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Joy for Hornchurch couple after wedding rearranged in just four days to beat coronavirus guest limit change

PUBLISHED: 07:00 01 October 2020

Callum Mitcham and his wife Rebecca after tying the knot in a hastily rearranged wedding at St Laurence's Church, Upminster, on Saturday, September 26. Picture courtesy of Callum Mitcham

Callum Mitcham and his wife Rebecca after tying the knot in a hastily rearranged wedding at St Laurence's Church, Upminster, on Saturday, September 26. Picture courtesy of Callum Mitcham

Callum Mitcham

A man has praised the “heartwarming” community response that enabled his wedding to be rearranged at short notice to beat the new limit on guests brought in by the government.

Callum Mitcham and his wife Rebecca after tying the knot in a hastily rearranged wedding at St Laurence's Church, Upminster, on Saturday, September 26. Picture courtesy of Callum MitchamCallum Mitcham and his wife Rebecca after tying the knot in a hastily rearranged wedding at St Laurence's Church, Upminster, on Saturday, September 26. Picture courtesy of Callum Mitcham

Callum Mitcham married his wife Rebecca at the Church of St Laurence in Upminster on Saturday, two days before measures restricting the number of people at weddings to 15 came into force.

He said they were “absolutely gutted” when they heard the announcement from prime minister Boris Johnson on September 22.

The couple, from Hornchurch, had already been forced to cancel their original plans for a wedding in May, with 120 guests set for Mulberry House in High Ongar.

They had earmarked a new date of October 25 and were about to arrange a licence for the date with Father Martin Howse when they heard about the new restrictions.

Callum Mitcham and his wife Rebecca after tying the knot in a hastily rearranged wedding at St Laurence's Church, Upminster, on Saturday, September 26. Picture courtesy of Callum MitchamCallum Mitcham and his wife Rebecca after tying the knot in a hastily rearranged wedding at St Laurence's Church, Upminster, on Saturday, September 26. Picture courtesy of Callum Mitcham

Callum said: “We were both upset, having already moved back our wedding once and changed all our plans again for October.

“I would have had to lose my best man who I have known for 29 years and grew up with together.

“After getting the news, we spoke to our parents and each other about our disappointment.

“I then remembered in our initial meeting with the church that they had mentioned about an emergency licence which you can sometimes get.”

Callum Mitcham and his wife Rebecca after tying the knot in a hastily rearranged wedding at St Laurence's Church, Upminster, on Saturday, September 26. Picture courtesy of Callum MitchamCallum Mitcham and his wife Rebecca after tying the knot in a hastily rearranged wedding at St Laurence's Church, Upminster, on Saturday, September 26. Picture courtesy of Callum Mitcham

Callum, who works in sports broadcasting, called St Laurence’s to see if the church was available for Saturday, September 26 - just four days after the PM’s announcement - which it was.

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Father Martin, a designated legal officer for weddings, said Reverend Susannah Brasier at St Laurence’s contacted him to see if arranging a common licence would be possible.

He explained this type of licence is for people who are unable to get their banns read.

Callum Mitcham and his wife Rebecca after tying the knot in a hastily rearranged wedding at St Laurence's Church, Upminster, on Saturday, September 26. Picture courtesy of Callum MitchamCallum Mitcham and his wife Rebecca after tying the knot in a hastily rearranged wedding at St Laurence's Church, Upminster, on Saturday, September 26. Picture courtesy of Callum Mitcham

Father Martin added: “Normally we would say this can take up to three weeks but we did it in three hours.

“I thought it might have been a long shot but we tried and we succeeded.”

Callum and Rebecca contacted family members to check if they were able to come at such short notice.

“Everyone luckily said yes,” he added.

Callum Mitcham and his wife Rebecca after tying the knot in a hastily rearranged wedding at St Laurence's Church, Upminster, on Saturday, September 26. Picture courtesy of Callum MitchamCallum Mitcham and his wife Rebecca after tying the knot in a hastily rearranged wedding at St Laurence's Church, Upminster, on Saturday, September 26. Picture courtesy of Callum Mitcham

“We then started phoning suppliers and reaching out to people in the community via Facebook to see who could help us out in such a short space of time. I must say the response was incredible and really heartwarming particularly in these times.”

He reserved special praise for Father Martin, who is based at St Augustine’s in Rush Green, as well as Revd Brasier and Father Roy Murray, from St Laurence’s.

Callum added: “We are so grateful to the church and for the help that Susannah and Roy gave us. They were massively supportive and accommodating throughout. They really did go above and beyond for us.”

The couple went for a two night break in the New Forest, Hampshire and hope to rearrange their original honeymoon plans for a trip to Las Vegas and Jamaica.

Father Roy said: “This was the first wedding at St Laurence’s since lockdown began.

“We were really pleased to help Callum and Rebecca and it was a happy and enjoyable day.”


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