Tring couple say 'I do' at UK's first ever drive-through wedding

The ceremony stuck to Government guidelines and were COVID-compliant with a small number of socially-distanced guests

Wednesday, 16th September 2020, 4:32 pm

A couple from Tring said 'I Do' last week, in a Las Vegas style drive-through wedding, hosted by ride hailing app FREE NOW.

Francesca Stokes and Peter Lipton, both 32, had to postpone their wedding earlier this year due to the coronavirus pandemic.

The ceremony, organised by FREE NOW who went through its own recent unification with former London ride hailing app, Kapten, was held at Arnold Circus in East London.

Francesca Stokes and Peter Lipton said ‘I Do’ after having to postpone their wedding during lockdown (C) Jonathan Hordle/PA Wire

The happy couple were collected and driven by FREE NOW to a bandstand where they exchanged personalised vows in front of a celebrant and guests.

With many couples struggling to reorganise their original wedding plans and cover losses, Brits have been on the lookout for new and creative ways in which they can tie the knot, and with the drive-through weddings only recently announced, the number of eager couples signing up proved that Brits are ready to get back down the aisle after lockdown and start celebrating once again.

Four lucky couples were picked at random to win a drive-through wedding, each starting their day waking up at The Hoxton Hotel in Shoreditch.

Francesca and Peter were due to get married on April 25, like many other couples they chose to postpone their wedding and move it to the back end of the year.

Francesca Stokes and Peter Lipton (C) Jonathan Hordle/PA Wire

They said: "We were always told that planning a wedding is one of the most stressful experiences you'll go through as a couple, but we never expected a worldwide pandemic to throw a curve ball into the mix.

"We were due to get married in April 2020, and spent the majority of February and March convincing ourselves that it would be okay and our day would still go ahead.

"After making the decision to postpone to October 2020, we watched our friends rearrange weddings to 2021 and even 2022.

"As we have been together 10 years, we prioritised getting married over having the big day we had envisioned.

Francesca Stokes and Peter Lipton (C) Jonathan Hordle/PA Wire

"We slowly came to terms with the fact that our day would be lovely, but not what we had originally planned and when we heard about the UK's first drive through wedding taking place in London we thought 'why not!'.

"We are so glad we did, it was such a magical day with special touches throughout.

"A personalised humanist ceremony which perfectly depicted us and our relationship (from only a short questionnaire from Zena Birch the celebrant), being able to cut a personalised cake and be showered with confetti before being whisked back to the hotel in a FREE NOW taxi.

"We felt so special and the whole day had a joyful atmosphere, it was an amazing memory which we'll never forget and we're so thankful to have been able to take part."

Brides and Grooms were dressed to impress in their varying wedding attire.

To complete the look, the brides each accessorised their wedding outfits with a bouquet of blooming flowers that were collected on route from a bespoke, floral covered wedding kiosk, while grooms were complete with boutonnieres.

Handed to them through the windows of the cars, each bride was then officially signed up for their drive-through ceremony, before being finally driven to the last stop and drop-off point.

Taking it in turns throughout the day, couples were dropped off at the foot of the stairs to the bandstand on Arnold Circus.

Grooms got out first and made their way up the stairs to meet the humanist celebrant, Zena Birch.

A song specially chosen by each couple was then played as the bride got out, taking her turn to walk up the ‘aisle’.

Each personalized ceremony lasted around 15 minutes, after which couples signed a FREE NOW certificate documenting their wedding, enjoyed some champagne, wedding cake and photos, before making their way along for the next drive-through wedding.

Toasting the occasion, guests of the happy couples stuck to strict Government guidelines, each wearing masks and staying socially distanced from one another. All guests on the day were driven to and from the ceremony in black cabs provided by FREE NOW.

Mariusz Zabrocki, general manager of FREE NOW UK, said: “It’s been heart-warming to bear witness to these four couples getting married today.

"We wanted to bring a little slice of happiness to people who missed out on getting hitched this year because of COVID and knew that putting on Las Vegas style drive-through weddings would go down a treat.

"We have also had our own union with the recent joining together of black cabs and private hire vehicles under one ride-hailing app, so this felt like a fitting way to celebrate.”