A Staffordshire couple who will be among the first to get married in England since lockdown began said they “didn’t want to delay it any longer”.
From this Saturday weddings will be allowed to take place, and, while their original plans have had to change, Sarah Williams and Richard Cunningham, both 39, will be tying the knot.
“The most important thing for us was to get married,” said Mr Cunningham.
“Whether that was (with) five people or a hundred, it was about getting married. We’d been planning this for so long that we didn’t want to delay it any longer.”
The couple, who live near Lichfield, booked July 4 as their wedding day more than two years ago, although originally they had intended to have more guests than they are now able to.
“I’ve got a big family, more down in London, and we had family coming from Canada, America and some friends from Germany,” said Mr Cunningham.
“They had this big holiday planned to come over and spend time with us, and we haven’t been able to do that … so it’s probably having the extra people there that we’ve had to compromise on.”
Ms Williams said: “You can’t have bell ringers, so we can’t have any church bells – (and) we can’t have any singing.”
Ms Williams had been keeping on top of lockdown announcements in anticipation that weddings would be included in the easing of restrictions.
Eventually, in late June, the Government announced that weddings and civil partnerships could take place from July 4.
Such short notice provided an obstacle in the form of obtaining a marriage licence but, fortunately, a helpful vicar was at hand.
“Straightaway he was into action,” said Ms Williams. “By the next day we were in the main church in Stafford, swearing an oath on the Bible, doing an affidavit.
“We only actually got a marriage licence on Tuesday night, which was a bit scary!”
The couple have sent a seating plan to guests ahead of the big day to ensure social distancing is observed, and a three-hour rehearsal was completed to work out how people can move around safely.
And while their wedding day will not look quite as they had envisaged in 2018, Ms Williams is adamant that restrictions will not have any bearing on their enjoyment.
“It’s brilliant,” she said. “After all this doom and gloom that we’ve had, hopefully it’s the first sign of a bit of light at the end of the tunnel.”