A couple rearranged their wedding – originally planned for a Devon venue – in just 24 hours so they could tie the knot before new lockdown restrictions come into force in England.
Jo Loosemore, 33, and her fiance Matt Goffin, 37, had been due to get married near the bride’s parents’ home in Devon on November 14.
After learning of the impending coronavirus restrictions on Saturday morning, they arranged to get hitched the following day in Witcham, Cambridgeshire, where they live with their eight-month-old son Rupert.
The now Mr and Mrs Goffin married at the Church of St Martin in Witcham, near Ely, on Sunday morning (October 1).
By law, no more than 15 people can attend any marriage or civil partnership ceremony in England.
But under new lockdown rules from Thursday, weddings and civil partnership ceremonies will not be permitted at all except in “exceptional circumstances”.
Biomedical scientist Mr Goffin said their wedding had always been planned for November 14 but was originally designed with 200 guests in mind.
“We’ve had to chop it down so many times now,” he said.
Veterinary nurse Mrs Goffin said: “I was having a shower on Saturday morning and I heard about the new news coming out so I just thought, ‘well I’ll see if we can get it done this weekend’.”
“I thought I can either let this get us down and we can get stressed having to rearrange it for the 100th time or I can be proactive and try and be positive about it and do something about it.”
She said it was a “hectic” weekend but they managed to arrange the wedding in less than 24 hours with the help of their local reverend, Mary Hancock, who was “absolutely brilliant”.
The planned morning church service was replaced by the wedding ceremony and scores of people chipped in to help.
An appeal was put on the village’s Facebook page, leading to offers from musicians, with friends and family also helping out.
As Rev Hancock had been helping with the paperwork for their original wedding date, there were no legal hold-ups.
“So many people in the village offered their services so we actually had a trumpeter and an organist at our wedding which was amazing,” said Mrs Goffin.
“They haven’t charged us anything, which is great.
“We had people from our running club Ely Runners outside wishing us well before we went in and afterwards which was really lovely.
“Matt’s parents got flowers and stuff sorted.
“Matt was able to get his suit sorted in Cambridge.
“Luckily I had my final dress fitting that day so everything fell into place. It was brilliant.
“Instead of having the morning service we just had the wedding one instead, which meant a couple of the locals couldn’t go which now I feel awful about because obviously that would have been the last time for a while now that they could go to church.
“But they’re all so lovely, I think they were just so pleased we could get married.”
Explaining how the legal side of the process was arranged so quickly, she said: “We’ve been going to the Witcham church and we had our banns read there and we got to know Mary quite well, and she’d done all the paperwork side of things up here anyway.
“She hadn’t sent the paperwork down to Devon yet, so that’s how we were able to go ahead.”
She said her parents and sister made the journey from Devon, while her husband’s parents and two family friends travelled from Bury St Edmunds in Suffolk.
“We’re both just so happy and I guess really relieved as we’ve rearranged it so many times now,” said Mrs Goffin.
“We had a really nice day, it’s really special to us.
“I really feel for all the couples who still have to keep on going and rearranging everything.
“It’s just nice to not have to think about that anymore and just enjoy everything.”