When the second lockdown was announced at the weekend, everybody’s plans for November were scuppered.
That is everybody apart from Aly Harwood and Gareth Bateman. They had been due to get married in three weeks in front of 200 people, but the pandemic meant they could only do it in front of 30 loved ones.
As rules were tightened, that number halved and then the whole thing appeared to be in peril after the announcement of a return to the tightest restrictions.
However, rather than kicking their vows into the long grass, the couple rearranged the entire thing – church, reception, flowers and dress fittings – in just one day.
So tomorrow Aly, 33, will walk up the aisle to be next to Gareth, 34, at Christ Church, North Shields, where three generations of her family have got married.
They will get married in front of 14 friends and family – it would have been the maximum 15, but the best man’s childminder has displayed Covid symptoms.
Aly, an underwriter for an insurance firm, said: ‘I was brought up overseas so I have a lot of friends in other countries and around 30 guests were supposed to come from abroad.
‘But on Saturday, I read the news that the government was going to introduce another lockdown, so I thought I’d give everyone a call and see what we can do.
‘I decided that I was going to get married before any lockdown came in. Our vicar was great, she said she’d marry us at midnight if she had to.’
Aly added: ‘It was only ever about the wedding and getting married, we weren’t bothered about the glitz and the glamour that goes with it.
‘Thankfully, because everyone has pulled out all the stops, we will be able to have a celebration on the day as well.’
After their wedding, the couple will then head back to their local pub, the Cook and Barker, near Morpeth, Northumbria, for a wedding breakfast that includes a cheese and pork pie cake.
Aly’s goddaughter, 21, will also act as the photographer on the day.
The bride-to-be added: ‘We just went for direct family, we both have small families so by the time you add in the bridesmaids and groomsmen, that’s your wedding party complete.
‘I’m quite a relaxed person, I’ve not been a bridezilla, but it has been the uncertainty that has caused a bit of worry.
‘You think you’ve got everything planned, but then things change again and again.
‘Because everything has been so last minute, there has been loads to do, but the suppliers and everyone else has been great and I can’t thank them enough.’
Gareth, a dog trainer, popped the question on Aly’s birthday, August 28, last year during a walk on the beach with their dogs Wilma and Fred.
The couple, who plan to have a bigger celebration next year, will hold off any honeymoon until travel restrictions are lifted and will be back at work on Wednesday.
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