BRIDE-to-be Shae Lavery feels couples have been jilted at the alter in the Victorian government's latest easing in pandemic restrictions.
Ms Lavery is to be wed to fiance Jake Andison on November 7, a day before the next proposed restriction announcements. While she understands and accepts the rules for weddings, Ms Lavery remains frustrated at the discrepancies and nuances in the state's steps towards COVID normal.
Nuptials remain capped at 10 people, including the couple, plus a celebrant and one photographer.
In contrast, outdoor religious ceremonies, gatherings and funerals can have up to 50 people while from Wednesday, indoor religious gatherings allow for 20 people plus one faith leader.
New changes mean outdoor hospitality venues can cater to 70 people, subject to space requirements and bring in live entertainment under added restrictions.
Ms Lavery understands the need for caps and the increased risk of spreading the virus among families but questions a fine line between restrictions for funerals and weddings and why a faith-based wedding could not be classed as a religious ceremony.
"We're more than grateful weddings are not still five people like they were a month ago but it looks like this will not increase more until 50 people in the next step - that's a big jump up from 10 and there's no middle ground," Ms Lavery said.
"We're getting married in the gardens at Kirks (Reservoir Park). If we got married on Mum and Dad's property we would only be allowed two visitors.
"If the government came out with reasons why weddings are different it might help but it annoys me nothing much is said about it."
Ms Lavery and Mr Andison will be wed before their parents and Ms Lavery's grandparents. She had hoped restrictions would ease enough just for their siblings to attend. They will not have a reception - this would be a seated meal; no mingling, no dancing, no cake service.
They did not want to postpone the wedding, instead holding out hope. In early June, when the first lockdown ended, Ms Lavery said everyone had been looking forward to the wedding.
One of their parents had a health scare mid-year, and this also changed the couple's perspective on the wedding.
When is COVID going to be over? We don't know when this will end or how things will look.Bride-to-be Shae Lavery
"Chances are if we did postpone, it would be fine, but my partner said when is COVID going to be over? We don't know when this will end or how things will look," Ms Lavery said.
"Family doesn't get any younger. It's one thing to have friends there but would not be the same without my grandparents, who love my partner and want to welcome him into the family...It's (also) got to the stage where a lot of venues are booked out next November and we might have to then wait again."
Ms Lavery said there had been plenty of petitions calling for gyms re-opening but she had found nothing for wedding changes. She said it was likely many couple instead chose to postpone, which made it hard to capture government attention.