A couple whose dream wedding in Spain was cancelled six weeks before the big day were thrown a surprise lockdown ceremony at the care home where they work.
Care home manager Lisa Sellens and senior care assistant Shane White, both of Southampton, had been saving for a year to afford their £5,000 nuptials in Cala Millor, Majorca on June 22.
But it was cancelled because of the coronavirus pandemic and after an upset Lisa, 31, mentioned it to her kind-hearted colleagues at the Woodlands House care home, they decided to organise a surprise do for them there instead.
Lisa – who was wearing a face mask – was walked up the aisle by 92-year-old resident Harold while Alma, 86, acted as mother of the bride in front of 20 cheering guests and masked colleagues.
Another resident, Sheila, played the role of vicar in the unofficial ceremony and read out amusing vows written by activities manager Jo, before the couple exchanged edible rings.
A couple (pictured above) whose dream wedding in Spain was cancelled six weeks before the big day were thrown a surprise lockdown ceremony at the care home where they work
Care home manager Lisa Sellens (pictured right with resident Harold) and senior care assistant Shane White (pictured together left, listening to their vows), both of Southampton, had been saving for a year to afford their £5,000 nuptials in Cala Millor, Majorca on June 22
Ahead of the party, a shocked Shane, 31, was told to clean the gutters with the maintenance man while Lisa was whisked to a resident’s room where a wedding dress, veil, and handmade bouquet were waiting.
Then the couple were taken to their transport – bride and groom wheelchairs – and whisked to the front of the care home in the New Forest for the surprise red carpet ceremony.
Afterwards, everyone celebrated with champagne and a three-tiered wedding cake complete with icing figurines of the couple, all made by volunteer Karen.
The couple’s (pictured) big day was cancelled because of the coronavirus pandemic and after an upset Lisa, 31, mentioned it to her kind-hearted colleagues at the Woodlands House care home, they organised a surprise do for them there instead
Lisa and Shane with staff members following their unofficial wedding, set up at the care home where they both work
To top it all off the newlyweds even performed a first dance to Dirty Dancing’s I Had the Time of My Life – and even managed the lift at the end despite never doing it before.
‘I was devastated when my wedding was cancelled,’ says Lisa in an exclusive interview. ‘I’d spent a year saving up and organising absolutely every detail.
‘I then had to rush around to reorganise everything for next year and was stressed out because Spain was no longer available, and so I had to go for Turkey instead. I was a bit grumpy at work over it all, and mentioned it to some colleagues.
‘They all seemed very busy after that but I had no idea why. On the day of the surprise, I even noticed that all the guests were wearing their best clothes and the women had all their jewellery on.
The loved-up couple in their wedding day finery with bridesmaid Joan and pretend vicar Sheila (pictured centre right)
Another resident, Alma (pictured centre), 86, acted as mother of the bride in front of 20 cheering guests and masked colleagues
‘I had no idea they’d all dressed up for our wedding. I felt a bit silly afterwards. It was so kind of them and everyone had gone to so much trouble. They’d even had a full rehearsal without me or Shane noticing anything.’
She added: ‘One of the residents, Alma, played the mother of the bride, Harold walked me up the aisle – something that he’d never been able to do because he lost his child.
‘I was nearly crying but luckily Sheila, the vicar, had some hilarious vows, which meant I kept it together. We had a toast and laughed at the speeches.’
Shane and Lisa, who have been together 14 years and have two children 11-year-old Rylee and Skyla, eight, even had a first dance.
Shane’s best man Jack (seen centre) pictured with the happy couple following their unofficial ceremony at the care home
Afterwards, everyone celebrated with champagne and a three-tiered wedding cake (pictured) complete with icing figurines of the couple, all made by volunteer Karen
‘They put on the Dirty Dancing song I’ve Had The Time Of My Life,’ Lisa says. ‘All the staff and residents had gone to so much effort that it was only fair that we attempted the lift at the end. We’d never tried it before but we did it.’
The care home staff had spent weeks rehearsing with the residents to make sure they all knew their roles.
And the vicar Sheila had some memorable lines. ‘I know that you didn’t have any choice, but nonetheless I’d like to thank you all for coming this afternoon to share in this wonderful occasion,’ she told the congregation.
‘So, let us come together to celebrate Lisa and Shane’s love for one another and then afterwards we can all get drunk on prosecco and cause trouble for the carers!’
Although it was not classed as an official wedding, the couple went home and told their children they were married following the ceremony (pictured)
Everyone then sang along to Frank Sinatra’s Love and Marriage before the vicar asked if anyone objected to the wedding. When resident Joan confessed that she was in love with Shane and wanted to run away together, the vicar told her to ‘shut it’ adding that ‘someone forgot to take their pills again this morning.’
After the hilarious ceremony, Lisa got to throw her silk rose bouquet that the residents had made her.
Although it was not classed as an official wedding, the couple went home and told their children they were married.
‘They couldn’t believe it,’ Lisa says. ‘Our families couldn’t come because of lockdown but all the staff came wearing face masks.
‘It was so good that our real wedding has to be even better now and we’ve promised to live stream it on Facebook to the home next year so they can all be there. After all they organised our first wedding so they have to see the one in Turkey too.’