With hand sanitizers at the church entrance, guests on every other bench, and a rehearsal possible only through Face Time, it was a wedding the happy couple would not have planned.
But Lucy Johnston, 25, and her husband James Bone, 28, were happy only to be able to get married, only four days after getting the official go-ahead.
They married in front of 27 guests in the beautiful church of St. Michael and All Angels in the picturesque hamlet of Ingram in Northumberland National Park.
The father of the bride Steven was able to accompany her along the 12th century church aisle since he had previously been in his social bubble.
Retired vicar Rev Marion Penfold was authorized to marry the couple who live in Fawdon in the next valley.
There was applause from the family and congregation after Mr. Bone, a farmer, was officially authorized to kiss his new wife, who is in agricultural sales.
Before the wedding, Lucy said they had always pinned their hopes on a July 4th wedding date and made all arrangements in the hope that the rules would loosen over time.
Their fears increased as the date approached and Tuesday thought their chances were over, until the official guide changed.
He said, “On Tuesday we woke up, assuming we should have canceled everything, then we felt that it could go on and that it really changed our mood.”
Before the service, he said he was glad her father could give it away, explaining, “It’s such a relief as it will be a moment of nervousness.”
With so little time to prepare and the church still closed in the previous period, the trial was done via FaceTime.
And the social distance meant that only every other bench could be taken, with the vicar standing slightly farther from the couple during the service.
For Rev Marion Penfold, it was a privilege to be able to conduct the wedding ceremony for such a happy young couple, he said.
And he praised their patient love during the wedding service.
“I said to Lucy,” I’m afraid I don’t think the wedding can go on, “he said later.
“So we thought they could only have five in church, so there really wouldn’t be any family there.
“There were some tears on the ends of the phone.
“So as soon as we heard that the church could open, it was like there was a direct line for Lucy with all the calls.
“It arrived today and it was a privilege to be able to do it.
“It was such a whirlwind, it was really worth it.”
Guests stopped for hand sanitizer as they entered the church and there were no hymns because of the ban on singing in churches.
The vicar said she also regretted not having been able to embrace families, knowing some of them for years.
He praised all the guests for respecting the rules.
Penfold joked: “They are people I’ve known for years, so I could tell them if they didn’t adhere to the rules.”
The couple will hold a big party with a blessing next year so that all their family and friends can join them.