remember what the late great Nora Ephron said, ‘Everything is copy.’