The first wedding ceremony has taken place at Chichester Cathedral since the COVID-19 lockdown began.
Sam and Catherine Harding were married in the Cathedral’s Lady Chapel by the Dean of Chichester, The Very Reverend Stephen Waine, on Saturday 25th July 2020 in front of a small group of close family and friends.
Sam has a close connection with the Cathedral, as he runs the Bell Tower Drop-In – an award-winning youth drop-in which launched in 2014, with its home in the basement of the Cathedral’s historic Bell Tower.
Reflecting upon their ceremony, Sam and Catherine said:
“The pandemic meant that we had to cancel two previous wedding dates. We had to wait three months from when weddings were permitted, as it wasn’t until July that you were allowed up to 30 people in attendance. We also moved the location from the Cathedral’s Nave to the Lady Chapel as we were unable to have all of 350 of our guests in attendance as planned. Instead, we decided to parade down East Street so that anyone who wanted to, could come and see us on our big day. Local shops sent members of staff out to give us freebie goodie bags and coffee too which was a lovely gesture of goodwill.
The wedding ceremony itself was so beautiful, elegant and intimate and the Lady Chapel was such a stunning and special place, as both Catherine and I come and pray there on occasion. The organ was stunning and filled the place despite not having people singing along. My 92 year old grandmother commented that it brought tears to her eyes. She had spent the last year doing physio after a severe knee operation so that she could walk down the aisle on the big day. We were sad not to have all of our guests there, but the smaller and shorter ceremony made it feel special and unique in its own way.”
The ceremony was also live-streamed to Sam and Catherine’s friends and family who were unable to join them on the day:
“We decided to live-stream the wedding as there were so many who were very disappointed not to be there. We also wanted the young people we work with to be able to see it, as we had originally invited them to attend the ceremony and so many were so excited to come. I believe the stream now has about 850 views!”