‘It was so special’ – Suffolk couples share post-lockdown marriage joy
- Credit: Pauline Beckett/Tia Cook Photography/Becky Luetchford
Suffolk couples have shared how they celebrated the biggest day of their lives – as they became some of the first in the country to say “I do” since the ban on weddings was lifted.
Saturday, July 4, was the day that pubs and restaurants could reopen their doors and life could return to some normality – but for some couples it was just the beginning of their new lives together.
For Henry and Julia, Ben and Beth, and Huw and Tina, it was a day they will never forget.
‘It was joy amongst the heartache’ – Henry Matter and Julia Payne
Nothing – not even coronavirus – could stop Julia Payne from walking down the aisle to marry Henry Matter on Saturday, July 4 at St Mary Magdalene Church in Debenham.
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The couple met two and a half years ago after they were both chosen as godparents for a mutual friends child, and now they are newlyweds, getting ready to move into their new home together in Ipswich.
The Christian couple had been separated for six-and-a-half weeks as a result of coronavirus, which trainee doctor Julia had sadly contracted.
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The 26-year-old was working in A&E at Ipswich Hospital when she became unwell just days before the lockdown was imposed and although now clear from the virus, she is still struggling with fatigue.
Speaking of the day, and what it means to them, Henry said: “It was just so amazing and it was some joy amongst the heartache.
“We are both Christians so we were desperate to get married so we could live together.”
The pair, both from Suffolk, had 30 guests at the wedding, as per the government’s guidelines, but friends live-streamed the ceremony for those who could not attend.
Henry, 34, said: “It’s been a difficult time recently, with Julia’s symptoms keep coming back and not being able to see each other despite being just 20 minutes away.
“However, on Monday we are moving into our home which we have been renovating for the last year, so we can’t wait.”
The pair said they will be holding a celebration next year for all their guests to enjoy, but for now, it is time for them to enjoy their new lives together.
‘I wouldn’t have changed it for anything’ – Ben Hadingham and Beth Jeffries
Beth Jeffries and Ben Hadingham were due to get married on June 27 at a church in Flixton, but instead found themselves making their vows at 10am on Saturday, July 4 – one of the first in the country.
Beth, who is from Bacton and is a nurse in A&E, said because of her work she knew it wouldn’t go ahead and stopped planning their big day back in March.
Instead, they waited until they were given the go-ahead to get married on July 4 – where they had a group of close friends and family to help celebrate their special day.
The 29-year-old said: “It was just perfect as all we wanted was to get married. I wouldn’t have changed it for anything in the world.”
Beth met her husband Ben, an arable farmer, at a hunt ball in 2017 and said they were relieved to finally be able to tie the knot after the government announced the easing of restrictions.
She said: “It was very difficult not being able to have everyone there who we wanted, but people understood the situation.
“Once you are in the church you don’t even notice who is in the room, as you are very much in the moment.”
Following the ceremony, the pair did a tour of Suffolk in Ben’s dad’s Aston Martin, driving around to visit different bubbles of friends and family who were unable to be at the wedding.
They went to Ben’s farm, to their parents houses and ended up at the beach with a bottle of fizz to celebrate.
Speaking of the day, Beth said: “It was just about getting married for us, so we thought let’s just go for it.
“Things could not be any different next year, so we wanted to make the most of it now.”
‘All we wanted was to get married’ – Huw Thomas and Tina Worby
Tina Worby, 49, and her husband Huw, 57, were the first couple in Suffolk to have a registry wedding – tying the knot at 10am on Saturday, July 4 at the Athenaeum in Bury St Edmunds.
Their original wedding date of June 16 was postponed due to the lockdown, and their party for all their friends and family was cancelled.
The couple, who live together in Wortham and met five years ago, had planned to have their dream wedding at the Athenaeum registry office with four witnesses, followed by a meal at 1921 Angel Hill.
Despite cancelling the party, the pair held out hope for their June 16 wedding, which kept on being moved back each day.
On Tuesday, June 30, they were given the good news that they could kick-start the rest of their lives together.
“To find out we would be getting married on the Saturday was such a relief,” explained Tina, who is a self-employed gardener and cleaner.
“We just wanted to get married so we could get on with the rest of our lives.”
Tina borrowed some clothes from her friend and mixed and matched until she had the perfect outfit for her wedding day.
She also had her friend do her makeup and even drove to the venue in her very own silver Skoda – complete with ribbons.
Speaking of the day, she said: “It was so special, and it felt very personal.
“We may have had our wedding and our party stripped away from us, but it just felt right – it really was perfect.”
The pair then met at a distance with friends and family in Abbey Gardens for pictures to help them remember the special day.
She said: “It was all we had ever wanted.”