Gloucester couple celebrate virtual wedding thanks to the kindness of people they'd only just met
A couple from Gloucester celebrated what should have been their wedding weekend with a very special virtual ceremony, full of touching surprises, organised by people they'd only just met.
Like thousands of couples across the country, Amy Chapman and Pete Butler had to put their wedding on hold because of the coronavirus pandemic.
But thanks to the kindness of people Amy had only recently got to know they were able to have a day they'll always treasure regardless.
It featured a trumpeter, a song written and performed by the groom and a performance from a singer many will recognise from a well known advert!
Amy, 31, and 36-year-old Pete both work in the hospitality industry - at Gloucester's Hallmark Hotel. They were both furloughed once the lockdown began.
The week before their planned wedding date, Amy was on a course training to be a wedding and funeral celebrant. Part way through the course she got some terrible news.
A close friend had died from coronavirus and for a while Amy wasn't sure she'd be able to complete the course. But she did, and revealed to her new friends her own wedding had been due to take place on Saturday.
Unknown to her, they then hatched a plan to stage a virtual ceremony for Amy and her partner Pete.
Amy said she and Pete had been planning their wedding for two years. She explained that it could have been a really miserable day for the couple, "on Saturday we would have just sat around feeling sad if it hadn't been for this."
The ceremony was led by Stuart Morris, director of the Institute of Professional Celebrants, the organisation Amy had been training with.
He explained how many of those involved had been up all night preparing the ceremony and said, "we welcome you all to probably the most epic Saturday afternoon being had by anybody anywhere in the world, this is going to be so much fun!"
And for Amy and Pete what followed certainly lived up to that hype.
There were musical performances, readings and speeches from family, friends and all of Amy's fellow recently trained celebrants joined to help lead the occasion.
Amy and Pete also made promises for the time between now and their real wedding, there were even rings exchanged - Haribo ones!
There was one final performance left, from the world famous opera singer Wynne Evans who many will recognise from the Go Compare adverts. He had also been on the celebrant training course with Amy.
His rendition of Ivor Novello's 'My Life Belongs To You' brought the ceremony to a close.
Amy says she and Pete will now be inviting all her fellow celebrants to next years wedding reception as the pair were so moved by their efforts.
It may not have been the day they had planned, but it will certainly be one they'll never forget.
You can watch the virtual ceremony below, courtesy of Amy and Pete and the Institute of Professional Celebrants: