A couple in Shanghai has broken down the obstacles of confinement and bureaucracy to vow eternal love, with a wedding officiated by Zoom from the United States and with a party in the garage of their residential complex.

With the "Bridal Choir" blasting through loudspeakers and a handful of guests abiding by social distancing rules, Janelle Nuyts paraded in an immaculate white gown and blue surgical mask to the makeshift altar, followed by a man in a protective suit disinfecting the floor.

Long weeks of confinement have paralyzed this economic center of 25 million inhabitants while China maintains its strategy of "zero covid" in the face of the pandemic.

But the relaxation of some measures in recent weeks has allowed some residents to leave their homes, although in most cases within the confines of their residential complexes.

Groom Matthew Mitchener, 35, had doubts about getting married during the lockdown, but they were put to rest on Saturday when he saw the bride in her wedding dress and her five-month-pregnant bump.

"It’s all a bit surreal"said the Australian, beaming with delight.

After a month locked up at home, the couple married in a ceremony officiated online from the United States, with friends and family as virtual witnesses, before attending a small celebration in the parking lot of their building, where they were received by cheers and rice thrown by their neighbors.

A ban in force since 2019 in China for weddings between foreigners prevented them from getting married before a local officiant and the option of doing it in one of its embassies was not available due to sanitary measures.

The celebration in the garage was decided the day before, when his neighbors suggested having a small banquet since the relaxation of restrictions allowed it.

"things rushed"Mitchener says. "The next thing we knew, we had a wedding dress sent by a friend, a wedding cake, a bouquet of flowers".

"When I tried on the dress, everything changed"adds the 33-year-old woman.

The couple decided in March to get married online after finding out they were expecting a baby.

But the big day "it was above our expectations"Nuyts assures. "We really didn’t expect it to be so romantic".


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