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Smitten schoolteachers defy coronavirus odds and tie the knot

PUBLISHED: 19:00 23 March 2020 | UPDATED: 19:05 23 March 2020

The happy couple wed in the face of challenges posed by the coronavirus Picture: MELISSA LEEK

The happy couple wed in the face of challenges posed by the coronavirus Picture: MELISSA LEEK

MELISSA LEEK

A happy couple from Essex walked down the aisle at a popular theatre today – in what has been described as a “beacon of hope” for those wanting to marry during the coronavirus pandemic.

Ryan Plant and Kayley Howell tied the knot at the Princes Theatre in Clacton today Picture: MELISSA LEEKRyan Plant and Kayley Howell tied the knot at the Princes Theatre in Clacton today Picture: MELISSA LEEK

Ryan Plant, 29, and Kayley Howell, 27, from Clacton, went ahead with the vows at the town’s Princes Theatre this afternoon, in a ceremony which had been planned for months.

They had planned to get married on April 19 – but when the bride’s family couldn’t attend from Canada, along with elderly guests, the pair decided to bring the official ceremony forward.

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The couple, who got engaged in August, had to make radical changes to the service – including cutting the guest list and dropping the wedding breakfast and reception in favour of just having witnesses and the registrar.

“We were determined to go ahead with our wedding – with all the uncertainty surrounding the world at the moment, we wanted to make a declaration of our love,” Kayley said.

“When everything has settled down, we’ll look to hold a big celebration with family and friends.

“As the day has got closer and the pandemic has worsened, we feared our wedding would be cancelled – but the council and our wedding organiser helped to make sure the day happened and we couldn’t be happier.

“Unfortunately our family couldn’t be there and we couldn’t have a reception but we will have the opportunity to celebrate with them all when the current situation has passed.”

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Ryan added: “With the uncertainty surrounding the current situation, we also didn’t know how long we would have to wait, and I just wanted to marry the love of my life.

“Ultimately life goes on, even if we do have social distancing and even if the way we live our lives changes, love continues.

“We would love to thank everyone who has helped to make our day a reality.”

The Princes Theatre is closed for shows and events, in line with Government guidance.

Alex Porter, responsible for leisure and tourism at Tendring District Council which runs the theatre, said the ceremony was a beacon of hope for people.

“We are already seeing some wonderful responses from our community pulling together to help each other in these difficult times, and Ryan and Kayley’s wedding is a shining example of why we as humanity are working to tackle this pandemic,” she added.

“I wish the happy couple a long and happy marriage and wish them all the best for the future.”

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