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Telford couple prepare to fulfil dream with first post lockdown wedding

By Dominic Robertson | Ironbridge | Coronavirus | Published:

A couple getting married in Telford's first civil wedding since lockdown will be fulfilling their dream of of getting married on July 4.

Tracie Kenny, 53, and Neal Arden, 49, will be getting married on Saturday

Tracie Kenny, 53, and Neal Arden, 49, of Lawley Bank, will marry at The Best Western Valley Hotel in Ironbridge at 1.30pm tomorrow with two witnesses and Neal’s 13-year-old son Callum as honorary best man.

The hotel is reopening especially for one hour so the happy couple can give their vows on a special date – their fifth anniversary of getting together.

Tracie and Neal have known each other for 25 years, meeting through their mutual interest in rallying with both being members of Telford Auto Club.

Tracie is a Clinical Trials Data Co-ordinator at the Shrewsbury and Telford Hospitals Trust and Neal works for Breedon Aggregates.

“We got together on July 4 five years ago and we always said we would get married the next time that date fell on a Saturday. We had been dealing with Lisa at The Valley and were on the phone as soon as Boris made his announcement about hospitality opening up on July 4,” said Tracie.

“She has been absolutely wonderful, speaking to the registrar and pulled out the stops to ensure it could go ahead because it was so important to us. They’ve been brilliant because it was a case of if we don’t do it on this date then it’s gone for another six years!

“I work with Covid patients and keeping everyone safe was as important as the wedding day itself. We don’t want to put anyone at risk and we needed to consider Neal – he’s been shielding in the at-risk category throughout lockdown as he has no spleen.

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“We couldn’t have hoped for anything else. It’s the first civil wedding in the borough after lockdown, which makes us feel special, The Valley is opening for an hour only just for us, everything has worked out beautifully, everyone’s been absolutely amazing – even to the point of the rings.

“We hadn’t bought them because lockdown came and all the jewellers were closed. But the son of my boss is a jewellery designer and works in Birmingham’s Jewellery Quarter. He very kindly, during lockdown, made our rings and delivered them to us this week.

Tracie Kenny, 53, and Neal Arden, 49, with Neal’s 13-year-old son Callum who will be honorary best man for the service

“I was able to see the lady who made my dress briefly a few weeks ago, was able to try it on and get that sorted, so I’ve got my dress.

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"The florist is delivering my bouquet to the house and we have a friend in Ironbridge who teaches photography as a hobby who will take some pictures in the garden after the wedding, so we have something of the day.”

The wedding party will consist of bride and groom, best man Callum, Tracie’s best friend Samantha Delaney and Neal’s best friend Giles Corbett who will be witnesses. But there will be no honeymoon – at least not yet.

“I imagine that will come after next year’s wedding, we are planning to do the whole thing again next July for family and friends,” said Tracie.

Lisa Snape, marketing and sales manager of The Best Western Valley Hotel, said: “The hotel isn’t opening until Monday but, in view of the date and the special meaning it holds for Tracie and Neal, we are delighted to help them celebrate their wedding on the day they always wanted.

“It is very special for us to be able to host the first civil wedding ceremony in the borough since lockdown too. It has been a difficult time for all of our staff but we cannot wait to welcome our customers back from Monday – although Saturday for this special couple.”

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