Winsor Bishop operations director, Jessica Whitfield, dashed to the altar to get hitched as the church she was due to get married in announced it was going into lockdown.
The operations director of the Norwich-based independent jeweller received a call from her vicar on March 18 saying the church would be closing its doors at 6pm that day, with no date confirmed for reopening to perform marriages.
Whitfield, who was due to have a wedding with 200 guests on April 11, was then offered a quick service at 5pm on that day, provided the register was signed within an hour. She decided to take this option and dash to the altar with just 10 people as witnesses.
She tells national newspaper FeMail: “We didn’t want to lose sight of why we were getting married. We had prepared and looked forward to it for a long time and decided to go for it.
“Andrew had to dash home from the farm, throw a suit on and select and pack my dress, which I changed into at the church before the intimate ceremony in front of immediate family who were available.”
The ceremony was small, intimate and romantic – the church managed to get an organist last minute so the director could walk down the aisle.
“It lasted 30 minutes and we had a reception at a local restaurant, Gunton Arms, before that went into lockdown – and the reverend came too,” she continues to share with the paper. “We were the only table in the restaurant and the owners kindly found us a private room to stay the night in.”
The couple had breakfast as husband and wife the next morning and then she went into work as planned.
On her arrival at work today, Whitfield received a very warm and celebratory welcome from her colleagues at Winsor Bishop.
The jewellery store posted on Facebook: “TRUE LOVE CONQUERS ALL: Amid the chaos of the coronavirus, today we celebrated some much needed happy news. WB director Jess brought forward her upcoming nuptials with just 4 hours notice yesterday evening when they heard the news that the church would be closing!
“At 5.55pm, Jess & Andrew signed the register before the 6pm cut off after a small, intimate service. We wish them both a lifetime of happiness and love, from all of us at Winsor Bishop.”