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How a Suffolk couple defied the odds to wed just as lockdown hit UK

PUBLISHED: 06:30 17 May 2020

Rachel and Danny Pugh, after their wedding ceremony in Aldeburgh, on Saturday, March 21. Picture: CARON GILL PHOTOGRAPHY/PAIGE GILL

Rachel and Danny Pugh, after their wedding ceremony in Aldeburgh, on Saturday, March 21. Picture: CARON GILL PHOTOGRAPHY/PAIGE GILL

CARON GILL PHOTOGRAPHY/PAIGE GILL

A Suffolk couple who met on Tinder have told how they wed and then staged a makeshift reception – including fish and chips in Aldeburgh – as coronavirus restrictions started to hit the UK.

Danny and Rachel Pugh, who live in Saxmundham, met on Tinder more than four years ago. Picture: CARON GILL PHOTOGRAPHY/ PAIGE GILLDanny and Rachel Pugh, who live in Saxmundham, met on Tinder more than four years ago. Picture: CARON GILL PHOTOGRAPHY/ PAIGE GILL

On Friday, March 20, the night before they were due to marry, Danny and Rachel Pugh received a devastating call from their reception venue Glemham Hall after Boris Johnson told the hospitality industry to close immediately.

Three days later, the country would go into full lockdown.

“We were confident all week that the wedding would go ahead,” said Danny, 25, who is originally from Cambridge. “So it was pretty devastating and frustrating to hear the news.”

Rachel, 27, who grew up in Saxmundham and met Danny on Tinder four years ago, said she was “heartbroken” at first, but says everyone came together to make it “a day to remember”.

Danny and Rachel Pugh managed to tie the knot despite the lockdown restrictions announced less than 24 hours earlier. Picture: CARON GILL PHOTOGRAPHY/PAIGE GILLDanny and Rachel Pugh managed to tie the knot despite the lockdown restrictions announced less than 24 hours earlier. Picture: CARON GILL PHOTOGRAPHY/PAIGE GILL

With determination and sheer resilience, the couple decided to go ahead with the wedding – albeit with a few big changes – not wanting to disappoint the 40 guests who had already travelled down.

With the help of a local vicar, the pair married at a church in Aldeburgh, with Danny and his dad rushing to get plastic prosecco glasses and orange juice from the supermarket on the morning of the wedding, so they could hold the speeches after making their vows.

The guests, despite reduced numbers, went to the church and also posed for pictures with the bride and groom outside, with Caron Gill Photography and her daughter Paige capturing the special moments.

Then at Glemham Hall, where they were due to hold their wedding reception, the newlyweds took photos around the stunning grounds and had their very first dance.

Danny and Rachel Pugh were unable to have the full wedding reception at Glemham Hall, but still managed to get some stunning pictures. Picture: CARON GILL PHOTOGRAPHY/PAIGE GILLDanny and Rachel Pugh were unable to have the full wedding reception at Glemham Hall, but still managed to get some stunning pictures. Picture: CARON GILL PHOTOGRAPHY/PAIGE GILL

They also cut the cake for the photographer and managed to make it as special as possible.

Speaking of the day, Danny said: “Glemham Hall did everything they could to make this possible for us, with no hesitation at all.

“They also provided us with a confetti canon for our first dance and arranged with the DJ to play our special song, they were amazing.”

The couple then went to their makeshift wedding reception with the rest of their guests at Rachel’s parents house in Aldeburgh, after they kindly opened their doors up last minute and organised to have fish and chips delivered and even got some alcohol in to celebrate.

Danny and Rachel Pugh celebrated their wedding a little differently than planned at Glemham Hall on Saturday, March 21, after the UK was told to Danny and Rachel Pugh celebrated their wedding a little differently than planned at Glemham Hall on Saturday, March 21, after the UK was told to "stay home". Picture: CARON GILL PHOTOGRAPHY/PAIGE GILL

The pair then reenacted their first dance and cake cutting for their guests, with Rachel doing the traditional bouquet throw and having a father-daughter dance in the living room.

Danny, who is a mechanic in the army, said: “It was all very surreal, but we just want to look back at it positively as it was so unique.

“We wished it could have been different, but obviously it is a day we will never forget.”

Rachel, a beauty therapist, said she was so grateful for everyone who helped them have their special day.

The couple's dream wedding reception at Glemham Hall was slightly different than planned due to coronavirus restrictions, but it was still a day to remember. Picture:  CARON GILL PHOTOGRAPHY/PAIGE GILLThe couple's dream wedding reception at Glemham Hall was slightly different than planned due to coronavirus restrictions, but it was still a day to remember. Picture: CARON GILL PHOTOGRAPHY/PAIGE GILL

“We have still got such special memories and a story to tell so I am really happy,” she said. “It may not have been as planned but it turned out to be so lovely.”

With the help of Glemham Hall, the couple have postponed their wedding reception to March 20, 2021, when they will be able to return to enjoy the day as originally planned on their one year anniversary with all their friends and family.

Donna Stockley, wedding and events manager at Glemham Hall, said: “We were thrilled to see Danny & Rachel’s determination and resilience shine through on their wedding day and it was an honour to help them fulfil the important moments of their day and to have some beautiful photos to look back on.

“After what had been a terribly upsetting evening for everyone involved, what transpired is one of the most incredible, romantic, wedding days that I don’t think any one of us will ever forget! They’re a very special couple and we look forward to welcoming them back to the Hall and celebrating with them again on their 1st anniversary.”


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