wedding - Joe and Alana

A young Wistaston couple arranged a wedding in just two hours – so they could tie the knot before the UK went into Coronavirus “lockdown”!

Key workers Alana Sandland, 27, and Joe Dunn, 26, were due to be married at St Mary’s in Wistaston on April 4.

But the couple, who work as teaching assistants in Crewe, realised this was in jeopardy as the nation headed for a lockdown during the COVID-19 pandemic.

Over lunch yesterday (March 23), they decided to try and bring the ceremony forward – and two hours later they were married!

Although not verified, they could be the last people to get married in the UK before the unprecedented “lockdown” put an end to wedding ceremonies for now.

Alana said: “We started planning and setting dates just over a year ago.

“The original wedding looked very different from what took place yesterday!

“We were due to have about 100 guests coming to the church (St Mary’s) and to The Hunters Lodge after for a wedding party.”

But instead, there were just five people – Joe and Alana, their mums, and Rev Mike Turnbull.

“With the Coronavirus stating to impact Britain more, a lot of changes were happening fast not only with our wedding but with work also,” Alana added.

Alana and Joe - wistaston wedding before lockdown

Alana and Joe

“Between March 16 and 22 we had had so many changes and news to digest, we had to minimise our guest list from the 100 we had planned to only immediate family, which was a very hard decision to make.

“Knowing that moving ahead we would have no songs, no bells, even the thought of walking alone down the aisle with no bridesmaids or someone to give me away, no best man it was so hard to make that choice, to our venue in limbo whether they were closing, car hire got cancelled due to self isolation.

“So everything was falling apart quickly. We had been in constant talks with Mike from St Mary’s who has been amazing through this whole situation.”

On Friday, they were called to say the church was only able to do the wedding with five people allowed in due to social distancing guidance.

“It was really hard,” recalls Alana.

“At that point we knew the wedding we had planned for so long was no more and we had to decide whether to go ahead or to postpone until everything had calmed down.

“Yesterday, myself and Joe were in work, I had a phone call from my Mum saying there was a possible lockdown imminent and was worried our wedding would be cancelled.

“Myself and Joe talked about moving it forward, we messaged Mike and he agreed and we decided that at 4pm on the 23/3/2020 was our new wedding date!

“It was definitely a spur of the moment decision!”

So everyone had just two hours to get ready before meeting at St Mary’s in Wistaston.

“Some of my friends from work rallied around and got me a bouquet of flowers (made that afternoon) and a wedding car (Ferrari) as a surprise to make the day even more special,” added Alana.

“We are definitely happy we made the quick decision to get married.

“We hadn’t really planned a honeymoon, but we would have had two weeks off at Easter and maybe planned a few days out/away. Thank goodness we hadn’t booked anything!”

Alana and Joe - wedding

“Thankfully, all the legal preliminaries were in place,” said Rev Turnbull.

“So at 4pm Alana and Joe and their two witnesses (mums) met with me at St Mary’s and they were married.

“It was a very different wedding to what they had planned for, but beautiful nonetheless.

“They have been a remarkable couple through all of this and what was lovely was there determination to get married, against all adversity.

Wistaston St Mary's Church and tower

Wistaston St Mary’s Church

“What was important to them was joining their love for each other together within God’s love.

“It was a first for me and something I thought I’d never experience.

“I’d spoken to older generations, especially preparing for funerals, who went through the Second World War who recounted stories like this, I never thought it would happen to me!

“I think Alana’s mum was in Sainsbury’s when she got the call that the wedding was now at 4pm today!

“Obviously we knew that lockdown was a real possibility and it was when not if, like everyone else we didn’t think it would be that evening.

“I can’t verify it, but they must be among the last people to get married in the UK in a church or anywhere for some time in the UK!

“It’s certainly a day we will all remember for the best reasons and for the uniqueness of it!”

(Images courtesy of Alana and Joe)

One Comment

  1. Congratulations, to you both,wish you every happiness, enjoy your reception when all this is over

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