Couple rearrange wedding in just three hours to marry before tier 4 restrictions
3rd January 2021

A couple rearranged their entire wedding in just three hours so they could marry before new coronavirus tier restrictions came into force in Staffordshire.

Rhiannon Robertshaw, 29 and now-husband Joe, 26, from were able to hastily reorganise their big day just before their area went into tier 4.

The pair, of Burton-upon-Trent, had been due to tie the knot on New Year’s Eve on the third anniversary of when they first met.

But on 3pm on December 30, Boris Johnson announced Staffordshire was moving up from tier 3 to tier 4, putting their plans in jeopardy.

Determined to say their vows, Rhiannon and Joe, who were at work at the time, went about trying to organise a whirlwind wedding.

Within 20 minutes they phoned the priest who agreed to conduct the ceremony at short notice at Rhiannon’s family church, St Giles.

They quickly contacted family, friends and wedding photographer in a short space of time.

Joe’s family had a two-hour drive to get to the church from Halifax, West Yorkshire.

But it gave enough time for bride Rhiannon, who had already bought her dress and shoes, to get ready to walk down the aisle at 6.30pm.

The couple, who got engaged 18 months ago, were able to say ‘I do’ in front of 15 close friends and family before enjoying a quick toast in the church car park.

Rhiannon, a technical assistant at an opticians, found out about the tier move from her boss, which left her in tears. But she was encouraged to bring the wedding forward.

Rhiannon said: ‘We literally just winged it and my colleagues were texting me and I just replied “yes we’ve called it on, it’s a good job I straightened my hair this morning”.

‘There was no time for anything no makeup or anything it was just a case of getting down the aisle.

‘Luckily we had kind of planned things and had taken the bridesmaids dresses and my dress over to my grandmother’s house as I was going to get ready there anyway.

‘So our outfits, shoes and jewellery were all there ready to go it was just a case of actually getting over there and getting dressed.

‘But Joe ended up getting changed at the church car park. Luckily he works for himself so he asked himself and he got the afternoon off.’

Due to Covid restrictions, the couple had to downsize their guest list from 150 to only 15 people meaning only their closest family and friends could legally attend.

Unfortunately, Joe’s mum, a police officer, was at work and unable to attend.

The couple plans to have an official ceremony later, so everyone else can attend.

Rhiannon added: ‘It’s been a bit of a rough year and we have both lost people so we decided we wanted to do it now rather than leave it.

‘Joe lost his stepdad and I lost my grandfather and that was the deciding factor we were never going to have all the people we wanted there.

‘Rather than risking it and waiting, we thought let’s just have everybody that we wanted there now.’

Speaking about the ceremony itself after the mad rush down the aisle Rhiannon said: ‘It was really weird and surreal for me, it was all a bit of a whirlwind but totally worth it.

‘I was just really excited that we were actually doing it as it has been so on and off and on and off again.

‘We had just about got our heads around going from 150 people to 15 we couldn’t do that all over again and cut it.’

Groom Joe, an architectural designer added: ‘For me, everyone was rushing around and I still wanted to get there an hour early so I was just stood there waiting for everyone.

‘It was all a bit weird and we didn’t really have time to think about anything.

‘We had decided rather than getting excited and then upset and excited and upset again to stop thinking about it and go with the flow and then all of a sudden it exploded and we had three hours to make it happen.’

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