Like many disappointed brides around the country, Chandni Mak’s plans were suddenly upended, when the government announced that weddings were cancelled due to coronavirus.

While today (August 7) was not quite the big family celebration she had in mind, Chandni was determined to spend her day bringing cheer to loved ones.

Chandni and her fiancé, Sahana, organised to volunteer at St George’s Hospital, Tooting, to cheer up her 83-year-old grandma, who has recently fallen ill.

Rather than the 250 wedding guests that were due to attend the reception, Chandni had prepared to spend the day in the company of 25 patients, decked out in hospital scrubs instead of her elegant white dress.

“We were ready to go, we had everything sorted - DJs and invites and caterers. As the original date got nearer and nearer, I wondered what our day would look like.

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Chandni and Sahana with grandma, Chandrika

“We needed to do something to make it worthwhile, to react to the coronavirus situation as positively as we can.”

And Chandni says this had to involve her grandma, Chandrika.

“I have a very close relationship with her. She’s lived with me since I was eleven, so we’re very attached to her.”

“Unfortunately, she had quite a bad fall, and it’s quite disheartening that it was supposed to be our wedding day and now she’s in hospital,” said Chandni.

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But before the happy couple were able to set their plan in motion, Chandrika was moved to a different ward, which meant, due to Covid-19 precautions, they were not able to go through with the volunteering.

Despite the setback, they were still able to deliver their wedding favours and cake, which would have otherwise gone to waste, to the hospital to share with patients on the ward.

Their gifts were also a token of appreciation for frontline workers.

“The hospital is a crazy place at the moment. The NHS are going through so much, they’re really doing everything they can.

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“When I saw how they’ve been looking after my grandma recently, I thought how lucky we are to have people genuinely care.”

The childhood sweethearts met while taking their GCSEs at schools in Wimbledon and Croydon.

Their paths continued to cross when they attended Kent University together, and both decided to become teachers. At 28, the couple are still going strong. They have just bought their first house together in Morden.

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“We’ve been waiting 12 years - I don’t know why we didn’t get married before! But the best thing is that everyone we love is safe,” Chandni said.

The couple got engaged last May in Norway, a world away from the busy streets of Wandsworth, where Chandni works teaching deaf children at Sellincourt School, Tooting.

“It was very scenic, a beautiful place by the mountains. I thought he would just choose somewhere in London,” she said.

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But Chandni will have to wait until 2021 until she can get the day she has been dreaming of.

“The wedding has been postponed but will everything be ok then? Will everyone who is close to us be there? There’s a slight fear, but so far everyone who is close to us has been safe, so we hope it stays that way.”

“Thousands of people around the world are in the same situation. It’s a hard time but there are other situations that are far worse," Chandni says.

The St. George’s charity will organise for the couple to volunteer at a later time.