A loving couple are set to tie the knot today after the bride-to-be rearranged her entire wedding in ONE DAY so she can get married before England’s newest lockdown.
Aly Harwood, 33, rearranged the church, reception, flowers and dress fitting so she could said “I do” with fiance Gareth Bateman, 34, before restrictions came into force on Thursday.
The couple had originally planned to say their vows on November 20 in front of 200 guests at Christ Church in North Shields, where three generations of Aly’s family previously wed.
And the pair, who have been together for two years, had arranged for a major reception at the stunning Wylam Brewery in Newcastle.
When the Covid-19 pandemic scuppered their plans, they scaled back the celebrations and restricted the number of guests to 30 and a reception at their local pub.
The pair will now tie the knot in front of just 14 close friends after Aly rearranged the whole wedding on Saturday after learning of the government’s lockdown plans.
Aly, 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.
“I decided that I was going to get married before any lockdown came in.
“The papers were reporting it could come into affect on Wednesday, so I arranged it for Tuesday.
“Our vicar was great, she said she’d marry us at midnight if she had to.
“It was only every 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.”
Aly will become the fourth generation of her family to get married at the church when she walks down the aisle.
The couple will then head back to their local boozer, Cook and Barker, in Northumbria, for a wedding breakfast that includes a cheese and pork pie cake.
Due to travel restrictions and the short notice of the day, only 15 guests were planned for the big day.
And that was reduced to 14 when the best man was told he had to self-isolate because his childminder had displayed covid symptoms.
She 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.”
The couple 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.
Aly added: “The florist only had the flowers delivered on Monday so she needs time to arrange everything.
“My mum is making facemasks for all the guests to that everyone has matching.
“I have to have my nails done, pick up my dress, get the decorations sorted.
“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 when Aly was living in London but was due to move back to her native North East.
Gareth, a dog trainer, popped the question on Aly’s birthday, August 28, last year during a stroll on the beach with their dogs Wilma and Fred.
Aly added: “He had asked my parent’s 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 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.