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We were lucky enough to hear the stories of three wonderful couples who were planning to marry at Chelmsford wedding venue Ivy Hill Hotel earlier this year. Unfortunately, the coronavirus pandemic has meant these wedding plans have been put on hold. We share their stories with you...
Mark and Carol
Mark and I met 11 years in a quaint tapas Spanish bar in Rayleigh, Essex. I had lost my dear husband through lung cancer in November 2007 and found it difficult to go out with friends to socialise even after 16 months of him passing. However, one Friday evening my good friends took me out and that was where I met Mark. I dropped my handbag on the floor and he helped me pick up my things! We started talking as though I had known him for ages. At the end of the evening we exchanged numbers and then our journey together started.
For many years I didn't want to get married again (Mark asked me about three times) so after buying a house together and being very happy, I eventually said "yes" when we were in Turkey on a holiday. Life carried on and we hadn't made any plans for a date until Christmas 2019 When I presented him with a Xmas card "Will you marry me on Saturday 20th June 2020 at 12oclock at Brentwood registry office?" ( 20.06.2020) for some reason I liked the look of the date - it was a complete shock to him but luckily he said yes!
The next planning was the reception. We only wanted very close family to attend the wedding ceremony and we wanted a big party to celebrate with the rest of family and many friends. I contacted Ivy Hill Hotel in the new year and luckily it had a cancellation for our special day. I was so excited as it wasn't very long to wait - only five months. Then COVID-19 appeared in March and we had to postpone our wedding. We were both very upset as we were so looking forward to our big day that we had waited for so long. We then had to contact Ivy Hill Hotel and try to rearrange the date. The hotel was so accommodating with various dates we could choose and all the arrangements and plans could stay the same at no extra cost. We were both so happy and excited that our wedding could still go ahead on 17.7.2021 - albeit 15 months away!
Carol and Michael
We met at Farleigh Hospice in Chelmsford in January 2010 when we both attended the carers monthly coffee meeting. We soon became friends and found that we had similar ideas about trying to relax. Before long, the group looked to us to bring some humour to the meetings, which by the very nature of them was not easy.
Later that year Michael's wife died, and three months later Carol’s husband also died. Along with our families we supported each other and continued to keep in touch by telephone as neither of us wanted to interfere. In January 2011 Michael phoned Carol to see if she felt able to meet up for a coffee. That was the start of a friendship that has blossomed to the level we are at today.
We decided to get engaged in 2017 and then in 2019 we felt that the time was right to consider marriage. This is where the staff of the Ivy Hill Hotel were able to help and support us. We knew the hotel and its excellent reputation as we had lived in Chelmsford for many years. We needed help as so much had changed since our weddings in the 1960s! Charlotte and Libby talked us through the ways they could help especially as our guest list would be largely made up of senior citizens with some mobility problems. Nothing has been too much trouble and the wedding was planned for May 2020.
The lockdown has forced the event to be cancelled, which was the right thing, but for us it was incredibly sad. We contacted Charlotte, who did her best to console us by offering to do everything in her power to help and support us. The result is that the wedding is now re-planned for May 2021 - and everything in its entirety has been moved to the new date. Having had the worry removed we were then able to concentrate on letting our families and friends know about the new date. We are so grateful for the help and support of everyone at the Ivy Hill Hotel, which has helped to soften the delay.
Gary and Hayley
Our coronavirus wedding woes are thankfully now resolved, thanks to our wonderful wedding venue at Ivy Hill Hotel, Chelmsford. For the last 14 years, since having our two children, I’ve had a very clear image in my mind of what 16th July, 2020, was supposed to look like. I have spent the last 18 months planning it with precision and love, while each of our guests have been joining us in counting down the days to our big day. Then, on 23rd March, the government announced the Covid-19 UK emergency and put us all in lockdown.
Our first thought was for all the families who are losing their loved ones during this awful crisis. The pandemic felt like it came crashing down so fast, affecting us all in some way or another. My fiancé and I were furloughed immediately and lost 20% of our income, friends were losing their jobs and businesses were closing and losing income.
Our wedding had been fully paid for and everything was in place, but plans had to be put on hold and we just had to sit tight and hope for the best. With only a few months to go until our big day, coronavirus still escalating, the realisation was dawning on us that our wedding day may not go ahead. Our venue had been keeping in touch with any developments and we discussed the possibility of moving our day and thankfully, they were more than accommodating. Ivy Hill Hotel were brilliant and had arranged for our wedding to be moved to the Spring next year on 6th May, 2021, and we are hoping all of our family and friends can join us safely next year, without the fear of safety and social distancing on a day that should be filled with love and togetherness. We will still celebrate our non-wedding day this year ‘in sickness and in health’ and we look forward to saying ‘I Do’ and celebrating our official vows and at Ivy Hill Hotel.
To find out more about this Chelmsford wedding venue, visit www.ivyhillhotel.co.uk