COVID-19: nurse and doctor marry in ‘surreal’ wedding at their workplace

Couple tie the knot in hospital chapel after wedding plans were scuppered by the pandemic

Jann Tipping and Annalan Navaratnam's ceremony at St Thomas' Hospital chapel, London 
Picture: Rebecca Carpenter Photography

A nurse and a doctor forced to cancel their wedding plans due to the COVID-19 pandemic have married at the hospital where they work instead.

Guy’s and St Thomas’ NHS Foundation Trust band 7 ambulatory clinical nurse specialist Jann Tipping and acute medical registrar Annalan Navaratnam were married on 24 April at St Thomas’ Hospital chapel.

Summer wedding cancelled due to pandemic travel fears

The couple had planned to marry in August in London but decided to cancel the arrangements as they worried their families would be unable to travel safely from Northern Ireland and Sri Lanka.

Rather than postpone the event, they arranged for the ceremony to go ahead with the trust’s head of spiritual healthcare Rev Mia Hilborn and two witnesses, one of whom live-streamed the wedding for guests to watch from home.

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Ms Tipping said: 'St Thomas’ is such a special place to us both, and especially to me, having been here for the past six years.

‘Now there is an extra reason why it’s so important to us.’

She added: ‘It did feel surreal getting married where we work, and in a hospital.’

Hospital chaplain ‘thrilled’ to support staff on their big day

After the ceremony, the newlyweds hosted a virtual drinks reception, with their first dance and speeches for their guests, to whom they had previously sent champagne.

Dr Navaratnam said: 'We’re so happy that we have been able to commit ourselves to one another and that the hospital has been able to support us to do that.’

Ms Hilborn said chaplains were striving to offer as much support as possible to staff during this challenging time.

‘We know how upsetting it is to need to delay big celebratory events such as weddings so we are happy to talk to any staff members who need to postpone their plans to see how we can help,’ she said.

‘It was a lovely service and I was thrilled to be part of it.’

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