News

Nurse couple marry on a day’s notice after lockdown scuppers wedding plans

Mental health nurses rush to arrange ceremony postponed due to COVID-19
Mental health nurses Shona Watts and James Smith pictured at their whirlwind wedding

Mental health nurses rush to arrange ceremony postponed three times due to COVID-19

Two mental health nurses enjoyed a whirlwind wedding the day before lockdown began on 5 November, having been forced to postpone the event three times previously.

Shona Watts, a ward manager at St Ann’s Hospital in Poole, Dorset, married James Smith, clinical lead for the hospital’s electroconvulsive therapy and physical health team, in a town hall ceremony in nearby Wareham. The couple rushed to organise a photographer, flowers and cake, having been offered a last-minute slot by the register office the day before.

Big ceremony was cancelled, as was a planned ‘secret wedding’

They had originally

Mental health nurses rush to arrange ceremony postponed three times due to COVID-19

Mental health nurses Shona Watts and James Smith pictured at their whirlwind wedding
Mental health nurses Shona Watts and James Smith in their wedding ceremony

Two mental health nurses enjoyed a whirlwind wedding the day before lockdown began on 5 November, having been forced to postpone the event three times previously.

Shona Watts, a ward manager at St Ann’s Hospital in Poole, Dorset, married James Smith, clinical lead for the hospital’s electroconvulsive therapy and physical health team, in a town hall ceremony in nearby Wareham. The couple rushed to organise a photographer, flowers and cake, having been offered a last-minute slot by the register office the day before.

Big ceremony was cancelled, as was a planned ‘secret wedding’

They had originally planned a big ceremony for family and friends on 2 May – a year after they became engaged – ‘but coronavirus came around and we went into lockdown,’ said Ms Watts.

A secret registry office wedding planned for 16 April, to mark her late father’s birthday, was also cancelled.

Ms Watts said they then opted to have a small wedding on 19 November, the anniversary of her father’s death, but this was scuppered by the second national lockdown.

Mental health nurses Shona Watts and James Smith pictured at their whirlwind wedding
The couple took a last-minute wedding ceremony slot offered by the register office

Ms Watts was at work the week before the latest lockdown began when the register office called to say they could do the wedding the following day.

‘I called James, who was also at work at the time, and he said let’s do it,’ said Ms Watts, who worked on the morning of her wedding day.

Wedding streamed lived on Facebook

Ms Watts said the ceremony, which was streamed live on Facebook, was fun and emotional. ‘I started crying but James couldn’t say his vows properly because he was laughing so much,’ said Ms Watts.

Mr Smith said: ‘I was surprised it was happening and that we’d managed to get it sorted in less than 24 hours. It was a whirlwind, but a good whirlwind.’

He had a day off the next day, but his new wife worked a full shift.

The couple, who are planning a marriage blessing ceremony next year, wanted to have their honeymoon in Cornwall, but that also had to be cancelled.

Ms Watts said: ‘It would have been nice to have a big day and all the recognition you get, but having it cancelled three times made me realise it’s not about the big showy wedding, it’s about marrying the person you want to be with.’


In other news

Sign up to continue reading for FREE

OR

Unlock full access to RCNi Plus today

Save over 50% on your first three months:

  • Customisable clinical dashboard featuring 200+ topics
  • Unlimited online access to all 10 RCNi Journals including Nursing Standard
  • RCNi Learning featuring 180+ RCN accredited learning modules
  • NMC-compliant RCNi Portfolio to build evidence for revalidation
  • Personalised newsletters tailored to your interests

This article is not available as part of an institutional subscription. Why is this?

Jobs