A COUPLE due to be married in March days after national lockdown faced missing out on their big day at the last-minute again when the firebreak was announced.

It looked like lightning was set to strike twice for doctor Claire Elizabeth Clarke and her husband Richard last weekend.

The couple, from Llanfrechfa, Cwmbran, were supposed to have tied the knot at Cefn Tilla Court, near Usk, on March 28 in front of 120 guest.

South Wales Argus:

Claire and Richard enjoying their big day. Picture: Capture the Moment Cwmbran (www.ctmphotos.co.uk)


Their plans were thrown into chaos when the lockdown due to Covid-19 was announced just five days before.

The devastated couple, who met online in 2017, set about re-arranging their wedding day and re-scheduled the celebration for Saturday, October 24 with a reduced guest list to comply with Welsh government restrictions.

South Wales Argus:

Claire with her four-year-old nephew Oliver Hill. Picture: Andrew Cowderoy

But it appeared their ceremony would be spoiled once again at the 11th hour when Cardiff Bay declared the firebreak was to come into force at 6pm on the Friday before.

Undeterred, the pair, with the help of their wedding suppliers and the venue, were able to get married at Cefn Tilla Court’s Great Hall in front of 21 guests, followed by a reception in the marquee just hours before lockdown began.

South Wales Argus:

Claire’s brother Iain Hill plays the bagpipes. Picture: Capture the Moment Cwmbran (www.ctmphotos.co.uk)

Claire, 34, a doctor in the maternity unit at Cardiff’s University Hospital of Wales, admitted: “We couldn’t believe after our disappointment in March that it was going to happen all over again. We were really frustrated.

“But thanks to the wonderful people at Cefn Tilla Court, the wedding suppliers, photographer and everyone involved, we had a wonderful time.

South Wales Argus:

The happy couple were blessed with a beautiful autumn afternoon. Picture: Capture the Moment Cwmbran (www.ctmphotos.co.uk)

“It was a lovely and sunny afternoon and really relaxed and happy day.

“The venue can cater for 150 people but we filled it nicely. My little nephew Oliver, who is four, ran around entertaining everyone and he knows how photogenic he is.”

South Wales Argus:

Richard with his 14-year-old son Jay and Claire. Picture: Andrew Cowderoy

The wedding had a Scottish flavour to it as Claire is from Easdale Island, the smallest permanently-inhabited island of the Inner Hebrides, with a population of just 64.

Richard, 36, a steel fabricator from Cwmbran, wore a kilt and his brother-in-law Iain Hill played the bagpipes after the couple were married by a registrar.

Claire said: “Everything had to wrapped up by 6pm to comply with the regulations and we had the taxis booked for 5.30pm. We were home by five to six!

South Wales Argus:

Young Oliver made a big impression on the day. Picture: Andrew Cowderoy

“But it didn’t feel rushed or we didn’t feel we had to go. We really did have a wonderful wedding.

“The honeymoon is on hold of course. We were supposed to go to Thailand in April. We will go away when we can but who knows what the post-Covid world will look like.

“We’ve spent the last few days watching a few movies and going for walks.”

The wedding photographs were taken by Capture the Moment Cwmbran, the flowers were by Lottie at the Bloomroom in Monmouth, the cake by bridesmaid Nicola, hair and make-up by Bridal Beauty Wales and the caterer was EJ Catering in Cardiff.