Kate Dennehy and Richard Reed moved their wedding from April 2020 to August, keeping guests safe with a cleaning rota
Photography: Big Fish Photography
How was (if at all) your wedding affected by Covid-19?
Our wedding should have taken place on April 4, 2020 and we moved it to August 15, the reception moved twice. We should have had 70 guests in the day and 100 in the evening, but in August we could only have a maximum of 30 in the church (we ended up with 25 including us and the reverend).
The biggest difference was we catered the day ourselves and hosted it in our own garden. The hardest change was all the people we couldn’t have celebrate with us – but we were blessed that the majority were so understanding. We had one friend send us a pic of herself all dressed up ready to celebrate for us at her own home on the day. A couple who couldn’t come sent us some luxury hand sanitiser for the reception which was incredibly thoughtful and very 2020! We certainly hadn’t expected to be trying to find matching face masks for the wedding party!
Why did you choose to go ahead with the wedding with these restrictions?
We felt like we’d planned two weddings which hadn’t worked, so for our third we wanted to just make the most of whatever restrictions would allow us to do. We didn’t want to wait another year. From April to August it was really tough, as things kept changing and we realised things were getting worse rather than better. After the announcement early August saying receptions were off, we had to cancel the second wedding that we’d only just finalised that morning. That was really tough.
We decided to stick with the date and just cross our fingers, and luckily that paid off. The amount of planning we had to do really helped keep us distracted in that two weeks which helped reduce the nervousness.
Top of our mind though was all the people we loved would be in one place during a pandemic so we had to make sure everything was as safe as it could be. We did go a bit overboard with a lot of precautions, but everyone on the day said they felt really safe which meant everyone could just focus on the celebrations. I was nervous after the wedding in case someone did get ill, and when we hit seven days with no one having any symptoms it was a huge relief.
How was the ceremony?
Perfect. Seeing my family that I hadn’t seen since before the pandemic was a really special moment for me when I walked down the aisle.
Reverend Cathy had been with us every step of the way during the tough journey to make it down the aisle, and it was really special having her give the service after all the love and help she’d given us. We were all so relaxed during the service and the three of us couldn’t stop smiling. I’m sure the same could be said for the guests but we couldn’t see behind their masks.
Tell us about the reception
It was perfect. We’d planned everything to such detail that once the wedding had started, we could just relax and have fun. Having just our closest friends and family meant that no-one minded that there was a cleaning rota (better safe than sorry) and the few quirks to a pandemic wedding such as disposable gloves and a ridiculous amount of hand sanitiser. Many of our guests didn’t know each other, many had come without their partners (as we’d had to remove plus ones to get within the numbers) and were on their own, but actually we found very quickly that having a bit of a DIY garden party meant people were helping each other and laughing as they handed out prosecco and canapes (while gloved) and discussed who was next on the cleaning rota!
Tell us about your dress
I got my dress from Clare Bridal Studio in Bury St Edmunds It was a Kenneth Winston dress which I wanted to make some changes to so the amazing Terry Fox worked her magic by adding a beautiful lace back..
Did you have any evening entertainment?
No but one of our friends stepped in as DJ which helped get the party started. We did manage a few games of swing ball which was fun, even though no-one let us win because it was our wedding day!
Are you planning a party for all your guests in the future?
Not at the moment. It was such a perfect day, and to be honest after planning three different weddings I think we’re done for a while.
Any advice for couples facing the current restrictions and wondering if they should go ahead or postpone?
If we had known what we know now, I think we’d have postponed. If you have spent a long time planning your wedding and can’t imagine it being any different, I’d advise you to just postpone. You’ll save yourself a lot of stress. That being said, while there were many tears and differences in opinion, we wouldn’t change it for the world. But planning a wedding during a pandemic is no easy feat. The whole thing was filled with unexpected challenges. But it was definitely a good road test for marriage.
And do you have any advice for couples planning 2021 weddings?
Get really nice hand santiser would be my tip. We’ll be using it for a while and there is nothing worse than bad hand sanitiser. Plus, if you’re going micro, use some of the money you’ll save on a wedding planner. Our first call on the wedding day was to discuss bin bags – not the normal relaxing wedding morning. A planner would have taken all of that away.
Steal Their Style
Photography: Big Fish Photography
Ceremony Venue: St Peter’s Church, Henley
Dress: Kenneth Winston, Clare Bridal Studio
Wedding rings: Emma Greetham Jewellery
Hair: Karen’s Beautiful Brides
Groom’s outfit: Coes
Stationery: Polly Pickle
Flowers: Kersey Mill
Marquee: Suffolk Marquees