Photographer speaks of her ‘shock’ on attending mask-free Charedi weddings

Freelancer decided to stop work after working at an event with 300 guests


Groom smashing the glass in a Jewish wedding, under the huppah

A freelance photographer has opened up about her ordeal covering Covid weddings, saying a 300-person mostly-unmasked Charedi reception made her stop work.

Marisa D’Alessandro, 55, is not Jewish but was hired to take photos of around a dozen Charedi weddings in June, July and October last year. 

“I assumed that they were abiding by the rules, that everyone would be wearing masks and be socially distanced because that was what the advice was at the time.

“I got to these venues utterly shocked to see no one was wearing a mask, except me, and they're all looking at me like I'm mad.”

But receptions got bigger and bigger until a 300-person gathering in Stamford Hill became the last straw, she said.

Guests grabbed masks and hid after police arrived to break up the gathering, which she said later moved to another venue.

“The caterer was whipping the tablecloth up, folding the tables up to make it look like there were fewer people at the wedding. It was like watching a comedy show.”

The reception was allegedly held on 19 October just days after London moved into Tier 2, banning any indoor household and support bubble mixing.

“I know what I did was wrong. I should not have attended weddings. From June, I should have said ‘no’, but I didn’t.

“I just saw the weddings getting bigger and bigger and worse and worse with regards to respecting the regulations. Now if this virus is to be under control then these weddings have to stop."

Ms D’Alessandro said she was made redundant from her previous day job and now works as a personal shopper, bringing grocery deliveries to customers unable to get out.

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