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Kingswinford couple tie the knot in the nick of time - just hours before coronavirus lockdown

By Harriet Evans | Kingswinford | News | Published:

A couple from Kingswinford were one of the last in the country to get married just hours before the UK was put into lockdown.

Corinne and Neil Wilkes with Neil's children Brandon and Brodie at their ceremony just hours before lockdown(Image: Richard Lycett)

Corinne, 50, and Neil Wilkes, 53, had their wedding ceremony on Monday at 3.30pm - five hours before extra measures were put in place to restrict group gatherings.

Originally, their wedding date was set for May 9 at Dudley Registry Office, but the couple received a call on Friday, March 20, to say all future weddings were being cancelled.

Corinne said: "When they called I had a bit of a meltdown.

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"I asked would it be possible if we could come imminently or in the next few days, bring two witnesses and do it earlier. They checked with the chief registrar and called me back to say if you can get here at 3.30pm on Monday we will marry you. The Registry Office have been absolutely brilliant throughout.

"I had to then go to the bridal shop on Saturday and get the dress altered and then we got married with my husband's two children, Brandon and Brodie as witnesses.

Corinne and Neil Wilkes with Neil's children Brandon and Brodie at their ceremony just hours before lockdown (Image: Richard Lycett)

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"It's been a crazy few days!"

When the wedding took place, government guidelines restricted the number of people in the party to four. Corinne, Neil, Brandon and Brodie were also joined by photographer Richard Lycett.

Richard, 52, from Dudley who has worked as a photographer for 16 years, said: "I had a message from the registry office asking if I was free on the Monday, and they scraped it in just in time.

"It was an unusual atmosphere, but a lovely family atmosphere, they're looking forward to a very big party when this is all over.

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Corinne and Neil Wilkes at their ceremony just hours before lockdown (Image: Richard Lycett)

"Following the announcement from Boris all of my future jobs have been cancelled, as of yet there is no financial cover for self-employed people or freelancers so I hope there is something to come soon - my income has gone down to nothing at all."

Although Corinne couldn't have any of her own family at the ceremony, the wedding car made a detour to her mum's house on the way to the Registry Office so she could see her daughter on her big day.

Corinne and Neil Wilkes at their ceremony just hours before lockdown (Image: Richard Lycett)

Corinne added: "She came out to the top step and took some photographs of me in my dress, it was very emotional. Our families gave us their blessing and we did it how it needed to be done.

"We did it by the skin of our teeth, how close we were as the announcement of all weddings being cancelled was made five hours after the ceremony, so we've been thinking we must have been one of the last couples to have got married - especially as a lot of people have been cancelling.

"When this is all over we're going to have the biggest party, we just need to see this through."

Harriet Evans

By Harriet Evans
Community Reporter - @HarrietEvans_ES

Community Reporter at the Express & Star, covering the issues affecting young people across the Black Country and Staffordshire. Contact me at harriet.evans@expressandstar.co.uk

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