Meet the first Liverpool couple to have a church wedding since lockdown
4 years ago
It isn’t the wedding they’d planned in April, but when Hayley Collins and David D’Arcy walk down the aisle tomorrow they’ll become one of the first couples to tie the knot in the UK since lockdown began.
And Hayley says: “We are every bit as excited.
“I get to marry the man I love, and we are just so happy it’s finally happening.
“It’s not the wedding we’d spent months planning – we’ve organised this is just over a week – but we are delighted. It’s a celebration of our love and it makes our family complete and that’s what really matters.”
Along with their 27 guests Hayley, 41, who teaches psychology, sociology and religious studies at St Hilda’s Church of England High School, and David, 43, a reefer co-ordinator for Sealand-Maersk, will have to sanitise their hands as they enter St Anne’s Church in Aigburth and keep themselves at the regulatory distance from the majority of friends and family, and vicar, Rev Ian Greenwood.
Many of the original guests will be unable to attend and there’ll be no singing – so the choir won’t be there but Hayley’s friend, Liz Kaddour, will accompany them on the guitar as they walk up the aisle with Savage Garden’s Truly Madly Deeply.
“It won’t be the wedding that we wanted but in the circumstance s that’s understandable,” says David. “My parents can’t and won’t travel from Ireland where I’m from, as they’re in their 70s, and I wouldn’t want to put them in a situation that potentially puts them in harm’s way.
“But Hayley’s mum and dad will be there, and we will have mine over to see us as soon as we can.”
Hayley and David, from Old Swan, Liverpool, were due to get married on April 4 with around 50 guests present to witness them exchange their vows and enjoy their wedding breakfast, and 50 more to join them for the evening reception.
But all that changed as Covid-19 hit.
Hayley says: “We’d spent a long time planning the big day down to the little bows that tied around the little jam jars to go on the tables, but then everything slowly unravelled. First we were told we couldn’t have our honeymoon, then that we’d only be able to have about five people at the wedding, and then that it wouldn’t be happening at all.”
“At first we were disappointed,” says David. “We were very upset at the time, but as the virus took hold and we realised how bad it was, we accepted it had to be done, that the wedding had to be cancelled.
“Yes, it affected us, but it affected more people a lot worse.”
“At the time about 1,000 people a day were dying,” adds Hayley, “so we couldn’t feel sorry for ourselves just because we weren’t getting a wedding.
“And, on the day itself, we made Tik Tok videos with the kids (the couple have three children, twin girls, Livia and Maya, four, and nine-year-old son Jonah), did dances in the park and came home and had a glass of fizz.”
Hayley and David will finally exchange their vows tomorrow at 10am with 27 invited guests.
“It was such short notice that the guest list took care of itself with a lot of people working or unable to get childcare and so they couldn’t come, along with those who were unable to travel from Ireland,” says Hayley. “Others were originally coming from afar too and staying in hotels, so the list narrowed itself down, and pretty much fell into place.
“We are going to have to sanitise our hands as we go into church and be distanced from guests, with seats appropriately spaced out, and from the vicar. He isn’t going to be able to bind our hands together as he normally would.
“We’ll also have to sanitise our hands again before we sign the register, but that’s a tiny price to pay to be able to get married. We won’t be wearing masks.”
There will be no reception after the service but Hayley says: “We are going to get some plastic glasses and stand everyone in an orderly queue in the church car park and raise a toast with Prosecco, and David and I will have our first dance in the church hall to Ed Sheeran’s Thinking Out Loud.
“Then me, David, the kids and my mum and dad are going for lunch at Allerton Golf Club which will be lovely. We get to sit down and eat – at one point I thought we’d be grabbing fish and chips to take home.
“And, in April next year, 12 months to the day we were going to get married, we will be having a celebration, our belated reception when everyone we wanted to be there will be there, and hopefully all this will be over and we will be able to give each other a hug.
“Yes it would be wonderful to hug and kiss guests at our wedding,” she smiles. “But I’ve got really good at blowing kisses.
“We just wanted to get married as soon as we could so the minute Boris announced weddings could take place again we got in touch with the vicar.
“David and I are just delighted we are getting married -and so are the kids, the girls who are bridesmaids – or ‘princesses’ – and Jonah who will be best man in his new suit.
“You never know what is around the corner. We are so delighted to finally be getting married and I will be Mrs D’Arcy. The word disappointment doesn’t come out of my mouth, we are both just excited and overjoyed.”
NOTE: The wedding takes place at St Anne’s Church, Aigburth, Liverpool on Sunday, July 5 at 10am.