A bride who was meant to marry her partner on November 20 rearranged her entire wedding in just one day in order to tie the knot before new coronavirus lockdown rules come into effect.
Aly Harwood, 33, has rearranged the church, reception, flowers and her dress fitting so she and Gareth Bateman, 34, can say "I do" before tougher restrictions are introduced in England this Thursday.
Before the pandemic hit, the couple had originally planned to wed in front of 200 guests on November 20 at Christ Church in North Shields, where three generations of Aly's family previously got married.
However, after regulations were brought in, this number was cut down to 30. Now the rearranged wedding will see them marry in front of just 14 of their nearest and dearest.
Harwood, an underwriter for an insurance firm, said: "The wedding was always going to be November 20.
“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. One of my bridesmaids is in New Zealand and can't travel for the wedding.
“We just want to get married, so we decided to restrict it to 30 guests and have it on the same day as planned. 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.”
Harwood decided she wanted to get married before any new lockdown restrictions came in, so she arranged the wedding to take place this Tuesday, November 3.
"Our vicar was great, she said she'd marry us at midnight if she had to,” Harwood continued.
"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."
While the original reception was scheduled to be held at Wylam Brewery in Newcastle, the couple will now host a reception at their local pub, the Cook and Barker, in Northumbria, for a wedding breakfast that includes a cheese and pork pie cake.
On deciding who would attend, Haywood 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.
"My goddaughter is 21 and has just started out in photography so I have roped her into taking pictures because an official photographer would count as an additional guest.
"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."
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Harwood and Bateman will have their ceremony at 4.30pm to give them extra time to finalise preparations, such as dress fitting, flower arranging and decorating the pub.
Harwood added: "The florist only had the flowers delivered on Monday so she needs time to arrange everything. My mum is making face masks for all the guests so that everyone is matching.
"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."
The couple met online two years ago and Bateman, a dog trainer, popped the question on Harwood’s birthday in August last year during a stroll on the beach with their dogs Wilma and Fred.
Harwood added: "He had asked my parents’ permission five months before he asked me. He had always planned to ask me on my birthday.
"We were stood in the sea and he asked if I would marry him. I didn't even get a chance to say yes, I just burst into tears."
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.