I do! Couple celebrate one of first weddings since lockdown

By Jordan Reynolds | Staffordshire | Coronavirus | Published: | Last Updated:

Hand sanitiser as wedding favours, no group photos and a cancelled honeymoon – one determined couple still tied the knot despite their big day not going as originally planned.

The bride with their hand sanitiser wedding favour. Photo: Sarah Cunningham

Richard and Sarah Cunningham from Staffordshire were among the first in England to get married when they said 'I do' on Saturday.

They'd planned their wedding for more than two years, and celebrated their engagement in 2018 with a party for 80 people, but in the end they had 30 –including themselves, a vicar, photographer and videographer – at their wedding.

Richard and Sarah Cunningham. Photo: Steve Sutton

"It was completely different," Sarah, from near Lichfield, said. "I just never believed we wouldn't get married. Lockdown started in March, but it all started in January time, I just thought it would happen.

"Initially we said it would go ahead even if it was five people, we just really wanted to get married.

"I'd told anyone doing a reading to pre-record it in case we weren't allowed more than five.

"So when it was announced you could have 30 I jumped around singing and dancing. I was just so excited!"

Richard and Sarah Cunningham. Photo: Steve Sutton


The pair married at Ingestre Church, but their reception venue, Ingestre Hall and Orangery, had cancelled back in June.

So they posed for photos in the garden before the wedding party made their way to Beacon Park in Lichfield.

The newlyweds went for a meal at their local pub, the Chetwynd Arms, to celebrate their wedding that evening, where the owners played their wedding song so they could have their first dance.

Sarah and her friends having socially distanced photos. Photo: Sarah Cunningham


Sarah, a hospitality consultant, added: "We had a jazz band booked, a singer, a huge wedding breakfast, and we'd booked a cocktail bar too. We couldn't even have bell ringers or an organist.

"We made a bag for each person which we put on the pews days before so it was all safe, they had love hearts and personalised hand sanitisers in.

"Because there were so few people we knew them all so well.

Richard and Sarah Cunningham. Photo: Steve Sutton

"We couldn't have a group photo which was a shame because it was just too difficult so we had to work out who was in bubbles with who for the pictures.

"Everyone had to be at least a metre apart – my dress was huge so it was fine for me, I joked it was a socially distanced dress.

"After getting to Beacon Park we came across a cocktail horse box.

"It was still lovely."

Posing for socially distanced photos with bridesmaids. Photo: Sarah Cunningham

The couple had booked a cruise from San Francisco to Hawaii and Bora Bora for their honeymoon in September but it has been cancelled.

Sarah said: "We love travelling, that's probably the only thing we've missed, but we will go at some point."

Jordan Reynolds

By Jordan Reynolds
Reporter - @jreynolds_star

Senior reporter at the Express & Star.


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