Newlyweds Natasha and Andrew Whitman say the Covid-19 pandemic did not spoil their dream day in December – thanks in no small part to staff at a Shropshire hotel.
The couple were married on December 5 at the four-star Mercure Shrewsbury Albrighton Hall Hotel and Spa, which is managed by Focus Hotels.
Natasha said: “Everyone at the hotel went out of their way to make sure our day was perfect.”
Natasha, 29, a retail supervisor, and sales manager Andrew, 33, have been together for six years, and half a two-and-a-half-year-old daughter and an eight-month-old son.
She said: “We decided to get married six weeks before the wedding. A week after booking it, we went into the second lockdown so we were unsure if it would go ahead, but we kept everything crossed.
“I was on social media one morning and saw an advert for the intimate wedding package at the Albrighton. I jokingly said to Andrew ‘look at this’. A couple of days later we went just to look at the venue and walked away having booked our wedding for six weeks later.
“We had been into town that morning and I had chosen my own engagement ring. We hadn’t even told our family and friends about our plans!
“When we went to meet Caroline at the hotel, to show us around, she put us at ease and made us feel so comfortable.
“Neither of us ever wanted a big wedding and a lot of fuss, so the 15-guest limit was perfect for us. We still had the people we care about most with us to celebrate our day.
“Yes, a few more people would have been nice, but it worked for us.
“We managed to plan and organise everything with Caroline five days before the wedding and did most of it over the phone of through email.
“She made sure everything was exactly how I wanted it and was so calm about everything even though we had such a short space of time to plan it.”
Natasha added: “It had been cloudy and gloomy all morning but the sun shone through the window just before the ceremony started and I told my dad ‘uncle Fred is looking down on us today’. My dad’s brother sadly passed away two weeks before we got married.
“The ceremony itself was perfect. The room had been decorated beautifully. Down to every little detail, it was perfect. With everything going on in the world, in that room it felt, just for a few hours at least, that everything was normal and we weren’t in the middle of a global pandemic.
“The food we had was amazing, all our guests commented on how much they enjoyed it.
“We stayed the night at the hotel and had kindly been upgraded to the Romeo and Juliet suite, which was a lovely surprise. The room was just amazing. The bathroom was bigger than the whole of the downstairs of our house!
“The day felt very intimate and we got to speak to our guests, which was important to me as many brides and grooms don’t usually get to actually speak to their guests on the day.
“We couldn’t have asked for anything else on the day. Caroline and her team made sure we had everything we needed, and we will remember our wedding day for the rest of our lives.
“We all felt very safe. All our guests were sat in their bubbles, and we had a lovely, intimate, perfect day.
“The staff at the Albrighton were brilliant. You wouldn’t have thought we had arranged everything in just a few days after being given the go-ahead after the lockdown restrictions were changed and we went into Tier 2.”
The hotel’s General Manager, Jennifer Sibbald-Wall, said: “I am so pleased that we were able to provide Natasha and Andrew with a memorable day.
“The pandemic has forced many people to postpone or change their wedding plans, and while people may not be able to have every aspect of their dream day as they would have wanted it, under normal circumstances, I believe – as we proved with Natasha and Andrew’s wedding – that we can still make sure that anyone who chooses to get married here will have a magical – and safe – day.
“It’s heartening to hear Natasha say such positive things about their day, and on behalf of the hotel I would like to wish her and Andrew all the very best for their married life together.
“We would be delighted to speak to anyone else who would like to discuss how we can make their day extra special, even during the pandemic.
“Like all hotels in the Focus group, we are totally committed to taking every possible step to ensure the safety and welfare of anyone who visits us, and our staff.”