On Friday the world’s attention will be focused on the Royal wedding. But for three couples in Sheffield, who are getting married on the same day, wedding fever will be a little more personal, as Ben Spencer discovered.
ALISON Clark and Chris Gurr have been planning their wedding for more than five years.
The Sheffield couple booked the register office at the Town Hall months ago, prepared the guest list and organised a reception for their closest friends and family.
So they were pretty surprised when Prince William and Kate Middleton announced they would be getting married on the same day.
“We weren’t exactly thrilled,” said supermarket sales assistant Alison, aged 25, from Arbourthorne. “We had been planning it a long time and I thought it would really overshadow our day.
“But as time went on I realised it was actually a good thing. It will make it even more special.”
Incredibly, the same thing happened to Alison’s parents in July 1981. They had booked their wedding, only to hear Prince Charles and Princess Di announce their big day for the same date.
“My parents had to get married the day before in the end, because the register office was closed,” said Alison.
“When I heard about Kate and William my nan phoned up to tell me to call the Town Hall. It put me in a real panic but luckily they are staying open.”
Alison has been with chef Chris, 39, for nine years.
He admitted: “I’ve been a bit late getting my act together. Now that we’re actually getting married I’m pretty nervous.
“Our two kids are excited though. Lucy, who is six, has her bridesmaid dress ready and she can’t wait. Adam, who is four, is taking it in his stride.
“It may have taken me a while to organise, but I wouldn’t swap Alison for the world. She’s the one for me.”
Getting married at Sheffield Town Hall on the same day will be Ben Smith and Sioned Tym-Crowther, from Meersbrook.
Unlike Alison and Chris, Ben and Sioned booked their day after they heard about the Royal wedding.
“We had planned for a Friday wedding but we were worried our friends couldn’t get the day off work,” said Sioned, 26, who works for Aviva Insurance.
“When we realised it was going to be a bank holiday we booked it up straight away.”
Now the day’s booked, Sioned has found herself a bit of a talking point.
“When I say the date I’ve had quite a few comments from people. They hear me say April 29, then they pause, realise, and say, ‘Isn’t that Royal wedding day?’.”
The couple have come up with their perfect rejoinder though.
Sioned said: “Ben is a Wednesdayite and I’m a Blade, so he has made lots of jokes about mixing blue blood with red!”
Although Sioned is half Welsh, the couple are both Sheffielders born and bred, and both grew up in Ecclesall.
Sioned met IT worker Ben, 31, in The Highcliffe pub, now The Greystones, seven years ago.
The couple had a bit of drama over their reception venue, after The Damhouse restaurant in Crookes Valley Park suddenly closed down.
“They rang us, were very apologetic and we got back our deposit,” said Ben. “Luckily we’ve managed to get Whirlowbrook Hall instead.”
Also getting married on Friday are Mary Taylor, 29, and Richard Graham, 33.
“We became engaged last August and we set the date really quickly,” said Richard, a maths lecturer.
“We were pretty surprised when we heard about the Royal wedding, but it is really nice. The whole country will be in a wedding mood.
“Final preparations are going pretty smoothly now, so we just have to wait until the big day.”
They are getting married at St Mary’s Roman Catholic Church in High Green, which Mary attended as a child.
Daughter of city councillor Colin Taylor, Mary grew up in Chapeltown, attending Coit Primary School and Notre Dame Secondary.
“It will be really nice to be back in Sheffield for the wedding,” said Mary, who now works in Nottingham as an NHS manager. “My school friends will be there and it will be a bit of a reunion.
“I think it’s been difficult for my dad though, having a daughter getting married just a week before the local elections!”
After the ceremony Mary and Richard will be holding a party for 70 people at Wortley Hall.
“It’s great it’s going to be a bank holiday,” said Mary. “They are closed on the Saturday, which is why we booked the Friday.
“I wouldn’t call myself a royalist at all really, but I’m very happy Prince William and Kate Middleton are getting married - and delighted they chose April 29!”