A couple of frontline health workers from the British Isle of Jersey were forced to cancel their wedding because of the coronavirus pandemic, but they staged a "makeshift celebration" at work on the day they were due to tie the knot.
Paramedic Nathan Judge and his partner Charlotte Medcalf, both 27, were originally scheduled to marry last weekend, but ended up working at a hospital instead. To surprise his bride-to-be, health care assistant Judge arrived at Jersey General Hospital in his wedding jacket with a bouquet of flowers in hand.
The couple first got together five years ago, when Medcalf invited Judge to a going-away party thrown by her coworkers when transferred to the emergency department.
Romance blossomed, and two years ago, Judge got down on one knee and proposed to Medcalf while they were on vacation in Las Vegas.
They planned their wedding, and as lockdown restrictions eased throughout the island, they hoped they would be able to stick to the original date of Saturday, May 30. But then one of their suppliers pulled out, so they made the difficult decision to postpone.
"Because of the government's advice, we knew that we would have to cancel the wedding. It was gut-wrenching. We had spent two years planning the day," said Judge. "I didn't really think about it until the day before, but when we realized we had been due to be married the next day, we were really disappointed. I decided to make it special for Charlotte."
The pair gave each other cards and gifts before setting off to the hospital work, but then Judge planned a surprise celebration.
Unknown to Medcalf, Judge contacted the florist they had picked for the wedding and asked them to recreate her bouquet, as well as the boutonniere, he wore all day at work. Judge also contacted the wedding caterer, Jersey Kitchen, asking them to deliver what would have been their starter and dessert, for the couple to enjoy after work.
He took a break during his working day to go home and set out a nice table on their balcony, topped with flowers and champagne, to complete the surprise. He then put on his wedding jacket and went to pick up Medcalf at work.
"She loved it, there were tears of happiness in her eyes — that's how she described it," said Judge.
"Her work colleagues had put up pictures of us around, and we ate the same food we would have on the wedding day Then the maid of honor got all our guests to record a video message saying they were sorry they couldn't be there, and that they were looking forward to next year."
Local shop Sandpiper also sent out a basket with teas, coffees, candles and cakes in the shape of cakes reminiscent of the kind they chose for their wedding cake.
“It was lovely," Medcalf said. "I was taken aback by all the surprises — I don’t like surprises. I like to know everything. But it was really nice.”
"We have never had so many flowers in the house," Judge added. "It was really romantic. We had quite a nice day. It’s such a shame we couldn’t celebrate with family and friends."
The couple will now get married on May 30, 2021.