Hilary & Alick Covid-19 – Zoom Wedding Celebration

5 Days until Covid-19 Lockdown: Monday 16th March 2020 :

It was the 16th of March 2020 and I had an urgent call from Hilary and Alick, a couple due to marry on the 16th May 2020. “Can you photograph our wedding tomorrow?” was the question. Lockdown was looming and Hilary and Alick were concerned their May wedding would be cancelled. Around the world country after country were locking down to prevent the spread of Covid-19. “Of course” I said.

I would like to introduce to you Hilary and Alick who met just over 8 years ago.  They have both agreed to share their wonderful Covid-19 Zoom wedding celebration with you for this blog.

7 Days until Covid -19 Lockdown: Monday 16th March 2020

“On hearing the news on the 15th March of an imminent Government order to over-70s to self-isolate for 4 months, it wasn’t difficult to do the arithmetic – we might not be able to get married on the 16th May” Hilary Newman

I had a call from Hilary on the 16th March 2020. Hilary explained in a rush of words that thanks to Leicestershire Registration Service, they had managed to re-arrange all their wedding plans to the 17th March… the following day, and would I be a witness!  Hilary had filled their celebration form on the phone and had just 24 hours to organise their wedding. Cue phone calls… and a lot of them! Close family were called to see if they could make it, Tim Thornton of TJ Thornton Market Harborough went out of his way to organise the rings , Carol Innes-Robbins from Millies Forever Floral rang her supplier to order flowers to be ready for Tuesday morning, Hannah Collins from Hannah Collins Beauty Therapy agreed to work on her day off with her mum Debbie stepping in to look after her baby and hairdressers Katie Duff and Andrew Minarik from Louise Faye Hairdressing stepped in at the last minute and finally…Hilary remembered her two wedding ‘tasting cakes’ from Debbie Green of Green’s County Kitchen were at home in a cake tin, so those were put out ready to use the next day! Of course I said ‘yes’ and made sure my batteries were charged and ready to go.

Guests started confirming with Hilary’s sister changing plans to drive up from Kent, Alick’s daughter from Sussex and a friend Dee could also make it.

A Change Of Plan

“We decided that the most important thing about the 16th May was our marriage – all the guests and celebrations are just lovely fluff and we could have all that fun another time” Hilary and Alick

At the beginning of March, none of us had any idea of the impact Coronavirus would have on our lives, businesses and wellbeing. The lockdown in Wuhan seemed distant and a world apart from life in the UK. Thousands of couples across the UK have had to cancel their wedding plans and reschedule their dates. Hilary and Alick were supposed to have Alick’s brother Ian as Best man but he couldn’t make the date, neither could her two great-nieces and niece who were to be bridesmaids. The original plan was to have a sit-down wedding breakfast at The Three Swans in Market Harborough followed by a Scottish ceilidh and band in the evening. Plans that all rapidly started to fall apart as events started to turn our world up-side-down.

6 Days until Covid -19 Lockdown: Tuesday 17th March 2020

Wedding Day!

Hilary and Alick were married at 11.30 on the 17th March. Just 6 days before the Government locked down the UK. The ceremony was short but so happy. Attended by just four close family members, it was a joy. Hilary’s sister arrived with a bunch of lovely flowers and a vase so they would have flowers on the signing table and at the restaurant later. All the last minute flower arranging, hair and makeup, dress and shoes, all coming together to make the date. As Hilary’s friend managed to make the wedding I wasn’t needed as a witness, so I managed to photograph the signing. I stayed for the duration of the ceremony and even photographed socially distant group shots! The newly-weds then went out for their last social lunch at The George in Great Oxendon for a celebratory meal. The story though.. doesn’t end there…

 

1 day until Official Lockdown: Sunday 22nd March 2020

A Zoom Celebration:

image showing zoom wedding celebration multiple portraits

 

“It started as a suggestion from Dutch friends to have a group digital drink as they were fed up as a family having been in self-isolation for a week already. Someone suggested dressing up for a wedding reception. Alick and I got fully dressed in our wedding togs, including my bouquet which was still looking amazing 5 days after our wedding. I set up my laptop on a lace tablecloth with the flowers my sister brought to the wedding, a bottle of champagne and glasses of course. We waited for a couple of minutes after the Zoom meeting began, then logged in, I hit the button on my phone to play ‘Here Comes The Bride’ and we made an entrance on screen! I then hit a button to play the ‘Gay Gordons’ and we did our first dance! I can’t believe I managed to set up all that technology! We then sat down to get on with the laughing and drinking”  Hilary Newman

Hilary and Alick’s friends celebrated with them, all dressed up, clapping their first dance. The children participated and one of the children played a tune on her saxophone that she had composed for them. The champagne was toasted from a dozen different places. There were 12 families during the digital wedding reception, two families from the Netherlands, one in Scotland, one from Belize and the rest from all over the UK.

image showing zoom wedding celebration multiple portraits

“Dressed up – yes! and funny hats mostly, flower garlands around our necks. Two Scots guys wore their kilts so we had a kilt twirl from them on screen! Most people had dressed up their computer space, with balloons, bunting, posters and flowers. The children in Scotland were wearing decorations they had made and my mum had made me a cake.  All the children made repeated appearances but of course didn’t hang around for long!” Hilary Newman

So Hilary and Alick’s day didn’t quite go as planned but it will certainly be remembered. So many things didn’t happen, the bridesmaids were not there, they hadn’t managed to put a CD together in time for the ceremony, no-one had remembered confetti, they had lunch for 5 instead of 45, Hilary didn’t get to wear the dress she’d brought for the evening, they didn’t get to stay in the bridal suite or travel to France on their honeymoon.. however in Hilary’s words “Honeymoon under house-arrest is the real thing for a  relationship”.

We are still in Lockdown all across the UK with perhaps a month left to go. It’s the 21st April 2020 at the time of writing April and Hilary’s wedding is just over a month ago. She has plans to eat the ‘real’ two-tier wedding cake with Alick on her original wedding date the 16th May and they have both made plans to reschedule her wedding breakfast and ceilidh for next year which I have promised to attend. As Marilyn Monroe once said:

“Sometimes good things fall apart so better things can fall together”

Marilyn Monroe.

Hilary and Alick have shown such resilience at a time of great worry and upheaval. Hundreds of couples have had to re-schedule their wedding plans during the covid-19 pandemic and i’d like to think this blog shows that a change to a plan needn’t be seen as a negative, that when their wedding day finally arrives it will be more than just a wedding celebration, and the extra time waiting will make the day that little bit more special.

“Our actual marriage was planned for the 16th May but all the local suppliers pulled out all the stops to make the early date a wonderfully happy day, including you. Alick says the best bit was seeing me walk in to the ceremony room” Hilary Newman

I hope everyone is staying home and staying safe during this unusual period. I can’t of course photograph any weddings during lockdown but will be up and running again as soon as I can. For information about my service you can find out more HERE.

Kyra x