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We had to cancel French wedding plans due to Covid-19

Covid-19 has led to so many changes of plans. A couple from the UK tell how they have had to put off the wedding festivities they had planned in France this spring.

After planning their French wedding for a year, Samantha Breedveld and James Ford, from London, ended up having to call things off less than two months before the big day.

Samantha, who works for the Bank of America, and James, a technology consultant, got engaged in March 2019 and had been planning to get married in May 2020.

Samantha said: "We love France and have spent many happy holidays exploring the wine regions, so what better place to celebrate a wedding?"

She has family members in Ireland and the US, and James has family in the US and the UK, so choosing France for the main celebrations was also a way of making the travelling fair.

"We were planning to get married in Cotignac in Provence and we had booked Château Robernier for the wedding.

“The idea was to welcome family and friends for a day of boating, and have a beach-club barbecue as well as the actual wedding day, so it was basically a family and friends holiday.

“We had organised villas and were coordinating flights for everyone. It wasn't just about us, we really wanted to show our families and friends how much we love them."

When the first reports of the coronavirus outbreak started, they did not think too much of it, but as reports showed how badly neighbouring Italy was affected, they began to be concerned.

"Then when we were on the point of going to France to do a final recce and sort the last details, James' parents, who were already in France, rang us and advised us not to travel and said they were flying home as soon as possible.

"That same weekend France closed all bars and restaurants, and I cried because I knew what it meant."

It was very disappointing for the couple, Samantha said.

"France closed down, then we realised that flights were being cancelled and our family wouldn't be able to travel from Australia, the Bahamas, the US, Canada or anywhere really.

“Then suppliers started calling us saying they couldn't do it, so we contacted the venue and they allowed us to shift to the same weekend in 2021 for no extra cost as long as we pay everything now."

The plan had been to have a very quick, plain legal register office service in London on April 25, travel to France the next day and then start the festivities on May 8, and have a spiritual blessing ceremony on May 9.

"All in all, we stood to lose around €35,000 euros in lost deposits and other expenses. The insurance wouldn't cover it."

Eventually the couple decided to try to move the register office date to May 9 in order to keep the same ‘wedding' date, but to enrich the ceremony and make it more meaningful

"It wouldn't be the same without everyone there, but what else can we do?" Samantha said.

However now, due to the UK's Covid-19 lockdown even that date is now uncertain, as all weddings are currently banned. However they still plan to go ahead as soon as they have confirmation that it is possible.

In the meantime, Samantha said they plan to exchange vows with each other on Post-It notes...

Their consolation is Jam, a puppy they had planned to adopt after the wedding.

"We're self-isolating so it's a good time to puppy-train, and he's really cute”.

Samantha added: "Our families have been really understanding and supportive, and have all promised to come next year.

“We are sad, and we are disappointed, but we feel good about spending 24 hours a day together.

“It has made us feel more than ever that this is right. We already feel more married, and in the end we don't care.

“All that really matters is that we're safe and healthy, and so are our families."

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