School sweethearts get married in front of 300 guests on Zoom

Coronavirus has halted almost all weddings planned for March and April.

But one couple said the show must go on.

School sweethearts Ben Jackson, 25, and Sophie Austin, 26, got engaged in August 2018 and 200 people were due to watch them tie the knot this past weekend.

But when lockdown made this impossible, they gathered all their friends and family on Zoom and had the ceremony over video chat.

The couple from Croydon have been together for eight-and-a-half years after meeting in sixth form.

Sophie, a singer and actress, said that she was unable to wear her planned wedding dress as it was at the shop which had closed for lockdown.

But despite the circumstances, the virtual affair went swimmingly.

Sophie said: ‘It was amazing. It was absolutely amazing.

‘I think it really drew back the sparkliness and extra stuff of a wedding and made it really obvious what was important: the two of us saying the vows to each other.

‘Even though we didn’t have everyone here it made it more intimate and special.’

Their big wedding is now scheduled for September.

She added: ‘We still wanted to make the date significant to us because we had such a buildup.

‘Also it was so nice for everyone else as well to have an online party and see a lot of faces.

‘It shows how good Zoom is in this time.’

The couple said their vows and declared their love for each other in their living room before sharing some cake.

They were eagerly watched by up to 300 people over the internet, all safely socially distancing in their homes.

Ben, who works at the University of Sussex, said the ceremony featured a mix of attendees.

He said: ‘I know a couple of my mates were wearing their suits but underneath they had their football shorts on.’

The idea for a Zoom ceremony originally came from their pastor, who was not sure if the couple would go for it.

Ben added: ‘We just kind of sat there and thought that’s a really good idea.’

Describing the ceremony, he said: ‘It’s still real. In that moment we didn’t really notice it, we were focused on what we were saying.’

The soon-to-be Mr and Mrs Jackson still need to complete the legal process of tying the knot once lockdown lifts.

They have also been fortunate as many of their wedding vendors have been able to rearrange to a date in September at no additional cost.