Blackpool couple are going ahead with their wedding despite Covid restrictions

A Blackpool couple will tie the knot today despite a number of Covid-19 restrictions still being in place for weddings.

Sunday, 27th June 2021, 12:30 pm

The happy couple, Julianna So, 34, and Mike Stubbs, 35, will go ahead with their big day which has been set in stone prior to the first lockdown last year, and the pair said nothing will stop their wedding from going ahead.

The pair, who live on Oakleaf Way in Mereside, said they will be exchanging their vows, although they have postponed their reception and evening function until August.

They will both say ‘I do’ today at Staining Golf Club with 60 guests watching them.

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Mike Stubbs and Julianna So will tie the knot today
Mike Stubbs and Julianna So will tie the knot today

The date and place was their first choice and they had set the date the weekend before Boris Johnson announced the first lockdown on March 23 last year.

Julianna, who is originally from Hong Kong but has lived in the UK for 25 years, said: “We just want to get on it with and have no disruption at all. We are both looking forward to our big day as are all our guests.

“We put the deposit down for the wedding the Saturday before the Prime Minister made his lockdown announcement and while we were aware of the coronavirus, we didn’t think anything of it in regards to it disrupting our plans 15 months later.

“We count ourselves very lucky that we can still tie the knot on our chosen day. We have had friends who have had to postpone and I know four people who were due to get married last year and they have had to reschedule three or four times now.

A reception party and evening meal have been postponed until August for the couple

“However we both knew throughout all of this that no matter if there was going to be restrictions or not, whether we were going to get married at the golf club or at the registry office, we were still going to tie the knot on that date.”

The couple met in 2016 when Julianna started her new job as an administrator at Simpsons Skoda in Preston, where Mike was a IT manager.

Mike, who has lived in an around Blackpool all his life, has now started his own IT business but Julianna still works at the car dealership.

Julianna revealed how Mike never really properly proposed to her.

The pair said they wanted to marry no matter what the restrictions were

She said: “He bought me an engagement ring as my birthday present last January and just gave it to me as a present.

“He gave it to me in a box but the month beforehand Mike’s nan and grandad did let slip at the Christmas meal about how lovely my random piece of jewellery, which was my ring that I was just wearing.

“So they kind of gave the game away that they knew Mike was getting an engagement ring for me.”

With the wedding going ahead today, with the 60 guests socially distance, the pair have rescheduled their reception and evening function to August 21.

Mike said: “We’ve planned a lovely meal and a massive party in the evening but the most important thing we have always said was exchanging our vows and actually being married.

“So the party and everything else is a celebration afterwards and we could have that at anytime.

“ We did have to plan everything as if there was no restrictions and it was only up to the June 14, when it was announced that June 21 restrictions were not getting lifted, we just have to move the party and everything else to another date.

Julianna added: “The venue was saying to us that as there was no restrictions in place, they were saying we can’t reschedule at the moment even though it is a week before the announcement. We had to kind of plan it as if we were going to go ahead with it.

“It was very stressful, because we have to ring all the different suppliers and trying to find a date that everyone was able to accommodate.

“Luckily enough we got our rescheduled date but we’re having to pay extra costs.

“For example the caterers can do the meal for us but because they have other bookings already they don’t have all the equipment and crockery available so they’re having to hire extra ones from elsewhere and we’re having to pay for it.”

Mike said that another aspect about pushing ahead with their arranged date was getting all the guests together for the first time in 18 months.

He said: “It will be the first time in so long that grandparents are going to get to see the majority of their families together and it will also be the first time that my nieces and nephews will meet each other and my grandparents the first time they will see all their great grandchildren together so everyone is excited about it.”

Julianna explained how some of her relatives from Hong Kong are not able to make the wedding due to travel restrictions but she will have her mum there for the ceremony.

Afterwards, the couple are planning a weekend together at Ream Hills Holiday Park in Weeton before making plans for a proper honeymoon abroad in the future.

What are the guidelines for weddings?

Delays to “Freedom Day” on June 21 meant weddings must continue to follow social distancing rules, with minor changes - so what will ceremonies look like now for people like Julianna and Mike?

What are the main changes in a nutshell?

The 30-people cap on weddings was lifted on June 21, but venues are now being asked to limit numbers based on space and to enforce social distancing measures.

What are the new rules on numbers?

Guestlist limits will be determined by “how many people a venue can safely accommodate with social distancing measures in place”, according to the Government website.

Venue staff, bands, photographers and anyone else involved in the wedding must be included in the headcount, as well as guests of all ages. Organisers are required to complete a risk assessment or face up to a £10,000 fine.

The risk assessment should be carried out by the organiser and someone who can carry out the practical steps needed to enforce social distancing rules, which could include the couple themselves, according to the guidance.

What about weddings held in your own home or garden?

Weddings held inside private homes or “enclosed spaces” which are not formal venues are limited to six people or two households.

Only “deathbed weddings” - cases where one partner is seriously ill and not expected to recover - are exempt from this rule, and can host up to 30 people.

The Government has suggested that ceremonies held in private gardens may be able to host more people than those inside homes.

People planning to host their own weddings must complete a risk assessment to determine the number of attendees and follow Government guidance, which will be provided in the coming days.

What is still not allowed at weddings?

Communal singing, dancing and stand-up drinks receptions.

Dancing is advised against due to the increased risk of transmission, except the couple’s ‘first dance’.

What does this mean for post-wedding parties and evening events?

The Government guidance is for “wedding ceremonies” and “receptions”, so it is unclear what the rules are for after parties and related events.