“I guess we could have postponed,” said Lucy, “but we didn’t want to – we just wanted to get married, so we waited to hear when the next chance would be in the UK, and then go for it. When the news came that weddings in the UK could happen again, we made a quick decision to marry in church, and we had just two months to get ready for the date.”
The couple booked to marry at St Mary’s with St Alban’s church in Teddington. They initially met the vicar, the Revd Joe Moffat, on a Zoom call.
“Because we were working to such a tight timescale, Joe told us there wasn’t enough time for having the banns read, but we could apply for a Common Licence instead – the paperwork was different and we had to go and see a legal official to swear an oath, but it was all fine,” said Tommy.
Next, the couple decided on the guest list. On the date the wedding was booked for, a guest list of 30 was permitted, but both Lucy and Tommy had large families, so they made the difficult decision of keeping it pared down to just six guests.
Tommy said: “It was just too difficult to decide who from the wider circle of family and friends we’d invite, so we just had our very closest family there. We’ll do a bigger celebration when that’s allowed again, maybe on our anniversary, so everyone can celebrate with us properly.”
Soon afterwards, the couple had a socially distanced meeting with Joe in the garden to talk through the meaning of the vows as part of preparing for the ceremony.
“I think this was the moment that it really struck us what we were committing to,” said Tommy. “We’d not planned to marry in a church, but Covid made us realise what a special place it is for a wedding. Lucy was christened at the church as well, and we’d got other family connections with it, and that made it extra special.”
Lucy added, “Joe gave us some ideas for the ceremony and then we filled in the gaps with ideas of our own. We found yourchurchweddng.org useful for choosing hymns and readings.”
On the day itself, Lucy remembers things were busy beforehand. There was lots of activity at Lucy’s house with flowers and getting ready. Tommy arrived in church first and remembers how calm everything felt.
“Even though I was really nervous beforehand, I calmed down once I was in the church – it’s a got a lovely atmosphere. I also think it helped that we’d met Joe a few times beforehand and got to know him a bit. We were happy and comfortable with him,” he said.
When Lucy arrived at the church, she found Joe waiting outside for her. “I remember taking a deep breath and thinking ‘here we go!’.”
Because Lucy’s dad was in a nursing home, her mum walked her down the aisle: “When I walked in, I looked ahead and the first thing I saw was Tommy’s face beaming away!” she said.
Tommy added: “I’ll always remember that day, even though it went by so quickly. We were saying the vows and we just forgot about everyone else, it’s just you two. After that, we just really enjoyed the rest of the service.”
Although singing wasn’t permitted due to pandemic restrictions, the couple had a Spotify playlist that was played from a laptop with surround sound. Tommy’s dad and Lucy’s brother-in-law did the readings.
Lucy said: “The church has a big stained-glass window that Joe told us faces Galilee. When we walked into that bit of the church near the end of the service, it felt like a moment away from everyone else, a peaceful moment, with the beautiful window there above us.”
The couple said they expected to stay in touch with Joe and hoped to go along to church services sometimes, when they’re possible again.
Tommy added: “I think if we ever have children, we’d like them to be christened at our wedding church.”