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School sweethearts tie the knot over Zoom

When the Coronavirus lockdown made Ben Jackson and Sophie Austin’s dream wedding impossible, they held the ceremony over Zoom video chat instead.

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Ben Jackson and Sophie Austin tie the knot (Ben Jackson/Sophie Austin/PA)

Ben Jackson and Sophie Austin tie the knot (Ben Jackson/Sophie Austin/PA)

Ben Jackson and Sophie Austin tie the knot (Ben Jackson/Sophie Austin/PA)

Despite the coronavirus crisis slamming the door shut on weddings up and down the country, one couple said the show must go on.

School sweethearts Ben Jackson and Sophie Austin got engaged in August 2018 and 200 people were due to watch them tie the knot on Saturday, March 28.

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

The loving couple live in Croydon and have been together for eight-and-a-half years after meeting in Sixth Form.

Ben Jackson and Sophie Austin celebrate with a cake
Ben Jackson and Sophie Austin celebrate with a cake (Ben Jackson/Sophie Austin/PA)

Speaking to the PA news agency, 26-year-old Miss Austin (soon-to-be Mrs Jackson) 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.”

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

However, despite having to rearrange their big wedding – which has been moved to September – she said the Zoom ceremony was incredibly special.

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.”

Friends and family watch Sophie and Ben get married over Zoom
Friends and family watch Sophie and Ben get married over Zoom (Ben Jackson/Sophie Austin/PA)

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.

Mr Jackson, 25, who works at the University of Sussex, said the ceremony featured a “real mix” of attendees… in terms of what they were wearing.

He told PA that most people wore suits or dresses, but added: “I know a couple of my mates were wearing their suits but underneath they had their football shorts on.”

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

Mr Jackson said: “We just kind of sat there and thought oh 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 that many of their wedding vendors have been able to rearrange to a date in September at no additional cost.

PA