Couples finally get to have the day of their dreams after months of cancellations

Two simple words - I do - are now being said across Shropshire by hundreds of couples who had been forced to cancel their weddings, often not once but two, three and even more times.

One of the couples, Zoe and Jason, who enjoyed their wedding at the Hundred House. Photos: Andy Li Photography
One of the couples, Zoe and Jason, who enjoyed their wedding at the Hundred House. Photos: Andy Li Photography

The unlocking of almost all of the lockdown restrictions this week means that it is all systems go for wedding venues across the county.

Churches and chapels are also preparing for the return of larger numbers of weddings and wedding guests, and those whose business is wrapped up in the wedding industry are gearing up for a busy time.

Reverend Harvey Gibbons, said it would be nice to welcome more people and said St Oswald's Church, in Oswestry, was a big enough church to have plenty of room for the larger weddings that could still be Covid secure.

"We will be reopening slowly and cautiously," he said.

St Oswald's Church in Oswestry

"There have been a number of postponements and we are looking forward to the joyous occasions returning once again.

"We have three weddings coming up in July and, while the restrictions have been lifted, we will be working with safety still very much in mind.

"People are being very responsible and I have been very impressed about how sensible they are and how concerned about the welfare of other people.

"A marriage is a happy time and we want to help people celebrate in a safe way."

Many couples decided to still go ahead with their marriages with severely restricted numbers of guests and strict rules over mask wearing and no singing during the service.

But the vast majority decided to wait until they could have the day of their dreams.

The tables are laid for wedding guests at the Hundred House. Photos: Andy Li Photography

The Hundred House, at Norton, near Bridgnorth, has embarked on the busiest time in its history.

A popular wedding venue, the country pub and hotel has no less than 120 weddings booked in between now and Christmas.

One of the venue's wedding team, Jo Phillips, said: "That is the number we would expect to house in a year but this will be in five months.

"We have five weddings this week, seven the week after. In fact, over the next six weeks there are only five or six days that we haven't got a wedding here."

Jo said everyone at the Hundred House was looking forward to the return of larger weddings and without restrictions.

"We have had small weddings here as lockdown easing has allowed and every one of the couples have said how much they enjoyed their day and how special it was," she said.

The Hundred House ready for a wedding ceremony. Photos: Andy Li Photography

Jo added that even when numbers for weddings increased they were restricted by a venue's floor space.

"In the ceremony there had to be a clear metre in between rows and everyone, apart from the bride and groom, had to wear a mask, even through they were seated. Yet in restaurants customers have been able to take their mask off as soon as they sit down," she said.

"And of course, there has been no dancing and only background music.

"Now is it absolutely wonderful that guests can all get up and shake some moves on the dance floor and mingle with each other."

Jo stressed that the Hundred House was taking into account the wedding party's individual wishes about any restrictions they might wish to place and also guests who might feel a little anxious. Staff will continue to wear masks.

"We put up a marquee last year to help with restaurant and social distancing," she said.

"Now, during our weddings that marquee will act as a break-out room for people in between the ceremony and the rest of the wedding."

She said the restrictions had put a lot of pressure on the hospitality and wedding industry.

"There was definitely a heck of a lot more work and we had to take on more staff. When the number of guests at weddings went down, we had to have more staff to provide the table service."

The wedding team has been working tirelessly with couples, Jo added.

"There have been so much upset for them and even now they are having to compromise, maybe having to find different suppliers for their new date or have a wedding on a Thursday instead of a Saturday."

"But they are mainly grateful that their wedding can now go ahead."

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