Sally and Matt make it to the church on time

WHEN Sally Harrison and Matt Aspinall decided on a spur of the moment wedding, they really did wonder if they would get themselves to the church on time.  

After 13 years together, the Greenfield couple gave themselves just 10 days to arrange their nuptials at St Mary’s Church.

Sally and Matt with their children at St Mary’s Church, Greenfield for their wedding (Photo: Karen Berry)

That meant obtaining a special marriage licence from the Manchester diocese, buying their rings and asking Reverend Barbara Christopher to share her birthday with them and their guests.  

Even then and with new restrictive lockdown measures coming into force, Sally and Matt had to bring forward their New Year’s Eve ceremony by nearly 24 hours. 

Determined though to end 2020 on the best possible note, the pair wouldn’t let any obstacle stand in the way of true love.  

So, on December 30, with 13 friends and family in attendance, Sally, 44, and 47-year-old Matt overcame the odds to tie the knot. 

“Right from the start we said if this is meant to be it will all happen,” said Sally.  

“If it is not meant to happen, something will stop it and me and Matt will accept that. 

“In the end though it was like a beautiful jigsaw puzzle that all came together.  

“It was so magical to have an evening service in the building which we absolutely adore,” added Sally, a former church treasurer who currently organises St Mary’s online church services through Zoom. 

“But we couldn’t have done it without Barbara who was due to celebrate her birthday on our first choice of December 31.   

“She was just amazing. There was nothing she didn’t do for us. But so was everyone who helped make it possible.”

Sally, a self-employed business consultant, and Matt, who runs Aspinall Trades, had been engaged for four-and-a-half years.  

“We had talked about getting married several times but life just happens doesn’t it?” she told the Independent. 

“This year has been very challenging for everyone. We experienced our own set of challenges with everything that has happened.  

“All we wanted to do was end the year on such a high and take something positive into 2021. 

“It really was spur of the moment but we didn’t know if we could do it so quickly.”  

Sally and Matt at St Mary’s Church, Greenfield for their wedding (Photo: Karen Berry)

On December 20, they launched their wedding plan by contacting Reverend Christopher.  

Next day, Sally arranged the marriage licence with the help of registrar Donna Myers at Manchester Diocese. A dress was ordered online and the rings bought. 

Caterers Manns Wharf were engaged with the plan to hold a Zoom reception after the initial 12noon ceremony on December 31. 

The implementation of Tier 4 restrictions then forced an 11th hour change of plan. But the couple wouldn’t allow anything to stand in their way.

And with St Mary’s bells playing in the distance, Sally set off for church for a ceremony that hadn’t been contemplated a couple of weeks earlier. 

The couple’s children Annie (7) and Gabby (12) plus Matt’s daughter Molly (18) were among the guests. 

“Married life is lovely,” said Sally. “Both of us didn’t think it would feel different, but it really does. It feels so complete.” 

Reverend Christopher said: “When Sally rang on December 20 and asked: ‘Can you marry us by the end of the year?’, I just said, ‘this year?’ 

“It is the quickest arranged marriage service I have ever done,” she confirmed. “And I have previously never done one with common licence before.” 

Reverend Barbara Christopher

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