By Tui Benjamin and Iain Watts
A couple who believe they were the last to get legally married before the UK went into lockdown have held an incredible socially distanced wedding in their back garden.
School chaplain Sarah Joy Gillard, 25, and new husband Luke, 30, were meant to have their dream wedding ceremony for 160 guests at St Mary’s Church in Weaverham, Cheshire, before a reception at nearby Hartford Golf Club on Easter Saturday [April 11].
But their couple of two years had their perfect £12,000 Easter-themed nuptials, planned after Luke proposed in North Wales in April 2019, thrown into crisis last month as social distancing measures and group gathering limits were tightened across the UK due to the coronavirus pandemic.
Desperate to become man and wife in 2020, Sarah Joy and Luke instead rushed to tie the knot at their chosen church at 6pm on Sunday, March 22nd with Sarah Joy’s parents as the only witnesses present – little more than 24 hours before Boris Johnson ordered the country into full lockdown and banned all weddings for the foreseeable future.
But left feeling heartbroken they had been forced to shelve their original wedding plans, the couple decided to hold a romantic service in Luke’s parent’s garden in Wavertree, Liverpool, where they have been living together since becoming husband and wife, on their original wedding date over the Easter Bank Holiday weekend.
And despite the heartache, Sarah Joy said it felt like a fairytale when she donned her dream long-sleeved frock to walk down a makeshift aisle to her new hubby, a games tester – before saying speeches to each other, being toasted by friends and family on a video conference call and driving around to wave to local relatives and pals in an open-topped car.