Latest News

“Forty-Two Of My Wedding Guests Caught Coronavirus”

The bride gets candid about the heart-sinking news and the hate she's received
Kat Rollings Photography

When Emma Metcalf and her brand new husband Scott Maggs left for their “dream” honeymoon in the Maldives after their “dream” wedding at Tumbling Waters Retreat in Stanwell Tops on March 6, they had no idea of the nightmare to come.

Four days into their wedded bliss, Metcalf and Maggs got a message from two of their wedding guests saying they’d tested positive for Coronavirus. And then another. And another. So far, 42 of their guests have tested positive to the highly-contagious virus.

After returning to Australia from their honeymoon a week and a half ago, the husband and wife have tested negative, but are currently in self-quarantine as per the guidelines. “We left in a love bubble and came back to a whole new Australia,” says Metcalf, 36, a senior producer and director at Verizon media.   

Here, she opens up about how she felt after she received the heart-sinking message on her honeymoon and shares an important rally cry for positivity over finger-pointing, and smarts over stigma…

(Credit: Kat Rollings Photography)

“I met Scott in 2016 when I posted on Facebook looking for a road-trip partner to drive from Victoria back to Sydney after Christmas. Scott joined me and described the trip as a ‘soul surf mission.’ We fell in love on the road, and our soul mission has continued ever since.

Scott proposed in 2019 on the third anniversary of our maiden voyage as we watched the sun rise from atop Pigeon House Mountain on the South Coast. It was perfect.  

We started planning the wedding and everything came together – you guessed it – perfectly. We booked the amazing venue Tumbling Waters Retreat for March 6 and an army of loved ones and small businesses brought our special day together.

Walking down the aisle with my dad was a proud experience. All I wanted was to lay eyes on Scott – I could not contain my excitement.

We had 120 guests and the reception was one big party where we all laughed, danced and enjoyed every single moment. I hugged and kissed everyone there. Even thinking about it now brings a warm smile to my face.

When we arrived in the Maldives for our honeymoon – after having the best wedding experience ever – it really did feel like a dream. Until one text message well and truly burst our love bubble. 

Four days into our honeymoon, we found out two of our lovely guests had tested positive for COVID-19. It was a huge shock and, as you would imagine, it caused us a lot of worry.

We were grateful they came forward when they did, so we could immediately inform our other guests and provide information to the health department. We sent an email to everyone explaining the scenario and directing them to get tested if they had symptoms [which can include a cough, fever, tiredness and difficulty breathing].

We asked everyone to, ‘Be smart, but also be kind,’ because the two guests who’d initially tested positive had experienced a little bit of stigma, finger-pointing and blaming.

Of course, we also 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.

It’s important for us to note that on the day of our wedding – March 6 – there were no restrictions on events or travel bans. We would never have put people at risk knowingly. If we knew then what we know now, we wouldn’t have gone ahead with the wedding. That’s a fact.

We have received negative feedback online for ‘putting people at risk,’ but we never wanted this to happen. Instead of pointing fingers and fear mongering, we want to champion a better message. I think we should come together as a community; be smart, practice common hygiene, be kind and empathetic.

It was a long flight home from the Maldives. The airports were empty. There were no queues. The workers were in masks and gloves and we had rigorous health screenings when we transferred through Singapore. It was clear the situation was serious, especially as we received news that more of our guests had tested positive.

Both Scott and I (remarkably) tested negative to COVID-19 when we landed back in Australia and have been in self-quarantine for over a week. It’s been really challenging being separated from our loved ones when all we want to do is help them.

I could not have gotten through all of this without Scott. He’s had to pull me off the floor a couple of times and has kept a calm, beautiful, level head on him. 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. Luckily, it’s brought us closer – and really cemented that I married the right guy. My life is infinitely better with him.

Our focus for the last couple of weeks has been on our loved ones and making sure they’re looked after. We’ve continuously been checking in with them – I don’t think I’ve ever spoken to my friends so much. It’s brought our little community together, that’s for sure.

This week, we’ve started getting text messages from people saying they’re in the clear. That’s all we can hope for; our loved ones to be healthy and safe.

Despite what’s happened, I will always remember our wedding as a day filled with extreme amounts of love. I’m grateful to spend the rest of my life with Scott – knowing we can overcome the craziest – and most serious – situations together.”

Photography by Kat Rollings Photography 

(Credit: Kat Rollings Photography)

Related stories