"We thought we may be able to do it on a wing and a prayer, but it ended up working like clockwork and we were able to get married four days earlier than planned"
Lisa Ruddy, bride
This was the first time the hotel had faced such a tight deadline to organise a wedding ceremony and reception.
Lisa and Paul Ruddy, who have been together three-and-a-half years and live in Catterick Garrison, were due to get married at the Southend Avenue venue on Saturday November 7.
They were taking the week off work in the run-up to the wedding during which they planned to ‘chill’ after having worked hard to get every element of their wedding in place.
But disaster struck when the Government announced a second national lockdown with restrictions including a ban on weddings.
Lisa, a 32-year-old office manager, said: “We were devastated after all the hard work and thought that had been put into arranging the wedding of our dreams.
“We feared we would not be able to get married for months the way things are going if we didn’t do it now. So, we decided to contact Bannatyne’s and all our suppliers to see if they could pull off a mini miracle and bring things forward to before the Thursday lockdown. My hairdresser even came at six in the morning as she had a full day of appointments!
“We thought we may be able to do it on a wing and a prayer, but it ended up working like clockwork and we were able to get married four days earlier than planned.”
Both Lisa, who was born and brought up in Darlington, and Paul, 38, who is a mechanic in the Army, are full of high praise for Jade MacGillivray, Bannatyne Hotel Darlington’s Events & Deputy General Manager.
Lisa said: “Bannatyne’s was amazing and in particular Jade, who sprang into action as soon as we contacted the hotel following the lockdown announcement.
“Our guests all said that ‘you wouldn’t have thought the wedding and reception were curtailed due to the pandemic, but that it looked like we had opted for a top quality intimate affair that had taken months to pull together rather than 48 hours.”
Some close relatives of the couple, who live in West Yorkshire, were unable to join the happy couple with 11 guests attending the ceremony and reception.
They are so pleased with the service provided by Bannatyne Hotel Darlington that they plan to hold a blessing followed by an evening party attended by family and friends once the pandemic is over.
John Price, Bannatyne Hotel Darlington General Manager, said: “This is the first wedding we have ever had to pull off with only 48 hours’ notice.
“It proved quite a challenge with us being so up against the clock, but we were really pleased to be able to arrange a wedding day to remember for Lisa and Paul while still adhering to Covid-19 safety procedures.
“We wish the new Mr and Mrs Ruddy a lifetime of happiness and look forward to welcoming them back for a bigger celebration once circumstances allow.”
Other people who rallied round to make Paul and Lisa’s dream come true and they would like to give a special thanks to include: Jodie Dawson of Wedding Hair by Jodie, Sarah Buttery of Flawless Make Up & Co, Jennie Flintoff of Babycakes By Jennie, Vicky Moir of Blooms Boutique and Darren Edmonds of DJM photography.
One of the national lockdown restrictions states that marriages and civil partnership will only be possible where someone is ill and not expected to recover.