A couple who had to postpone their wedding five times said they were “doomed” because the bride-to-be got stuck in traffic when their big day finally arrived.
Laura Luckhurst was preparing to marry her other half on Saturday when a truck caught fire on the M20 in Kent, blocking her in traffic for more than four hours.
The 28-year-old had attempted to marry her 12-and-a-half-year-old partner Michael five times in the past year.
They had initially targeted Hayne House in Hythe last summer, but the emergence of the coronavirus and subsequent lockdowns meant they had to postpone several times.
Ms Luckhurst said she “tried not to panic” as she was locked in her wedding dress in the back seat of her wedding car.
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In a desperate attempt to remain calm, she also opened a can of cider while waiting for emergency services to clear the scene and vehicles to start moving again.
Michael Luckhurst and all the guests – except for his fiancé, page boy Joshua, father of the bride Paul Wraight and cousin Michael Reeves – waited patiently at the scene.
The 29-year-old groom said: “We were originally in August of last year, then moved to November, then December, then March… and finally this weekend.
“After all the postponements that have happened before, I just thought we were doomed. It was like a Higher Power didn’t want this to happen.”
The couple were supposed to be married at the Archbishop’s Palace in Maidstone when traffic was stopped on the causeway to London.
And after finally tying the knot nearly five hours later than expected, the happy couple had to pose for their wedding photos under an umbrella as the sky opened up.
Nursery worker Mrs Luckhurst said: “It was incredibly difficult. I was there with my second cousin Joshua who was my page boy, his father Michael and my father Paul.
“I was trying so hard not to panic. I feel like I did a good job of staying calm on the outside because I didn’t want Joshua to worry, but inside I was shaking.
“My dad has diabetes too, and we were so lucky he took chocolate with him – because if it got worse it would be another emergency.”
Understandably, the bride, who was dressed in head-to-toe white, drew a lot of attention from fellow stranded highway users as she stepped out to stretch her legs.
She said: “I’m not a big fan of too much attention, but after about two hours I couldn’t stay locked up anymore.
“A few people came to talk to me, and a lady was even kind enough to give me a cider, which I needed, believe me.
“Just before I started moving again, a little girl gave me a picture she made of me in my dress, which I will certainly treasure, it was adorable.
Two lanes of the causeway were finally reopened around 2:30 p.m., but by the time the bride reached her destination it was past 5 p.m.
Accountant Mr Luckhurst said: “It was about a quarter past five when we got married. The place was supposed to close at five, but they were so lovely and understanding.”
Best man Darren Parris said the couple face constant changes and unwanted surprises before Saturday.
He said, “They are a great, wonderful couple together and they’ve been so unlucky for the last 14 months or so.”
One of the worst times for the couple was when they finally planned to tie the knot in December, but a last-minute government decision once again put things in jeopardy.
Mr Parris added: “You talk about having to delay or move things at the last minute, but that’s really what they had to do.
“They were to have it at the Archbishop’s Palace in November and again on December 20, only for the government to literally announce Level 4 the day before the ceremony.”
Regardless of the conflicts that led to their big day, the couple say they couldn’t be happier together.
Ms Luckhurst added: “We are very happy. We’ve been together for 13 years this year and we got engaged for three years, it’s been a long time to come.
Mr Luckhurst praised the Archbishop’s Palace staff and the Clerk for helping to make their big day a success despite the huge delay, calling them “brilliant”.