If we had to choose one key takeaway learning from 2020, it would probably be in the lines of ‘expect the unexpected’.

And be ready to adjust to last-minute changes. Or adapt to a new COVID-19 normality. Or both at once and you might even see your plans followed through.

This spirit of determination inspired Greek Melburnians Natasha Amanatidi and Paul Kyriakou.

The couple was meant to exchange ‘happily ever after vows’ on Saturday, 13 February. But on the eve of the wedding… lockdown happened.

It was Friday afternoon when the announcement was made on Victoria’s 5-day snap lockdown coming in effect from midnight onwards.

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Antonis Amanatidis, the bride’s father, gave Neos Kosmos a colourful account of the family’s reaction and what followed.

“The moment I heard of the news, I called my daughter. She burst into tears. My wife was also crying. A total catastrophe!”

But the groom, Paul Kyriakou, managed to stay calm and assess next steps.

He reached out to the priest at St Andrew’s in Forest Hill – the church they had booked for the wedding – and asked if it was possible to conduct the ceremony on Friday, a day earlier than planned.

He got the answer he was hoping for, that the church would remain open until midnight for couples who had weddings scheduled.

A moment after, an ecstatic Paul calls Natasha and asks “Do you want to get married today?”

She responded without hesitation: “Yes, let’s do it!”

Relatives and friends went to extreme lengths to ensure not only the life event would go ahead but make it an awesome one as envisioned. In merely a few hours they had at their disposal, they managed to bring forward the wedding to 7.30 Friday.

“It was chaotic,” Mr Amanatidis muses.

READ MORE: Adelaide couple pulls their wedding together in only five hours

“It was crazy how quickly guests were notified, the hairdresser arrived, then the make-up artist, my nieces Natalie and Thierry set up the space at ‘Eleni’s Kitchen’ for the reception to be held and they even found an orchestra for the night… Within an hour everything was prepared to perfection for Natasha’s and Paul’s unforgettable night.”

Mr Amanatidis becomes emotional while recounting the events.

“We are over the moon, still,” he says and his voice confirms it.

The glendi after the wedding, at ‘Eleni’s Kitchen’ in Yarraville, he describes, was “just like being in Greece”.


“With dancing on the street. Just picture this, all surrounding little streets had closed for the newly-weds,” the proud father exclaims.

“After this wonderful evening, I truly think that everything happened for the better. Natasha’s and Paul’s wedding will be one to remember for us all and especially for them.”

*Translated by Zoe Thomaidou

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