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We spoke to one of the first Leeds couples to get married as weddings return

“The additional four weeks of lifting restrictions certainly added a bit of extra suspense for us, nothing like cutting it fine, eh??!!”

Couple Fran Halliday and Mark Wool were one of the very first in Leeds to tie the knot after the lifting of coronavirus restrictions on weddings.

Last weekend, following a two-year engagement and a whole load of uncertainty due to covid, the pair were over the moon to get the go-ahead for their dream wedding.

With their daughter, Mila, acting as a flower girl and their son, Dex, involved as a page boy and ring bearer, they were surrounded by all of their loved ones as Fran walked down the aisle on Saturday, 24 July at New Craven Hall.

We spoke to them ahead of their special day to ask what they were most looking forward to, following the relaxation of rules around social distancing and large gatherings.

“Even though we were looking forward to it so much anyway, for it to fall on the first weekend of no restrictions and it being the first opportunity for all our friends and family to be together for a party and let loose just adds a bit of something extra special,” the pair told us when we chatted last week.

But they also confided that they had had some concerns in the lead up to their big day that things could potentially all change again, as is only natural following a year where everything’s been turned on its head.

“The closer it’s got, there has been an element of thought about it not happening but we had committed to it and knew that we’d get married regardless, even if it was a small ceremony followed by a big party next year instead,” the pair told us.

“I was pretty confident it was going to go ahead but the additional four weeks of lifting restrictions certainly added a bit of extra suspense for us, nothing like cutting it fine, eh??!!” joked Mark light-heartedly

They might’ve been cutting it fine, but that also meant that they got to make history in having one of the first restriction-free weddings in Leeds pos-covid.

It was a momentous occasion for the pair, who first met whilst working together over in Headingley for hospitality group Arc Inspirations working in bars like Banyan, Manahatta, and BOX.

Following a proposal on Mother’s Day in 2019, they had a two-year engagement in the lead-up to their wedding.

“We booked the venue in June 2020, and we were very fortunate as we were the first viewing after lockdown so managed to get a good weekend in July, said Mark.

“We’ve had a lot of friends that were rescheduling at the beginning of this year, some to next year and some pushed back further to 2023 but we committed to the date we set and hoped for the best.”

That commitment clearly paid off, and on Saturday 24 July the couple was completely overjoyed to be able to celebrate together with all of their loved ones under one roof.

Asked what they were most looking forward to ahead of their special day, they told us laughingly: “Other than the obvious of the actual getting married part, the fillet steak we’re having for the wedding breakfast.”

“But, honestly, for me,” added Mark, “it’s a few things; having our kids there enjoy it with us and be a part of it would be one, another would be the amazing band, Rebel Sounds, that we’ve got throughout the day and lastly, just being able to get together with so many friends and family for the first time in so long, not worrying about what you can & cannot do just tees it up to be a really enjoyable day.”

For couples like Mark and Fran for whom the return to normal weddings has been a long time coming, it looks set to be a gorgeous summer of love as partners across the city finally get their opportunity to gather with their loved ones and celebrate together.

Long may it last.

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