Coronavirus: Couple’s joy at post lockdown wedding

Julia and Henry getting married
Image caption Julia Payne, 26, and Henry Matter, 34, got married on 4 July in Debenham, Suffolk

A trainee doctor who contracted Covid-19 has become one of the first brides to say “I do” since the ban on weddings was lifted in England.

Julia Payne, of Debenham, Suffolk, was working in A&E at Ipswich Hospital when she became unwell in March.

Although clear of coronavirus, she is still feeling fatigued 14 weeks on – but that did not stop her from walking down the aisle to marry Henry Matter.

The couple, who had been due to wed in May, said they were “very happy”.

Image copyright Julia and Henry Matter
Image caption Mr and Mrs Matter said getting married was about the “next step” in their lives together

As per the government restrictions, there were no more than 30 people at their wedding at St Mary Magdalene Church in Debenham.

The service was live streamed to enable those who were unable to attend to gather virtually with the couple.

Image caption The bridesmaids had to adhere to social distancing guidelines

There were also video recordings of readings and messages from friends and family.

Mr Matter said they were “thankful” to all their friends there and watching the live stream.

Image copyright Julia and Henry Matter
Image caption The couple’s wedding at St Mary Magdalene Church in Debenham was live streamed

The couple spent more than six weeks apart when Julia contracted Covid-19, as they did not live together.

As soon as Prime Minister Boris Johnson announced weddings could take place from 4 July, they started planning for the amended wedding date.

Image caption The happy couple said they were looking forward to having a “massive party” next year

Mr Matter, 34, from Ipswich, said: “It’s about our next life step, this is more about what we can do moving forward in life, we can live together, start a family.”

Image copyright Julia and Henry Matter
Image caption Julia Payne was able to have her father walk her down the aisle

Julia was able to have her father walk her down the aisle – without having to stay 1m plus apart – as she still lived at home.

However, other restrictions were closely adhered to with fewer than 30 people in the church and no singing.

When the Rev Susan Bates asked all the guests to vow to support the happy couple, she noted how they could not shout but encouraged them to respond “with enthusiasm”.

Kirstin Hamilton, who was one of the eight bridesmaids, said it was “strange” not to hug but it was a “wonderful, heartfelt service”.

After the ceremony, the couple enjoyed a small family meal with a larger gathering planned for next year.

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