Leigh couple Rhys Payne and Nicola Austin tie the knot at Eaves Hall

It was a race against time for Rhys Payne and Nicola Austin to tie the knot before the latest Covid-19 restrictions on guest numbers were introduced.

Monday, 19th October 2020, 3:45 pm
Updated Tuesday, 20th October 2020, 12:50 pm
Rhys and Nicola Payne. Photo: L&L Photography

The couple had originally planned September 27 for their big day, but the rollercoaster of restrictions and guidelines earlier in the year forced them to reschedule to early 2021.

However, by mid-September and with the ever changing rules, their new date in February was going to fall under newer restrictions that would last for six months - and would mean they could only have 15 guests.

So they decided to see if their original date, which was also the final date for 30 guests, was still available and whether they could pull it off in time.

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They were in luck - and had just five days to reorganise.

Eaves Hall in Clitheroe could still accommodate them and all their suppliers were free to make sure their day went without a hitch.

Rhys, a technical support advisor for Apple said: “I am very grateful to everyone who made it possible at such short notice, they were all amazing.

“As events in the country changed, so too did our expectations of what was possible.”

The couple, who live in Leigh but are due to move to a new house in Up Holland, met in 2018 through the dating website Tinder.

They moved in together and since then have renovated their first home.

When Rhys proposed, he took Nicola back to the places where they had their first, second and third dates. He popped the question in the same spot where they had their first kiss.

Their wedding day was a very special occasion for the couple and their families. More picturesEven though they had originally planned a much larger wedding, they loved the intimacy of a smaller gathering and the ceremony took place outside under the pavilion. A small reception was held afterwards.

Because of the need to quarantine, Rhys’s best man Martin Juska wasn’t able to attend as he lived in Slovakia.

Nicola’s two sisters, Gemma Taylor and Becky Simmons were bridesmaids and niece Kayleigh Handford was flower girl.

Nicola, 31, a cruise consultant, said: “We were really fortunate to get our original date back and the fact that all our suppliers were available.

“Our day was perfect from start to finish. If you would have told me last month that we would be getting married with less than 30 guests I wouldn’t have believed you.

“We originally planned a big wedding of about 90 guests but our lockdown wedding was so intimate and I enjoyed every minute.

Rhys, 29, added: “I had the best day of my life without doubt and am so utterly happy to be married to Nicola.” - its been a struggle to get here.

“Whilst we didn’t have the wedding we’d originally planned, our day turned out to be more wonderful than we could have imagined and with hindsight we now wouldn’t have changed anything.” PHOTOS: L&L Photography www.l-l-photography.co.uk 07825 350219

Those who made the day special:

Bride’s parents: Lynn and Chris Austin

Groom’s parents: Julie Ward and Colin Payne as well as step mum Karen Payne

Cake: Ebella

Suits: S&G menswear, Leigh

Pianist: Craig Elliott

Videographer: Lee Murad of Sofranc Films

Flowers: The Flowershop, Clitheroe

Decorations: Creative Hire

Make-up: Amy Lauren

Hair: Alice Rose Bridal

Dress: Wed2b Manchester, won through their weekly Facebook competition