Newlyweds say 'I do' in front of hundreds on Facebook Live to beat coronavirus wedding restrictions
A couple whose dream wedding was nearly derailed by coronavirus restrictions - tied the knot a month early and streamed it to hundreds online.
Kirsten and Richard Groom, of Walsall, were initially planning to exchange vows on April 14 over the Easter break so their relatives could turn out in force.
They had spent 18 months arranging their nuptials before it became clear their original date was doomed.
Instead the couple, both 26, said "I do" at St Matthew's Church on Saturday with Kirsten's 12 house mates present.
Mrs Groom, the church's administrator, said: "It was Richard's idea firstly that we should see if we should bring the wedding date forward, after we started seeing some restrictions last week.
"Then our friends suggested that it probably wouldn't happen in April.
"I was living in a shared house with 12 others and we were self-isolating.
"But everyone pitched in to make it happen in four days.
"I wasn't able to collect my wedding dress in time, so I wore something that was hanging in my wardrobe instead. And a friend made a chocolate cake.
"We had put a year and a half into planning our perfect wedding. We knew there was no way we would be able to get married in April so we took the opportunity while we could."
The house mates also arranged photographs and flowers, one even sang at the ceremony.
To put the icing on the cake the happy couple were joined online by 300 guests who watching the service through the Facebook live stream. Afterwards they celebrated with a Chinese takeaway.
"My sister was meant to have been my maid of honour, but she along with the rest of the family were unable to make it from Northern Ireland. Richard's family weren't able to make it from Loughborough either.
"I think our families were so very happy that we were able to share our special day with them online, rather than them missing out all together."
"The people we have talked to so far have said they felt part of it, even from a distance, and we are really happy we were able to have that option available to them," Mrs Groom added.
"We're hoping to throw a big party later in the year and hopefully I'll get to wear my bridal dress.
"It feels really surreal because everything's happened a lot earlier than planned. I'm unpacking and sorting out at our new house. After all the self-isolating we can only say it's God's timing that we were able to bring the wedding forward because on Monday the prime minister announced further restrictions.
Places of worship have since closed due to coronavirus in line with government guidance.
They couple first met while studying at Wolverhampton University, but became friends after both became regulars at St Matthew's, in St Matthew's Close.
Mr Groom, a care assistant, and Mrs Groom are now settling into their new home in Butts area of Walsall and are looking forward to the future.
St Matthew's rector the Rev Jim Trood, who led the service, said: "To be honest, I found it quite emotional when they were making the promises in sickness and in health - it was a powerful thing to be saying."