‘Last couple’ to marry in the UK before the lockdown reveal how they were forced to wave to their grandparents through the window and eat alone on a disinfected park bench
- Lauren Hallam-King, 28, and her groom Tom Hallam, 33, from Loughborough, Leicester, were due to hold their wedding reception today
- The couple had to cancel and were one of the last couples allowed to marry in a registry office before the lockdown was enforced the next day
- The duo had to wave to guests through a window and eat alone on a park bench
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A couple who are thought to be one of the last to marry before the UK lockdown have compared their wedding to an episode of Black Mirror – as they waved to their guests through the window and enjoyed their wedding breakfast on a park bench alone.
Lauren Hallam-King, 28, and her groom Tom Hallam, 33, from Loughborough, Leicester, had booked the date to tie the knot in front of 15 witnesses when they first started planning their wedding a year ago, with a larger knees-up planned for friends and family today.
But the couple were forced to cancel their reception just a week in advance – and were only permitted their parents and photographer to witness them say ‘I do’ on Monday.
Luckily Lauren, a hairdresser, and Tom, a salesman, who had worried their legal ceremony might be cancelled altogether, were thrilled to be able to tie the knot in their registry office – waking up to a UK lockdown due to the coronavirus the following day, Tuesday, as husband and wife.
Lauren Hallam-King, 28, and her groom Tom Hallam, 33, from Loughborough, Leicester, had booked the date to tie the knot in front of 15 witnesses today, but married alone in a registry – even donning facemasks for their wedding photos
The couple were forced to cancel their reception just a week in advance – and were only permitted their parents and photographer to witness them say ‘I do’ on Monday with Lauren waving to her grandparents through the window
The bride even managed to visit her grandparents to let them see her in her wedding dress – and posed for a picture with them safely behind glass so as not to be put at risk.
Rather than enjoy a traditional big wedding breakfast, the couple toasted their newlywed status with individually packaged food on a disinfected park picnic table on their own.
And now instead of enjoying a honeymoon in Italy as they’d hoped, the pair are eating cake in the sun in the garden – with their pet cat.
Lauren said: ‘It’s obviously lovely I’ve got my husband to weather the storm with.
‘It’s amazing to wake up everyday and know you’ve got your wedding photos. It’s just a daily little bit of happiness.
Rather than enjoy a traditional big wedding breakfast, the couple toasted their newlywed status with individually packaged food on a disinfected park picnic table on their own
‘To share that with family members is lovely. Obviously we’ve got this week off work and the sun is out.
‘I don’t suppose it’s the honeymoon many people think of. My sister went swimming with pigs, and we’re having cake in the garden with the cat.
‘But you know what, we’re together, we’re married, and we’re ridiculously pleased we were one of the last ones. I can’t believe it. We just didn’t know that we were the last ones.
‘You just feel so sorry for the Tuesday brides. We knew we were so lucky. We couldn’t have appreciated it any more. It was just crazy to have woken up in lockdown.
Luckily Lauren, a hairdresser, and Tom, a salesman, who had worried their legal ceremony might be cancelled altogether, were thrilled to be able to tie the knot in their registry office
Lauren was able to put on her dress at her parents’ house and do her grand reveal as a bride, by staying at the other end of the room to her mum and dad before posing for pictures in the park
‘We’re sort of equal measures lucky, unlucky, happy and still planning a wedding that was cancelled. We’ve got a little bit of everything. But we’re happily married.
‘It was a bit weird because obviously we got married and were obviously quite exhausted, so I went to sleep really early and woke up and we were in lockdown.
‘We were waking up into this weird ‘through the looking glass’ world. We felt so lucky to get under the radar.’
Tom, who is a sales advisor, said: ‘Even on the Monday morning we were checking the website for the registry office to make sure they were still going to be there and that we weren’t going to turn up to a locked door.
The couple are seen during their ‘Back to the future’ themed engagement shoot
The groom, who got ready alone, forgot his buttonhole after becoming distracted caring for the couple’s cat and was forced to borrow his mum’s – giving Lauren her only ‘normal bride thought’ when she noticed
‘It was quite nerve-wracking on the day up until we met the people there. I don’t think we were 100 percent on it happening.
‘This time last week we were still planning to have the big ‘do, and to have it pulled from under your feet a week away is a bit gutting.
‘Obviously we’ve got over it and got on with the Monday ceremony, and really enjoyed it.
‘We’re good. It’s weird we can’t go out for a meal or pop to anyone’s house who missed out, but we think that if we can get through this we can get through anything.’
Eschewing tradition due to not wanting to put her parents at risk, Lauren stayed in her own home the night before the wedding and woke up and got ready with Tom in the morning.
Lauren, a hairdresser, and Tom, a salesman, are seen during their ‘Back to the future’ themed engagement shoot
Lauren and Tom are seen in the registry office on Monday as one of the last lucky couples to tie the knot before th elockdown
But she was able to put on her dress at her parents’ house and do her grand reveal as a bride, by staying at the other end of the room to her mum and dad.
The groom, who got ready alone, forgot his buttonhole after becoming distracted caring for the couple’s cat and was forced to borrow his mum’s – giving Lauren her only ‘normal bride thought’ when she noticed.
Lauren said: ‘I spotted that his mum didn’t have a button hole and was like, ‘what’s happening’.
‘She had to donate her buttonhole to Tom because obviously he had forgotten his buttonhole.
The couple are seen during their ‘Back to the future’ themed engagement shoot
Lauren, who is a bridal hair stylist, was even able to provide latex gloves for the pair to eat their wedding breakfast after wiping down their park picnic table with Dettol
‘That’s the only normal ‘bride thought’ I had – ‘how has he forgotten his buttonhole’.
‘My mum was like, ‘Lauren, is this a normal bride thought? Oh my god, are you having a normal bride meltdown?’. It was so nice to have that kind of worry, it was actually really lovely.
‘I think getting ready was quite weird. We were keeping social distancing in mind and trying to eliminate risks as much as we could.
‘I did get dropped off at my parents’ house just so I could put on my dress, because obviously lockdown wasn’t in full force yet, and we did practice social distancing.’
She added: ‘Because of the layout of my parents’ house we were able to stay at different ends of the room.
‘Trying to zip my own dress up was really strange trying to get my hand round to do it. It was all the little things you don’t think about.
‘I’m a hairdresser which was a huge help, so I could do my own hair, but obviously I couldn’t have a makeup artist as that wasn’t appropriate.
By chance, the pair even met another couple at the park who were celebrating their 50th wedding anniversary and offered advice to the newlyweds
The bride even managed to visit her grandparents to let them see her in her wedding dress – and posed for a picture with them safely behind glass so as not to be put at risk and picked up their wedding present from the end of the garden
‘My mum and dad are lucky enough to have two bathrooms so they left one for me to use and for them to use.
‘I got changed by myself and I popped out for the grand reveal while they were at the other end of the room.
‘It was nice, but it was weird to have it in the back of my head that distance was involved. It was a bit like a Black Mirror episode at some points.’
The bride noted the strange conditions made her visit to show her grandparents her wedding dress feel like ‘full circle’ – as they had married during wartime themselves.
Lauren, who is a bridal hair stylist, was even able to provide latex gloves for the pair to eat their wedding breakfast after wiping down their park picnic table with Dettol.
By chance, the pair even met another couple at the park who were celebrating their 50th wedding anniversary and offered advice to the newlyweds.
Lauren and Toma are seen during their park work and believe couples getting married in 2020 will appreciate the smaller things more
The couple are seen posing in front of an apt street sign as they had a photoshoot on Monday before the lockdown
Lauren said: ‘I went to visit my grandparents, who had to stay behind glass, on the way.
‘It was so precious. We were absolutely crying. My grandparents were all dressed up suited and booted just to see me in my wedding dress.
‘The day as a whole was so happy and it was so lovely the photographer was there to capture that.
‘Our wedding is probably one for the history books. It’s a bit like a war-time wedding.
‘Funnily enough my grandparents did get married in the war, and my grandma wore not a dissimilar dress, so it has kind of come full circle. It’s all a bit weird.
‘After the wedding we decided to send our parents home to get a cup of tea because obviously there were no bars or restaurants open, and we actually went to the park in the village where we had our first date.
‘We packed a picnic box full of safe-contained little packets full of jammy dodgers, anti-bac wipes, gloves, masks.
‘We had a little picnic table just to help so there was another barrier between us and the table. We had gel to wipe down the table and had to antibac all the table and the seat and the hands.
‘There was just nowhere we could properly wash them. As another help we ended up eating from latex-ed gloved hands anyway.
‘As a hairdresser I used medical latex gloves to apply hair dye, so as it happens I’m well-stocked.
‘We ate our food with our hands, cleaned everything, Dettol-ed the bench, the poor photographer, each other.
‘There was an older couple who stayed well, well, well away from us but they were so interested in what we were doing.
‘We carried on taking photos and stuff, and as it happened it was their 50th wedding anniversary.
‘They were shouting across from us and saying it was their 50th, so we were asking for their advice. They were very sweet. They just wanted to watch us celebrate.’
Despite delaying their large reception until later in the year, Lauren claims she is grateful they were able to have their intimate ceremony and celebrate ‘what really matters’.
Lauren said: ‘I think 2020 brides are not going to sweat the small stuff like the years of brides before us.
‘As a bridal hairdresser, I’ve seen brides actually melt down over seating plans. ‘We’re going to realise we’re just so happy everyone is there it just won’t matter if things go wrong. You just appreciate the stuff that matters.
‘We had been planning it for about a year. I mean a year officially, but obviously I was about four [when I started thinking about my wedding].
‘We had the venue booked and all the suppliers booked and wedding dress fittings and all those exciting things.
‘All that fun stuff we were getting really geared up and excited about, just for it being an alternative kind of wedding – we certainly got that.
‘[Getting married] was a mixed emotion because obviously weddings are to be celebrated. Actually overall, it felt right because it felt intimate and it was so sweet that it was so small.
‘Then when we do have the massive knees up, everyone can enjoy it. Because we made the choice to have the photographer there, I feel like people can still enjoy it through those photos.
‘I’m not saying it’s an ideal situation, we would have loved our sisters and brothers as planned, but safety had to prevail.
‘Overall we were just so pleased to have our parents there. I don’t think I can get over that feeling. Even an hour beforehand we were thinking it could be taken away from us.’
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