Every single element of Chris and Fiona Fisher’s wedding had to be changed, apart from the date.
Fiona didn’t have time to find a dress.
The guest list was cut from 150 to just 30 for social distancing.
Even the church was changed due to health and safety rules.
But the pair were determined that their wedding should go ahead, becoming one of the first couples to tie the knot after months of lockdown.
They had chosen 4 July as their wedding date long ago, but nurse Fiona and special needs school chef Chris had been told it would not be possible due to government rules.
In the end they had just five days to make the event happen.
The vicar confirmed the ceremony could go ahead because lockdown was being eased and an alternative church had been found.
“We had nothing prepared, we didn’t even have rings,” said Fiona inside the small church in Wotton-under-Edge, Gloucestershire, that they found as a replacement.
“We both decided we wanted to be married. It didn’t matter where or how and all our friends chipped in to make it happen.”
Luckily for them the tiny 200-year-old church is beautiful, with pink-peach walls and a bright stained glass window.
Inside, every other row was sectioned off for social distancing.
The guests were all local, to avoid friends and family needing to undertake unnecessarily long journeys.
But there were some very important people who couldn’t make it, including Fiona’s parents, who are shielding for health reasons.
Instead, the bride and groom were escorted down the aisle by their two children: best man Albie, four, and bridesmaid Mallory, two.
The service itself was short, with the government guidance saying singing should be avoided because it poses a higher risk of transmitting the coronavirus. Food and drink wasn’t allowed, nor was any kind of party.
The whole wedding experience was notably different, but the essence was the same. It was still joyful, emotional and full of kids running around making a racket.
Rings were still exchanged, vows were still made and it was all still sealed with a kiss and a round of applause.
After some socially distanced photographs and air hugs, the happy couple made their way to a friend’s house for takeaway fish and chips and a glass of bubbly.
Everybody was tucking in; there was no standing on ceremony between friends. Chris said the food from the takeaway was probably better than any wedding catering.
“It’s not what we planned,” said Fiona while speaking to her parents on Facetime, “but today was a dream come true.”