Nurses marry at last minute after wedding postponed twice due to pandemic

James Smith and Shona Watts arranged their nuptials in less than 24 hours prior to lockdown.

A pair of mental health nurses arranged a last-minute pre-lockdown wedding after being forced to cancel their nuptials twice.

Shona Watts, 28, was still on shift less than three hours before she married James Smith at Wareham Town Hall in Dorset on Wednesday afternoon.

The couple, who work at St Ann’s Hospital in Poole, only decided to get married the previous day after their original ceremony in May was postponed due to the coronavirus pandemic.

Mr Smith, 31, originally from Suffolk, told the PA news agency: “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.

“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.”

Guests watched the wedding on Zoom.

The new Mrs Smith 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.”

Shona Watts and James Smith
The couple married in front of a small group of friends and family (Madeleine Jones/PA)

Mrs Smith honoured her father by tying his wedding ring around her bouquet.

Mr Smith 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.”

Mr Smith spent the first day as a married man having a day off, while Mrs Smith, who is originally from Watford, returned to work.

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