What it's like to get married during the pandemic

It’s been a stressful and upsetting time for many couples who were looking forward to celebrating their nuptials in 2020.

The couple had personalised masks
 on their wedding day and, inset, wearing their personalised masks. Pictures: Catherine Evans Photography
The couple had personalised masks on their wedding day and, inset, wearing their personalised masks. Pictures: Catherine Evans Photography

Amid coronavirus restrictions, weddings around the country have had to be postponed until next year when hopefully the threat from the pandemic has lifted.

But some brides and grooms, including Penny Russell and James Cripps from Wheaton Aston in Staffordshire, have refused to wait any longer to tie the knot.

Instead they decided to go-ahead with their wedding albeit on a smaller scale than they originally had planned.

The couple, who met through online dating, have been together three-and-a-half-years and were married at Old Downton Lodge, near Ludlow, before the latest lockdown came into force.

They had just 13 guests at their intimate wedding made up of immediate family including their parents and siblings and best man and woman and their spouses.

James and Penny on their wedding day

They originally planned to have around 55 guests but decided to go ahead with a smaller wedding “because nobody knows when the pandemic will end and when we will get back to ‘normal’.

“We felt getting married and being husband and wife to each other was the most important thing. The big party and honeymoon can come later,” explains Penny.

The couple, who are planning a bigger party when it’s safe to do so, said although they were disappointed not to have more guests, they still managed to include many of them in the day through technology,

“When we had the last announcements about numbers reducing from 30 to 15, I did feel a little stressed – my husband wasn’t. But once we got our heads round it, we were ok.

“We’d have loved to have more friends and family present. But people who couldn’t be there in person were able to watch on a live stream via Zoom and we could interact with them, so it still felt like they were there with us.

“Some friends even got dressed up in suits and posh frocks and hats which we really appreciated,” says Penny. As well as adapting their plans for a smaller wedding, they also had to take into consideration the Covid safety measures.

“Our suppliers were great and worked with us to adapt their services and costs to our revised plans. We worried about people getting ill in the run-up to the event or someone not knowing they had symptoms and then passing it on to other guests, but fortunately none of that happened.

“We bought personalised face masks for everyone which fitted the day well and everyone conformed with the social distancing requirements. The venue were also great,” says Penny. One part of their original plan that had to be scrapped due to to the restrictions was having a DJ at the evening reception.

“Officially no dancing was allowed. And we had to finish by 10pm, which was early, but we still felt we had a great day,” says Penny.

The couple, who met through online dating, have been together three-and-a-half-years and were married at Old Downton Lodge

Capturing their special day with her camera was Shropshire wedding photographer Catherine Evans, fromwho is based near Bishop’s Castle.

“Catherine captured the essence of the day perfectly for us. Even getting photos of our guests on the live stream with us in the shot too so we have a memory of them being with us,” says Penny.

“We were lucky that we could have all our photos outside and the venue Old Downton Lodge, just outside Ludlow, has some lovely backdrops for photos.

“I think it’s an art to be totally present in someone’s wedding but to also not affect it in anyway and I’m very grateful to Catherine for how she embraced the day with us.

“After all, she put her own health aside to be around people who she didn’t know 100 per cent were Covid-19 free, even with masks, to capture our special day,” she adds.

It was also a memorable day for Catherine, who says it was an honour to be part of the celebrations.

“I can attest that even though it might not have been as large as they had originally planned, it was still perfect.

“Penny looked stunning in her wedding dress and the best man and woman and all the guests were all perfectly turned out.

“It may have been a bit different, but it was still a wonderful wedding,” she adds.

Despite having to alter their plans, it was still a day the couple say that they will treasure forever.

“The venue was perfect, flowers beautiful, photographer brilliant and incredibly helpful and the sun shone – which is lucky for an autumn wedding.

“We still felt the day was really special and all the things that are important we were able to do so we are glad we went through with it.”

“It surpassed our expectations. I did wonder if we would be more conscious of the restrictions, but I really don’t think we were.

“We had an amazing day with great guests at a beautiful romantic venue and we can’t ask for more than that!

“If we were faced with the same circumstances again, we would still go through with it. I don’t think we were short-changed at all,” says Penny.

Most Read

Most Read

Sorry, we are not accepting comments on this article.

Top Stories

More from the Express & Star

UK & International News