Nurses wed in short-notice ceremony after ceremony was twice postponed

Third time’s the charm! Mental health nurses who had to postpone their big day twice dash to the registry office to wed before lockdown after being a given a day’s notice

  • Shona Watts, 28, and James Smith, 31, married each other yesterday afternoon
  • The mental health nurses married in a short-notice ceremony in Dorset
  • Their big day had been postponed twice before they were offered a new date
  • Most of the couple’s wedding guests watched the ceremony over Zoom 

Two mental health nurses arranged a short-notice wedding ceremony to beat the new national lockdown after they were previously forced to cancel their special day twice.

Shona Watts, 28, and James Smith, 31, who both work at St Ann’s Hospital in Poole, tied the knot in a last-minute ceremony yesterday afternoon.  

The couple only made the decision to get married on Tuesday, and Shona had been working at the hospital only three hours before the ceremony at Wareham Town Hall in Dorset. 

James, originally from Suffolk, said: ‘We were supposed to have a big wedding, about 96 people during the day time and another 30 or 40 in the evening, held in a big field near Corfe Mullen.

Shona Watts, 28, and James Smith, 31, (both pictured) married each other in a short-notice ceremony yesterday afternoon in Dorset

The couple both work as mental health nurses at St Ann’s Hospital in Poole

‘But obviously coronavirus happened. We then looked to have it next May, and then moved it to November 19 – but of course the restrictions came in.

‘Then the register office phoned up on Tuesday afternoon and said they had a slot available so we thought we’d just get it done.

‘So we got married at 4pm – even though Shona was actually working until 1.15pm.’

Wedding guests were invited to watch the ceremony over Zoom, which frustrated the bride and groom who had envisaged a larger wedding.

Shona and James had booked two previous dates for their wedding, with the coronavirus pandemic forcing them to postpone both of them

Shona said: ‘The whole situation was so frustrating and heart-breaking for a bride.

‘I always wanted a big wedding, but this year has made me realise it’s not all about a big showy wedding, it’s about marrying the person you want to spend the rest of your life with and sharing that with your closest friends and family.

‘I lost my dad in 2016, so it was an incredibly emotional day.’

To ensure her father still had a place in her wedding, Shona tied her father’s wedding ring around her bridal bouquet. 

The day after their wedding, James had a day off but Shona went into hospital for work

James said that having had two dates cancelled before mad him nervous ahead of his spontaneous wedding.

He said: ‘There were only a few of us – my dad, Shona’s mum, her brother, her mum’s partner, my best man and three bridesmaids.

‘As we had three cancellations I was waiting up until the last minute for this one to be cancelled somehow too.

‘The wedding was entertaining, I suppose, but it was really good.’

The day after their wedding James had a day off, while Shona went into work. 

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