A North Staffordshire couple whose dream wedding was left in tatters due to the coronavirus outbreak managed to tie the knot just hours before the country went into lockdown.
Paul and Emma Jones were due to get married this month but as the pandemic worsened they were forced to hastily rearrange their big day in less than 24 hours.
The pair, who live in Cheadle, officially became husband and wife at 4.30pm on Monday, March 23 just four hours before Prime Minister Boris Johnson’s historic announcement.
As Christians, they had not wanted to live together before their relationship was sealed in the eyes of God.
And although it was not the big day they had planned, the couple say couldn’t be happier to be spending lockdown as newlyweds and not having to self-isolate away from each other, BurtonLive reports.
They had just three guests, Paul’s mum and dad and Emma’s mum, at the ceremony in Uttoxeter instead of the 100 who had originally been due to attend.
However, they made sure their friends and family could still be part of the big day as the service was screened live via Facebook Live so everyone could watch.
Paul said: “We realised that had it been four hours later we would have lost our opportunity.
“The reason we wanted to get married before is so that we could live together and we wanted to be together in case there was a lockdown to support each other and show love to one another.
“The first week has been great, obviously it is not quite how we planned.
“It is fantastic to be with your best friend every day.
“Our honeymoon to Spain has obviously been cancelled but we have had an ‘isolation-moon’ as we managed to book a couple of nights away in isolation at a barn conversion in Abbots Bromley.
“We have been enjoying the isolation and making the most of it.”
The couple had been due to marry on Saturday, April 18, at Uttoxeter Renew Church, but quickly brought it forward.
They made the change after talking with Renew Church Senior Pastor Matthew Murray on the Sunday evening.
The next day, Emma, who already had her dress, was walking down the aisle and the couple exchanged their vows.
They even managed to get the room at the church where the ceremony took place decorated with an arch and flowers from The Flower Shop, in Uttoxeter, and even the aisle runner carpet for them to walk along was delivered two weeks early to make for the perfect day.
Kelly Ratcliffe Photography also agreed to attend to capture pictures.
Paul, aged 29, added: “It’s been wonderful the last week of marriage.
“We wanted to give out a message of hope and show people that God had a plan and he had a plan in our life.
“It’s just remarkable that everything came together for us. It wasn’t the wedding we had planned but it was far beyond what we expected.
“It was very intimate which made it quite special.
“It’s a surreal experience and we keep having to pinch ourselves. The thing that really guided us was the peace of God over our relationship.
“We are both Christian and wanted to be led by God.”
The couple are key workers with Emma, aged 39, a community carer and Paul busy with the foodbank as a church minister.
They met through the Renew Church when Emma joined around three years ago but were initially just friends before love blossomed.
Things changed around eight months ago when they were out for a walk with friends from the church and Emma and Paul decided to walk into the town centre together.
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Paul said: “There was a bit of flirting but I wasn’t 100 per cent sure she was interested, I knew I was.
“I didn’t realise she was until we were getting to Asda and she reached over and touched my arm. It was the physical touch that let me know she was interested.”
Their first date saw them spend the day at Cannock Chase and they have been inseparable since, planning to get married just nine months later – which became just eight when they moved the wedding forward.