A HAPPY couple tied the knot in Clacton despite the challenges posed by the Coronavirus pandemic.

Ryan Plant, 29, and Kayley Howell, 27, from Clacton, went ahead with the vows in a ceremony, which had been planned for months, at Clacton's Princes Theatre on Monday.

The wedding came just hours before Prime Minister Boris Johnson ordered a three-week lockdown, including stopping public gatherings including weddings.

The couple, who got engaged in August, had to make radical changes to the service, including cutting the guest list and dispensing with the wedding breakfast and reception in favour of just having their witnesses along with the registrar.

The school teachers had planned to get hitched on 19 April, but when the bride’s family couldn’t attend from Canada, along with elderly guests, the pair decided to bring the official ceremony forward.

Brentwood Live:

“We were determined to go ahead with our wedding; with all the uncertainty surrounding the world at the moment, we wanted to make a declaration of our love,” Kayley said.

“When everything has settled down, we’ll look to hold a big celebration with family and friends.”

“With the uncertainty surrounding the current situation, we also didn’t know how long we would have to wait, and I just wanted to marry the love of my life,” Ryan added.

“Ultimately life goes on, even if we do have social distancing and even if the way we live our lives changes, love continues.

“We would love to thank everyone who has helped to make our day a reality.”

The Princes Theatre is closed for shows and events, in line with Government guidance.

Alex Porter, cabinet member for leisure and tourism at Tendring Council, which runs the theatre, said the ceremony was a beacon of hope for people.

“We are already seeing some wonderful responses from our community pulling together to help each other in these difficult times, and Ryan and Kayley’s wedding is a shining example of why we as humanity are working to tackle this pandemic,” he said.

“I wish the happy couple a long and happy marriage and wish them all the best for the future.”