The mum whose husband and son were killed when they were hit by a car while walking home from a Christmas party has had to postone her wedding to her new partner because of coronavirus

Anna-Louise Bates was due to get married at the end of next month, four and a half years after the death of her husband Stuart and son Fraser.

She met husband-to-be Zachary Stubbings through the charity Believe that she set up to campaign and highlight for organ donation in the days following her tragic double loss in December, 2015.

Iestyn, Zach, Elizabeth, Anna-Louise and Owynn all bonded during a motorhome holiday
Iestyn, Zach, Elizabeth, Anna-Louise and Owynn all bonded during a motorhome holiday

They were due to celebrate their wedding on May 29, but have now had to put it off until Easter, 2021, because Zach, who was diagnosed with blood cancer in 2012, is vulnerable to Covid-19.

Anna-Louise, from Thornhill, Cardiff, said: "We are thinking of having a "non wedding" party on May 29 instead, where our friends around the country can hook in.

"No matter what is going on in the world at the moment, no matter how scary that is for everybody, it just highlights that you need to grab happiness."

The minister marrying them next year at the family church in Roath, Cardiff, will be Father Iriving Hamer.

He said: "Out of difficulty and stress, anxiety, grief and sorrow, now in Anna Louise's case and with Zach and their future marriage there's a glimmer of light and hope in the midst of what is this impending gloom around the country.

"I see this forthcoming wedding as a glimpse of resurrection life for her and her future."

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'Coronavirus has killed our wedding'

Meanwhile, many other Welsh couples have also seen their wedding plans take a hit due to the coronavirus pandemic.

For Newport couple Deanne Perrett and her partner Zena Rice, June 13 was supposed to be the happiest day of their lives.

The pair have been together for two and a half years and were due to tie the knot surrounded by friends and family at the Old Barn Inn in Newport.

But when the UK instructed all pubs and venues to shut a few weeks back, the couple were forced to reschedule their wedding for the winter.

It meant dresses, flowers and seasonal offerings planned for the summer affair have now had to be rethought, as the wedding is now scheduled for just a month before Christmas.

“We’d organised an ice-cream company to do an ‘icycle tricycle’ in the garden so we could serve the desserts outside. You’d have to look at pictures to see how beautiful the grounds there are,” said Deanne.

“We didn’t want to cancel it as it’s tough for businesses at the moment, so now we’re having ice-cream in November!”

Zena Rice and Deanne Perrett from Newport were due to get married on 13 June this year

Deanne said the postponement to November 21 had created a logistical headache, as the couple had been forced to find a new photographer and had already put down deposits with various companies.

“We’ve our invites sent out, sweet bags made up, everyone’s food order put in, for June.

“We’re very lucky as our original photographer who can’t make our new date offered to give us back our £50 deposit, but we only asked for half of it back and told him to keep the other half, as it’s neither his fault nor ours that this has all happened.

To complicate matters, Deanne’s daughter is expecting a child in August, and will now have a newborn baby in tow at the rescheduled date. Plans for both the couple’s honeymoon and hen party have also been thrown up in the air.

“We wanted to have the wedding abroad at first, but we then realised that in a lot of places it would only be a blessing rather than an actual wedding due to us being a same-sex couple.

“So instead we said why not just have all our families come along to our honeymoon and have a ‘family-moon’?

“We had 24 of us going to Bulgaria for two weeks. That has to be cancelled but we have to change it in the shop in Newport which we can’t currently, so we’re still booked on it.

“We had a stunning nine-person cottage in Tiverton booked for our hen, but the cottage owner says she doesn’t think the company I booked it through was going to give a refund even though she herself wants to, as she said the company had been offering customers credit on their accounts instead.

“We’ve spent about £700 on it, which we don’t know if we’ll get back. It’s a nightmare and it’s gone from bad to worse.”

The latest figures on coronavirus cases and deaths:

Deanne said that, although she felt “gutted and sad” at the start after two years’ planning, she admitted there were much bigger things to worry about.

“We were planning on going on a vintage bus through Newport on the day, which would have been just perfect during the summer. We had summer drinks etc all sorted for the reception.

“Now it’s November, there could well be a Christmas tree instead!”

“But you know what? People are dying. As long as everyone gets better, that’s what’s most important. It doesn’t matter, we’re still together, we’re still going to get married.

“But it is crazy to sit planning your wedding in the middle of it, because coronavirus has killed our wedding.”

Thankfully, Deanne said the pair had managed to view the situation more light-heartedly.

“We’re planning to put on face-masks and gloves on the day and hold up the banner with the original date saying ‘postponed due to Covid-19’!”

'All the exciting elements leading up to the wedding have been ruined'

Rachel Williams from Swansea got engaged to her partner Christopher Rees last April, and the pair were supposed to tie the knot on August 1 in Peterstone Court, overlooking the idyllic Brecon Beacons.

While some couples with earlier summer wedding dates have already been forced to push them back, the couple have been left in limbo.

“At the moment we hope it’s going ahead but it’s hard to know because it’s just outside all the timelines of predictions at the moment. So we’ve got all our fingers and toes crossed that it is going ahead," she said.

Rachel Williams and her partner Christopher Rees from Swansea

Rachel, 33, works as a teacher and had plans to sort out much of the wedding preparation over the Easter holidays.

“It’s quite sad, because this time was supposed to be when we were getting loads of things done. We had the grooms’ suits being done on Easter weekend, and had plans to get all the family down etc. We were getting the suits from Next, which is obviously closed.

“My maid of honour was due to come down from Manchester this weekend. We don’t see each other very much, so this was going to be one of those moments where she came down and I’d try on the dress and stuff. That’s obviously not happening.”

Rachel and Chris’s venue has offered all its couples getting married between now and June the chance to rebook, but she said they were unsure where they stood due to their later date.

Police have powers they can exercise during the coronavirus lock down to stop members of the public making unnecessary journeys.

If members of the public do not comply officers may:

•             instruct them to go home, leave an area, or disperse

•             ensure parents are taking necessary steps to stop their children breaking these rules

•             issue a fixed penalty notice of £60, which will be lowered to £30 if paid within 14 days

•             issue a fixed penalty notice of £120 for second-time and subsequent breaches

“It’s sort of up in the air because we don’t know when the restrictions are going to be lifted, and when they are, how much will they be lifted? Will they restrict numbers or people travelling?

“At the moment there are only five people allowed at weddings. We’ve got 120 people on our list, so if restrictions are, say, 50, then we’ll have to look at our list.

“We’ve got older people like Chris’s grandparents coming, and people from abroad. It could be a very different affair, even if it does go ahead.”

Rachel added that she felt it could be June before things became any clearer, leaving the couple without much time.

“It’s the unknown really that makes it hard. All the exciting elements leading up to the wedding have been ruined, the special things you only get to do once as a bride, that you don’t get to do.

“It feels really flat at a time that should be magical.

“I just hope that by June the restrictions will be at a level that you can do something, otherwise it won’t give us enough time to do everything. We’re stuck in the middle.”

'What’s meant to be a happy and exciting occasion has turned into a logistical nightmare'

University lecturer Sophie Chambers and her partner Sam Troth were due to get married in a small ceremony at Cardiff City Hall on June 25, followed by a bigger party at their friend’s farm in Abergavenny on June 27.

Sam Troth and Sophie Chambers have had to postpone their wedding from June until October

The pair bought a house in Canton last year, and have been together since 2018.

Their original wedding date was also their anniversary, but it has now been pushed back to October 10.

“The farm didn’t make us move it, it was us that contacted them a few weeks ago, just before the restrictions heightened, and we were told we could have a Saturday wedding any time from October to April for the same price,” she said.

“Because my dad lives in Ireland, we didn’t want to do the legal bit in June and have him have to come over just for that, so we decided to move both of them to October.

“Whether six months is even going to be far enough away or if we’ll have to reschedule it again we don’t know, but we really don’t want to.

“Our friends and family have already had to put up with a lot to change all of their arrangements. The farm is very remote so they’ve had to move all their accommodation arrangements. We’re worried about the financial effect it’s had on them.

“My mum booked a holiday cottage nearby but she can’t get through to them to find out what’s going on, because they’re so busy.

“What’s meant to be a happy and exciting occasion has turned into a logistical nightmare.”

But Rachel’s fiance Sam added that the couple were “trying to stay upbeat”, saying: “What’s happening at the moment certainly puts it in perspective. It’d be harder if it was something that only affected us and there were couples still getting married, but everyone is dealing with the same situation.”

'It will be a bit of a rush'

Lauren Goodland was due to marry her fiance Joshua Knapman in Newport on September 25, with the wedding party being held at the city's famous former Westgate Hotel.

The couple were supposed to meet the registry office last week to give their identification, but the appointment was cancelled due to the pandemic.

Lauren Goodland and her fiance Joshua Knapman

“They have told us that if everything goes ahead that we have until August to do it. I think they’ve extended it as normally I think you only have a month to do it,” Lauren said.

Although the Westgate Hotel is sometimes used for events, it has not been a functioning hotel for some time, meaning Lauren and Joshua have to provide most things themselves on the day.

“We’re having quite a DIY wedding and so thankfully we haven’t really lost money, but it means we have to provide a lot of things ourselves like tables, chairs, caterers etc.

“It’s pretty much all up in the air. We haven’t done anything, bought anything or planned anything since this happened.

“We were going to make a lot of our own stuff - decorations, flowers etc - which requires going out and buying stuff. So it will be a bit of a rush and a bit of a stressful time if it does go ahead now, but we’re thinking it’ll be a really good party when this is all over.”