Happy couples have tied the knot today as weddings are allowed for the first time in three months – with a limit of 30 guests at the ceremony and just six at the reception.
Two key workers, Jennifer Wilson and Louise Arnold, got married just moments after the restrictions lifted while Tom Hall and Heather McLaren held their wedding at St George’s Church in Leeds.
It comes as the new relaxed rules on social distancing mean some couples are finally able to say ‘I do’, as lockdown restrictions are eased and weddings are once again permitted in England with safety measures in place.
The wedding of Tom Hall and Heather McLaren at St George’s Church in Leeds. The easing of lockdown restrictions today allows businesses to reopen with measures in place
Tom and Heather during their wedding ceremony in Leeds, with guests seen socially distancing as the new relaxed rules mean couples can now say ‘I do’
Care home worker Jennifer and security guard Louise, both 22, married at the Peace Garden Pergola in the grounds of Runcorn Town Hall, Cheshire, in what was thought to be the first wedding after the updated Covid-19 guidelines came into force.
Ms Wilson said: ‘Last week the registry office rang and asked if we wanted to be the first couple in the UK to marry after lockdown, and we just said yes.
‘We both work nights normally, so the time suited us.’
Ms Arnold, who works for lorry firm Eddie Stobart, added: ‘With it having just been Pride month, this felt like something we couldn’t really pass up.
‘Not just for us but for other LGBT people who haven’t been able to get together to celebrate Pride.’
Guests at Tom and Heather’s wedding were pictured socially distancing and wearing face masks, with the number of people at ceremonies capped at 30.
Guests socially distance as they wait for the start of Tom and Heather’s wedding today
It follows the Office for National Statistics estimating that 73,400 marriages have been postponed along with 300 same-sex civil partnerships between March 23 and yesterday.
Guests at post-lockdown weddings must avoid singing unless behind a screen, not consume any food or drink and avoid playing instruments that must be blown into.
More than 250,000 weddings usually take place in the UK each year, but most couples have been affected by restrictions that came into force in March.
Two London paramedics will also be among the first to tie the knot since lockdown began this weekend, as they have managed to keep their original wedding date.
Stephanie Little and Thomas Martin originally planned their wedding for July 4 but never expected the ceremony to go ahead following the coronavirus lockdown, the Evening Standard reported.
They had rebooked their ceremony but were stunned when the Government announced weddings and civil partnerships could restart – beginning on their original wedding date.
With only a week to go, the couple, who both work at Edmonton ambulance station, knew they had to get married as they ‘don’t know what will happen in the future’.
Louise Arnold-Wilson, right, and Jennifer, left, who were married at Runcorn Town Hall Registry Office at one minute past midnight as the lifting of restrictions came into effect
The wedding of Tom Hall and Heather McLaren, at St George’s Church in Leeds, as weddings are once against permitted to take place in England with ceremonies capped at 30 guests
Louise Arnold-Wilson and Jennifer, who were married in Runcorn Town Hall Registry Office, in what is thought to be the first wedding after the updated Covid-19 guidelines came into force
Heather and Tom pictured holding hands at their wedding. Receptions are limited to just two households indoors, or up to six people from different households outdoors
The wedding of Terry and Lindsay Armstrong at Newcastle-upon-Tyne Civic Centre. Couple are pictured with their 10-year-old son, Jack Armstrong
Stephanie, 24, said: ‘We contacted our vicar and he said yes, and suddenly we had to plan a wedding in a week – while I’ve been working night shifts. We only got the licence on Sunday.’
They originally planned to have 90 guests but have adjusted their plans to adhere to Government guidance, which only allows a maximum of 30 attendees.
The aisle at St Faith’s Church in Lee-on-Solent, Hampshire, has also been widened so Stephanie’s father can walk his daughter down the aisle.
Their reception and honeymoon have both been cancelled and Stephanie had to find a new wedding dress, as she was not able to attend fittings for her original gown.
The wedding of Terry and Lindsay Armstrong, both pictured, in Newcastle-upon-Tyne
Heather and Tom pictured socially distancing from other guests during their wedding in Leeds
Wedding guest Christian Wilmot livestreams as Gary Cheng and Sakiko Honda say their vows as they get married at Marylebone Old Town Hall today as wedding venues reopen today
Guests wearing face masks take a selfie at Tom and Heather’s wedding at St George’s Church
Gary and Sakiko sign the registry as officials, a photographer and a guest look on as they get married at Marylebone Old Town Hall today in London
Terry and Lindsay Armstrong also tied the knot at Newcastle-upon-Tyne Civic Centre, while Gary Cheng and Sakiko Honda got married at Marylebone Old Town Hall.
Receptions at post-lockdown weddings are limited to just two households indoors, or up to six people from different households outdoors.
The ONS figures are the four-year average of weddings between March 23 and July 3, 2014 to 2017, plus same-sex civil partnerships between the dates in 2015 to 2018.
They do not include residents who got married abroad or same-sex couples who have converted civil partnerships into marriages following legal changes in 2014.
The data does also not include civil partnerships among opposite-sex couples which have been possible from New Year’s Eve last year.
At a glance: What are the rules for weddings?
- Members of different households must maintain social distancing, so fathers cannot walk daughters arm-in-arm down the aisle
- Couples must wash their hands before and after exchanging rings
- Receptions are limited to two households indoors, or up to six people from different households outdoors
- Up to 30 people are allowed at the ceremony, including the couple, witnesses, officiants and guests, and staff not employed by the venue
- No food or drink is allowed to be consumed ‘unless required for the purposes of solemnisation’
- There should be no singing during the service or use of instruments which have to be blown into
- Spoken responses should ‘not be in a raised voice’
- If a small child is involved, they should be held a parent, guardian or member of that child’s household
- Couples should consider using recordings instead of singing
- Organs music is allowed but they must be cleaned before and after
- Books, reusable and communal resources such as service sheets, prayer mats, or devotional material should be removed from use
Couple to reunite for their platinum wedding anniversary after 115 days apart in lockdown as care home plans celebration with cake, flowers and a bottle of bubbly
There will be tears of joy when a lovey-dovey couple aged 92 and 93 reunite for a platinum celebration after 115 days apart in lockdown.
Reg and Eve Wood’s 70th wedding anniversary is on July 15 but coronavirus has left them unable to see each other.
Eve is shielding at her daughter’s house and Reg has been in Cleves Place care home in Haverhill since February 2018.
Since the start of lockdown in March, their only meeting was for Reg’s 93rd birthday on July 2, when staff at the care home arranged a brief, socially distanced visit so they could wave to each other.
Reg and Eve Wood pictured in 2019. The couple’s 70th wedding anniversary is on July 15 but coronavirus has left them unable to see each other
On July 15th the care home plans a closer reunion, with cake, flowers and a bottle of bubbly.
Deputy manager Clare Mooney said ‘We are delighted to be able to offer garden visits so Reg and Eve can see each other on their very special day.
‘Originally the plans were for a large family gathering and garden party, sadly Covid-19 stopped this being possible.
‘Most importantly they will see each other on the day and share special memories of their wedding day 70 years ago.’
Reg and Eve at their wedding 70 years ago, ahead of their platinum anniversary
Eve said: ‘We’ve missed each other so much, so it’s lovely to have the chance to see Reg and tell him again how much I love him.
‘The 70 years have gone in a flash, and he’s been the best husband and father to the girls that I could ever wish for.
‘It won’t be quite the celebration we expected, and I’ll miss having a big family party, but just to see him is the most important thing.’
They married at Ampthill Methodist Church in Bedfordshire in 1950, and have three daughters, six grandchildren and six great-grandchildren.
They moved to the village of Clare in 2001 to be closer to family, living next door to one of their three daughters.
Daughter Val Phillips has been looking after her mother during lockdown as Eve’s carer was no longer able to visit her home.
Val said ‘This has been such a difficult time for Mum and Dad, and they’ve missed each other so much.
‘They’ve been talking on the phone but it’s never the same as seeing one another. We’re so grateful to Cleves for arranging this visit.’