It was to be a dream wedding with a gorgeous white dress, bridesmaids and traditional romantic walk down the aisle.
But the Covid-19 lockdown put a stop on marriages across Scotland and threatened to leave Joanna Beaton and her fiance Steve Delaney in despair. They had planned to marry on Saturday, March 28, but the Monday before their big day their celebrant warned them lockdown was looming.
So, with just a few hours’ notice, the couple changed plans and made a dash for the Registrars Office – and were married in a nearby car park wearing jeans and casual shirts.
The couple told their story as the easing of lockdown last week means Scots can now get married. Joanna, 32, a gaming company worker, said: “We were half way to Irvine to pick up our marriage schedule when we called our wedding celebrant, Maureen Kettle. She told us if you want to get married you have to do it today or put it off for up to a year.
“We agreed and I called my parents, Mary and William, in Uddingston to head to Irvine, to be our witnesses. My bridesmaid sister, Kerri Anne, was half way up a mountain in the north of Scotland and would never make it in time.”
The couple arrived shortly before 4pm and the ceremony took place in a car park near the Registrars Office. “We exchanged vows in the shortest ceremony ever and signed the documents on the bonnet of my mum’s car,” Joanna added.
With the clock approaching 4.15pm, they dashed back to the Registrars Office and handed in the documents. “The registrar said, ‘You’re the last couple to marry in Britain today. Congratulations!’”
Steve, 58, also a gaming company worker, added: “We just wanted to get married and that’s all that mattered.”
The couple celebrated with a cake from the Co-op and Joanna carried two bunches of flowers, bought from a bargain store en route. They will have a full wedding celebration at The Gailes Hotel in Irvine – their original venue – next March.
The couple, who both work on Malta, plan to return there once flights resume on July 15.
Wedding ceremonies can take place from June 29, but will have to be outdoors, limited to two extra households and a maximum of eight people will apply. The Scottish Government confirmed the celebrant or registrar will not count as one of the households.