A Humble Covid-tastic Village Hall Wedding

Megan and Stuart from Worthing got married on 25th July this year… and I was supposed to go to their wedding damn it! In fact, not only was I a guest, I’d volunteered to provide 80 retro desserts for the reception. Margot’s Dessert Trolley. Trifle anyone?

Obviously the whole world turned upside down and Megan and Stuart’s party were spared my attempts at Black Forrest Gateaux.

I asked them some questions about their crazy journey to become man and wife.

Q. When did you get engaged? And when did you start planning your wedding?

A. We got engaged in November 2019 at Fraser Castle. Stuart planned the whole surprise weekend away in Scotland. We started planning fairly quickly and met the vicar a month later after deciding on the church we would like to be married in.

Q. What were your pre-Covid wedding plans?

A. We had originally invited about 80 people to the wedding and had family coming from South Africa and New Zealand. Stuart’s sister lives in New Zealand and I still hadn’t met her, so we were really looking forward to her visit especially! We were going to get married in Highbrook church and have the reception in a marquee on the village green ending in a Ceilidh Rave in the village hall. We definitely wanted it to be very chilled out and relaxed.

Q. What did you think when we went into lockdown? Did you think about postponing the whole thing?

A. We didn’t really think about postponing the wedding as for us it was more about actually being married than the big party (although obviously we were looking forward to that a lot too!!) For ages though we had no idea whether we would actually be able to get married on the date we planned to. When Boris finally made the announcement that weddings could go ahead after lockdown we had three weeks to plan everything (and three Sundays to have the banns read which is a legal requirement!)

Q. How did your plans have to be altered?

A. We had to postpone the party side of things and invite 30 of our closest friends and family to join us for the service. We made individual hampers full of homemade jam, scones, sandwiches, salads, fudge etc so people could have a picnic after the service in groups of six.

Q. How easy was it to postpone/change things around with the suppliers you’d booked?

A. Unfortunately we had to let the people doing the food know that we could no longer have a big buffet meal. They were really understanding and just said we should let them know when we have rescheduled the party side of things. The marquee company and the ceilidh rave people had taken deposits which they still have (we
hope to use them if we are able to have the bigger party in the future, but otherwise we may lose deposits on those).

Q. Are you still planning to have your original celebration at a later date? If so have you set the date? And how are you feeling about it now?

A. At the moment it still seems impossible to predict when we will be able to have a big party so we haven’t set a new date. We are hoping to have a celebration at some point but we would obviously love to have our family from overseas there, and at the moment travel is still really restricted and quarantining makes it even difficult. We aren’t really sure how to feel about it as it will be quite strange to celebrate a wedding that has already happened in some ways. So I guess we’ll see what happens!

Q. For you, what were the pros and cons of having to change your wedding plans?

A. Pros – Stuart and I are both quite shy so it was actually really lovely that the service was so intimate, even more so because the electricity in the whole village went off for four hours over the time of the wedding and it was raining very heavily outside so the vicar had raced around the village collecting all the candles she could find to light up the church. It was the one day in July it rained I think and the only time the village had ever experienced a random power cut like that! The bridesmaids had to travel to a nearby farm where there was still electricity to dry their hair and iron their dresses!

It felt like a wedding in the 50s somehow!!

We loved the fact that because of the smaller number of guests everyone was able to
get involved in the day – my dad did the flowers, my mum arranged the cake, Stu’s mum made South African bunting and altered my mum’s wedding dress for me to wear, my brother and his wife made the confetti, the best man’s mum played the organ, some ladies from the village even made a beautiful flower archway for the church as a complete surprise… and the list goes on… It felt like a wedding in the 50s somehow!!
Cons – The main sadness of the day was not having Stuart’s sister there from New Zealand, and other family from overseas, as well as lots of other special friends.

Q. Tell us about the day and the measures you put in place to adhere to Covid guidelines.

A. In the church the rules were really strict. We were all socially distanced in bubbles and the bridesmaids had to walk in two metres apart. We weren’t allowed to have any singing. We got married just before they introduced mask-wearing in churches so we were grateful for that. Instead of any kind of buffet food (which was not allowed) we put together individual picnic hampers for after the service. Also the bridesmaids came from different parts of the country and because of the restrictions weren’t allowed to stay over at our house so ended up camping in the village campsite (where there were no showers!) and then cycling to the church – definitely the most hardcore bridesmaids I know!

Q. What was your favourite memory of the day?

A. Something quite memorable for both of us was the walk from the church to the village hall after the service. We had about two minutes alone together and just laughed at how crazy it was that we had actually just got married. It still feels quite surreal!

Q. How did Covid restrictions affect your honeymoon? 

A. We were meant to be going to South Africa for a whole month to see my side of the family and also have a bit of a road trip. That got cancelled about a month before it was meant to happen, or postponed I guess (hopefully we will be able to do it at some point). We ended up planning a little trip to Cornwall at the end of the summer instead, however even that was not without its drama. The night before we left we went to the petrol station to fill up the car. We got back about ten minutes later to find that the next door neighbour’s tree had fallen through our roof and landed across the front of the house! We had to climb our way through the tree to get to our front door. Luckily in the end we only had to postpone our second attempt at a honeymoon by one day.

Photography: beeholmesphotography.com

Kilt: www.frasersformen.co.uk

Some of the food for the picnic hampers: www.renskitchen.co.uk

Flowers: www.instagram.com/h0llyfl0rist

Hair: www.thatglambar.com

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