‘Not the dream day I’d hoped for’ - What weddings in coronavirus were really like
PUBLISHED: 06:50 29 August 2020 | UPDATED: 08:27 29 August 2020
Olivia Blyth, 29, and husband Ryan, 32, had planned their wedding day for March.
When coronavirus hit, they then postponed to July - only to have to delay the big day further, this time to October.
Not wanting to wait that long, they decided to get married on Saturday, August 15, the day Boris Johnson’s easing of some restrictions came into force, but to postpone their big reception until 2022.
Mrs Blyth, an account controller for Norwich’s Kettle Chips, said: “We didn’t want to put our lives on hold and marriage was one of the things we knew we wanted to do.”
But it wasn’t quite the dream day she’d hoped for.
The postponement meant the couple’s notice of marriage certificate needed to be renewed and no one was taking any appointments because of coronavirus.
The result was they had to have the ceremony at their planned wedding reception venue in Essex.
So, instead of being able to use a registry office, they ended up spending thousands more on the marriage which included flowers and a gathering at Mr Blyth’s parents’ house afterwards.
They were restricted to 30 people including the photographer and registrar and Mrs Blyth couldn’t have her hair and make-up done at the venue due to social distancing.
After a dash round appointments in the morning, came some upsetting news.
“I was told my father had to wear a face mask to walk me down the aisle even though he had been self-isolating,” she said.
All the guests and even the bridesmaids had to wear face masks for the service.
When it got to the rings, the couple had to sanitise their hands beforehand and Mrs Blyth said even the pen had to be cleaned between each person when signing the register.
Photos were tricky because the weather was bad but Mrs Blyth didn’t want them taken inside because the face masks would spoil the pictures.
They didn’t have any food at the venue but there was a bar, with restrictions meaning only two people could go up at a time.
Mrs Blyth said: “You can go down to your local pub on a Friday or Saturday night and it’s heaving, no one is wearing face coverings or socially distancing.
“The venue I got married at can cater for 500 people and if I’d had 100 they would have been more socially distanced.
“We don’t regret getting married, that is what we wanted to do. Was it my dream? No, it wasn’t the dream day I’d hoped for. Did I enjoy it as much? No, because everything was very rushed.
“I feel frustrated at how strict the guidelines were. But as a couple surrounded by our closest family and friends we still made it a day to remember and we will look forward to sharing it with everyone else in 2022.”
Annette and Glyn de Lacy got married on the same day, Saturday, August 15 at Dunston Hall in Norwich, the day Boris Johnson’s easing some wedding restrictions came into force. Their experience was quite different.
“What a fantastic day it was,” said Mrs de Lacy, 69. She and her husband, who live in Aylsham, met aged 12 and 13, were married at 18, only to divorce and then remarry half a century later.
They’d rebooked their wedding which was originally planned for April, with a 15 minute ceremony and a small family celebration afterwards.
“Then, on the 14th, Boris Johnson announced that wedding receptions for up to 30 people would be allowed from the 15th. We decided that we would carry on with our plans but now we could invite more people,” she said.
“The Dunston Hall staff were fantastic. With hardly any notice they laid on a lovely champagne reception with canapés and treated us like royalty all day. They even laid on a golf buggy to transport me from my room to the Eaton Suite.
“It was quite surreal walking in to be greeted by the registrars and all our guests wearing face masks but it made for some interesting photographs.
“The actual ceremony was very short with none of the special readings that we had originally planned but the registrars were very kind and made it as special as they could.”
They couple had photos taken in the grounds.
“After that we were able to invite all of our guests back to my brother’s where we had a good, old fashioned wedding reception in the garden, complete with sandwiches, sausage rolls and all the trimmings followed by my brother’s delicious cake.
“What a wonderful day.”
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