A couple rearranged their entire wedding in just THREE hours so they could marry before new coronavirus tier restrictions came into force.
Rhiannon Robertshaw, 29 and husband Joe, 26, were able to hastily reorganise their big day just before their area was plunged into tier 4.
The pair, of Burton-upon-Trent, Staffs., had been due to tie the knot on New Year’s Eve on the third anniversary of when they first met.
But on 3pm on Wednesday (30/12) Prime Minister Boris Johnson announced Staffordshire was moving up from tier 3 to tier 4 putting their plans in jeopardy.
Determined to say their vows, Rhiannon and Joe, who were at work at the time, went about trying to organise a whirlwind wedding.
Within 20 minutes they phoned the priest who agreed to conduct the ceremony at short notice at Rhiannon’s family church, St Giles Church in Cheadle, Staffs.
They quickly contacted family, friends and wedding photographer and managed to rearrange their wedding day in just three hours.
Joe admitted it was a “bit of a push” as his family had a two-hour drive to get to the church from Halifax, West Yorks.
But it gave enough time for bride Rhiannon, who had already bought her dress and shoes, to get ready to walk down the aisle at 6.30pm.
The couple, who got engaged 18 months ago, were able to say ‘I do’ in front of 15 close friends and family before enjoying a quick toast in the church car park.
Rhiannon, a technical assistant at an opticians, said: “We met online on a dating website and actually became a couple on New Year’s Eve.
“That is why we wanted to get married at this time of year as we wanted it to be as close to New Year as possible.
“The wedding was originally booked for January 4, 2021, but we knew we could not have a reception so we moved it to New Year’s Eve.
“We thought that if we couldn’t have the venue then we may as well ask the church if we could move it to New Year’s Eve for a quick ceremony.
“But I was at work on Wednesday and heard Boris Johnson was going to be making his 3pm announcement I didn’t hear it myself as I was working but the girls at work were listening to see what would happen.
“One of the bosses then called me away and said ‘look we’re going into tier four’, so we both had a bit of a cry together.
“She just said ‘if there is any chance you can make it work go and get married please, we will sort out everything here.’
“So I rang Joe and he rang his family and tried to arrange for them to come down from Yorkshire and we then rang the priest and he said yes he could make it happen.
“Our photographer was also available so I left work at 4pm and we were getting married at 6.30pm.
“We literally just winged it and my colleagues were texting me and I just replied ‘yes we’ve called it on, it’s a good job I straightened my hair this morning’.
“There was no time for anything no makeup or anything it was just a case of getting down the aisle.
“Luckily we had kind of planned things and had taken the bridesmaids dresses and my dress over to my grandmother’s house as I was going to get ready there anyway.
“So our outfits, shoes and jewellery were all there ready to go it was just a case of actually getting over there and getting dressed.
“But Joe ended up getting changed at the church car park.
“Luckily he works for himself so he asked himself and he got the afternoon off.”
Due to Covid restrictions, the couple had to downsize their guest list from 150 to only 15 people meaning only their closest family and friends could legally attend.
Rhiannon added: “We were still allowed 15 people but unfortunately there was two that couldn’t make it one of which was Joe’s mum.
“She works for the police and had just started a night shift when we phoned. But she was amazing and gave us her blessing to go ahead.
“If we couldn’t do it now we didn’t know when in the future we could with everything going on.
“She was a bit upset but we had a conversation with her and we want to celebrate in a big way when we all can and renew our vows so she can see me and Joe getting married.
“It’s been a bit of a rough year and we have both lost people so we decided we wanted to do it now rather than leave it.
“Joe lost his stepdad and I lost my grandfather and that was the deciding factor we were never going to have all the people we wanted there.
“Rather than risking it and waiting thought let’s just have everybody that we wanted there now.”
Speaking about the ceremony itself after the mad rush down the aisle Rhiannon said: “It was really weird and surreal for me, it was all a bit of a whirlwind but totally worth it.
“I was just really excited that we were actually doing it as it has been so on and off and on and off again.
“We had just about got our heads around going from 150 people to 15 we couldn’t do that all over again and cut it.
“We are planning on doing a big do but don’t know where just when there are no limitations on numbers and people that were supposed to be there on the big day.
“We just want to say a big thank you to everybody that was there and able to make it happen for us.
“All of our family, the priest and Joe’s family who travelled two hours and literally dropped everything.
“It was amazing they managed to make our day as special and as lovely as it was in just three hours notice.”
Groom Joe, an architectural designer added: “For me, everyone was rushing around and I still wanted to get there an hour early so I was just stood there waiting for everyone.
“It was all a bit weird and we didn’t really have time to think about anything.
“We had decided rather than getting excited and then upset and excited and upset again to stop thinking about it and go with the flow and then all of a sudden it exploded and we had three hours to make it happen.”