Original Wedding Date : 11th April 2020

Second Wedding Date : 14th April 2021

Wedding Status : Due to be married 16th August 2021

At the outset of our journey, one of the things that was really important to us was finding a venue that felt like a second home, offered a two-night stay and also had the wow factor – a very difficult combo to find. From the initial phone call with Wendy (Head of Weddings), who excitedly invited us for a show around, we were totally sold by her warm and genuine manner – you just knew that she cared. We remember driving to Ellingham for the very first time and Leanne had actual goosebumps – for those who have not physically been to visit and take a look around – you must! The building itself looks so grand and right out of a fairytale. Once you walk inside it is so inviting, on trend and utterly amazing. We sat down with Wendy and as soon as she started talking to us we knew it was the one. Yes, you need to love the venue itself but the staff are equally as important. We just knew Wendy and her team would take us under their wings and ensure our day was as perfect as we wanted it to be. Plus it really felt like our home – we can’t describe the feeling but are sure all of you other Ellingham couples will know what exact what we mean.

If we are honest, in 2020 we had a gut feeling around February time that something wasn’t right – other countries were going into lockdown, people were scared and there was something in the air that pointed to the worst happening. When Boris announced the March 2020 lockdown we lost all sense of rationale – we were in shock, we didn’t know how to cope, what to say, how to act and ultimately what was going to happen with our Wedding and the World. We remember feeling guilty of mourning our big day as so much was happening around us, but we eventually came to the realisation that we were allowed to do that. We had planned for so long and invested so much time for our day that was snatched from us (like thousands of other couples). Every possible question went through our heads; What if our family are impacted? Will guests lose their money from accommodation booked nearby? Will there be any other dates available for us? Will we lose our money? Will Ellingham help us? Initially, we were fearful or our wedding, but also Ellingham for its business and its staff and their safety and welfare. The team worked so hard to ensure we had another date and continue to care deeply about all of their couples who become part of the Ellingham Family.

Once we were over the initial shock and moved our date to April 2021 (and after a few months of eating gallons of Ice Cream) we finally had new heads on our shoulders. Yes – it was not going to be the day we had always dreamt of, but it would be amazing and safe no matter what. If we are honest we had in our minds that we would not settle for less than 30 guests to attend the day and at the time we hand on heart believed come April 2021 would be totally normal… how wrong we were! Nonetheless we adapted… Leanne more so than Joel, had so much fun thinking of ideas to make mundane objects such as the sanitisers as ‘Weddingified’ as she could. We bought perfume bottles which were personalised and filled with sanitiser to hand out to guests upon arrival, ‘pimped up’ face masks and even had individual guest games packs for each table (as we were preparing for no Live Music or entertainment). There were so many ideas flying around of how to make the day as fun as possible and somehow ‘Covid’ bingo and sitting musical statues even made their way on to the list! We knew that no matter what happened we were determined to make the day as memorable and as personal as we could – we simply had to!

The second move of our Wedding date to 2022 was so seamless and every member of the Ellingham Team have made us feel positive and excited all over again as they knew how hard of a decision it was so move our day out a second time. Ellingham adapted with the situation we were in and surpassed all expectations – even using the time to update the hall and make changes which we can’t wait to see. We have heard of so many horror stories regarding couples and their venues during this time and our hearts really go out to them – it’s adding an additional element of stress to the already massive ‘Wedding Stress’ we all face when organising our big days. The Ellingham team know how we both feel about them and we can-not WAIT to celebrate our big day there.

On to date number 3….first and foremost, if date number 3 doesn’t go ahead we have decided to move planets! Joking aside, we can’t describe it – it’s like we have started planning our wedding all over again but with a lot less stress attached (Leanne has also become less of a Bridezilla which was required). When we think back to March last year, it was so much scarier than it is now; we thankfully have more knowledge a year later and the vaccine is being rolled out quickly. We have high hopes for the upcoming months and Weddings (big or small) are going to return to a state of normality. Us COVID brides and grooms can handle anything!

We can’t wait to see if all of our friends and family together. All laughing, hugging, chatting, and appreciating each other’s company. We are sure for most people this pandemic has been an awful time in regards of seeing friends and family and especially when concerning those most vulnerable who have had to shield pretty much all year. How amazing will it be to see them surrounded by the people they love and witnessing us all finally getting married. If COVID has taught us anything it’s to not take the little things for granted and oh how we will celebrate with everyone on the day. Watch out Ellingham we are ready to PARTY!

Is there any advice you’d give couples reading your story and going forward?

We have said this for a long time, each and every one of us are different. We have different values, priorities and orders of importance when it comes to elements of our Wedding Days. There is no right or wrong answer in all of this, but you must go with your heart because remember in all of this, these memories will stay with you for lifetime and you do not want to live with any regrets! Our biggest advice is to roll with the punches as much as you can and embrace every situation you find yourself in.

August 2022 – we are coming to get you!