In other circumstances, Cara Messias and Adam Kaye would have married next Tuesday in a Jerusalem hotel.
But the South Hampstead-based couple will instead have their ceremony at the historic Bevis Marks Sephardi synagogue in the City in what may be the first wedding within the mainstream community since the easing of restrictions.
Although both bride and groom are Ashkenazi, Ms Messias, 36, has Sephardi heritage on her father’s side. And the new venue has added resonance as her great-grandparents, Samson and Esther, were also married at Bevis Marks.
This will slightly compensate for the absence of the bride’s family, who live in South Africa, which has closed its borders.
“Never in a million years did I think I would be getting married without my sisters, my mum and my dad with me,” she told the JC. “It is very hard. I’ve really grappled with the decision to proceed with the wedding.”
However, even if her mother had the option of travelling, “I wouldn’t want her to get on a plane to put herself at any kind of risk.
“She said to us that according to the Jewish belief, you should try your best to not cancel a wedding and she gave us her blessing to proceed as best as we could.”
The copywriter looked forward to marrying in an “absolutely exquisite” shul with “an exceptionally long and momentous heritage”.
South African born and bred, she met Mr Kaye, 33, a coal derivatives broker, through a dating app while on a one-week holiday in London in October 2018. They spent much of the time together and she returned home with “a heavy heart”.
But just two days later, Mr Kaye was on a plane to South Africa as “he had to see me again”, and met her family. “After that, it was pretty much a done deal. We just needed to be together.”
Last year, Mr Kaye was back in South Africa for Pesach before his bride-to-be came to live with him in the UK.
“I had said to Cara that I wouldn’t propose until we lived together,” Mr Kaye explained. “But I changed my mind.” He took her to a game reserve in South Africa and proposed at sunset, which Ms Messias said was “really special and very unexpected. I was emigrating and engaged at the same time.”
They had decided to marry in Israel to make the occasion extra special for the families, who have never met. At Bevis Marks, a lifelong friend of the bride will attend, along with Mr Kaye’s close family. They will have a Zoom link set up so her relatives can watch.
“We’re just excited to be getting married,” she said. “That’s the main goal. And whatever that looks like, we are happy to accept that and be grateful for it.”
It would be “a moment in time having photos with a rabbi who is wearing a visor”.