Covid-19: Argentina couple defy coronavirus to hold virtual wedding

Aspitia (left) and Cuggino posing for pictures on the day of their virtual wedding, in the Argentine city of Cordoba. When the couple got engaged to be married a year ago, they set a date in March 2020, but like countless others across the globe, their wedding fell victim to the coronavirus lockdown. — AFP/Almendra Fantilli/Handout

BUENOS AIRES: When Argentine couple Diego Aspitia and Sofia Cuggino got engaged to be married a year ago, they set a date in March, but like countless others across the globe, their wedding fell victim to the coronavirus lockdown.

Argentina went into a nationwide lockdown last week and faced with a choice of whether or not to go through with their wedding plans, the couple decided to hold a virtual service, with minister, friends and family all looking on via Instagram and Facebook.

"A wedding is one of the most important events in life. It took us a while to get used to the idea that we were not going to have the one we wanted," said Aspitia, 42, a drugstore employee in the central city of Cordoba.

"But we left our dream aside for the common good. We are staying at home, we respect the isolation and we are very happy with that."

Having just moved into a new home and using a WiFi signal borrowed from neighbours, the couple linked up on Saturday with their evangelical church minister, and about 400 "guests" for the event.

"When everything fell through, we had to keep to the most important thing in mind, which for us was always that others be there as witnesses and to have their blessing," said Cuggino, 32, an agronomy professor at Cordoba University.

"That was it. There was no party, there was no food, there was no dress – that was it!" she said.

Party on hold

Their romance "was built through video calls, letters written on paper, hours talking on WhatsApp, Telegram, all the means there were", said Cuggino, who spent much of their relationship studying in Spain.

Plans for a wedding party are on hold until the nominal 11-day quarantine period is over.

"But as soon as it ends, we'll go to the registry office to have the marriage in person, because in Argentina for your union to be legal it must be validated by the civil registry and a judge," said Cuggino.

"The party is pending, because we want to hug and dance and laugh and look each other in the eye and drink with our guests."

Argentina has nearly 300 coronavirus infections, with four deaths.

Though most coronavirus cases are concentrated in Buenos Aires, the couple's home city of Cordoba is also a significant hotspot. – AFP

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