'Can you do tomorrow?' - Couple's wedding saved after dash to beat tier 4 move

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Mark and Kimmi Fiander had to get married at 24 hours' notice to escape lockdown - Credit: www.mdknight.co.uk

A vicar helped to move heaven and earth to stop a Norfolk couple's wedding plans ending in tiers.

Mark and Kimmi Fiander were originally due to tie the knot in New York in September but the pandemic put paid to their plans.

They re-arranged their big day for New Year's Eve at Heacham Church, after the December 2 announcement that Norfolk would be in Tier 2. Veronica Wilson, Vicar of Heacham, was due to do the honours. 

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Mark and Kimmi Fiander feared their wedding would have to be cancelled for a second time after the announcement Norfolk was moving into Tier 4 - Credit: www.mdknight.co.uk

But on December 23, the region was plunged into Tier 4. Mr Fiander, 40 and his 38-year-old bride-to-be were at the vets, where they had taken their four-month-old French bulldog Kenny to be treated, when the news came on the radio.

The couple were expecting Norfolk to be moved into Tier 3 at worst - meaning their big day could still go ahead on December 31. But lockdown was looming from Boxing Day.   

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"We heard the announcement at 4pm, she was in tears," he said. "We only live around the corner from the vets, so when we got home Kimmi said she'd ring Veronica to see if there was anything she could do.

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Newly-wed Mrs Fiander admires her wedding ring outside the church at Heacham - Credit: www.mdknight.co.uk

"She rang her and she was already on it and about to ring us and say: 'Can you do tomorrow?

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"We were like, err, yes we can."

With less than 24 hours notice, the usual formalities regarding banns had to be binned.

"We had to drive round to the vicar's, pick up some paperwork, then contact the registrar on a Zoom call so he could issue a marriage licence," said Mr Fiander.

Rev Wilson had to obtain special permission from the Bishop of Norwich for the licence.  

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Mark and Kimmi FIander kiss outside the church, on the wedding day they thought would have to be cancelled because of lockdown - Credit: www.mdknight.co.uk

Then they dashed to a craft shop in King's Lynn, to buy artificial flowers. Friend Julie Morters made a bouquet, while her sister baked a cake. 

There was hardly time for wedding day nerves for the couple, who met at their workplace, Howden's Joinery in King's Lynn, eight years ago and live in Heacham.

"Everything just fell into place really," said Mr Fiander. "It was pretty nuts really. Everyone was able to come, the Rose and Crown at Snettisham moved our meal and our room forward, the photographer Matt Knight cancelled his Christmas Eve plans. Veronica was absolutely superb."

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Veronica Wilson, Vicar of Heacham, who managed to rearrange Mark and Kimmi Fiander's wedding in time to escape the Tier 4 lockdown - Credit: www.mdknight.co.uk

Rev Wilson admitted she may have said one or two things vicars aren't really supposed to when she heard the Tier 4 announcement.

She added: "When Kimmi phoned, I said: 'It's alright. I'm on it.

"It's a wedding I shall not forget. It was such a wonderful gift to be able to do it really for them and the village community.

"To be able to pull it off at the end of such a tough year was brilliant."

While most of the planning was in place for the day Rev Wilson, who has been a vicar for 21 years, said: "The complexity was the legal bit.

"It was just brilliant the diocesan registrar, Stuart Jones, the Rt Rev Graham Usher, Bishop of Norwich and I were able to get the licence ready.

"We had it all done in an hour and a half."

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