Bride got married on her lunch break at the UK’s first ever drive-through wedding then went back to work

Bride got married on her lunch break at the UK’s first ever drive-through wedding then went back to work

A couple whose wedding plans were thwarted by Covid-19 said ‘I do’ in their lunch break at the UK’s first ever drive through wedding.

Lucie Hacq and Charles Langevin met on a skiing trip in France in February 2014 and planned to tie the knot at a stunning red brick castle near his family home in Normandy, France on September 12.

But the government measures to stop coronavirus spreading prompted their reluctant decision to postpone proceedings.

Still, all was not lost, after investment banker Lucie, 31, of Islington, north London, spotted a Facebook post inviting couples to apply to take part in a Las Vegas-style drive through wedding – for which she and management consultant Charles, 33, were accepted.

Lucie collecting her bouquet

Recalling how, on September 10, with her leaning out of the window of a white Toyota Prius, while Charles did the same from a black cab, they became husband and wife, she said: “It was all such a whirlwind.

“I was married during my lunch break and then went back to work!”

While Lucie still hopes to throw the French wedding party she has dreamed of in 2022, she said the last minute nature of their nuptials continued a theme which has been running through their relationship since the very start.

She said: “We only found out we’d made the cut for the drive through wedding about 48 hours beforehand.

“All our wedding stuff was already in France, for what should have been our big day, so I had a bit of a scramble to find something to wear.”

“In the end, I just grabbed a polka dot dress – the whitest thing in my wardrobe,” she continued.

“But it was such an adventure and so lovely that Charles and I got the chance to celebrate.”

Lucie and Charles on a trip to Iran

It was also a last minute decision that brought the couple together, as Lucie was invited to join some friends on a group skiing trip to the French Alps at short notice, and Charles happened to be with the party, too.

Reflecting on the February 2014 holiday, she said: “I was hesitant about going, but I decided at the last minute to go for it and flew out about three days later. At the time, I’d never heard of or met Charles, but it turned out to be the best decision I’d ever made.”

Taking an instant shine to each other, Lucie and Charles spent most of the trip together.

But they did not expect their romance to last, as they then lived nearly 300 miles apart, with him in Paris and her in London.

Instead, regularly exchanging messages over WhatsApp, their bond strengthened and when Lucie went on a pre-planned holiday to Paris that May, she made sure she looked Charles up.

“By then, we knew each other really well, as we’d spoken a lot over WhatsApp, although it was only the second time we’d met in real life,” she laughed.

Meeting again the following month when Charles visited London, it was third time lucky and they made their relationship official.

Lucie and Charles after getting married

Lucie recalled: “We were on a night out with mutual friends, when gradually everybody else went home and left us on our own. As we talked, we decided that everything was going well and we wanted to become a proper couple.”

Still, their relationship remained long distance for another four years – with him living in Paris and her in London.

She said: “That had its challenges. We’d try to see each other once a fortnight, taking it in turns to be the one to travel.

“Going back and forth to Paris every couple of weeks was expensive. But it was worth it to see Charles.”

Then, in 2018, Charles finally crossed The Channel and moved in with Lucie.

She said: “He moved because he got a new job, but the first few months involved a lot of travel to South Africa, so we were still kind of long distance – even though we lived in the same house.”

Then, around six months after moving in together, Charles proposed to Lucie over dinner during a skiing trip in France – a nod to how they had first met.

Happily accepting, she soon started looking for her dream venue and settled on a castle in Normandy.

“We had organised more or less everything,” she said.

But, as Covid-19 started spreading and the world began locking down, it became clear that Lucie’s big day was becoming a pipe dream.

With current rules allowing no more than 10 people to gather at any one time in France and the Foreign, Commonwealth and Development Office advising against all but essential travel there from England – with those returning here instructed to self-isolate for 14 days – they had no option but to cancel.

Lucie and Charles on a trip to Jordan

Lucie said: “We tried to stay hopeful and keep telling ourselves that things could change, but as the months passed, we were less and less convinced.

“There were so many restrictions that would have meant we couldn’t celebrate in the same way. We didn’t want to make our guests uncomfortable and some of them didn’t want to travel or were shielding so couldn’t come anyway.

“Right now, we could have only had a maximum of 10 people, including Charles and I. We have 100 guests invited and it didn’t feel right leaving so many of them out. Even my hairdresser called saying she couldn’t afford to isolate for 14 days and miss out on work, so she wouldn’t be able to come either.”

After much soul-searching and lengthy discussions with loved ones and their wedding planner, in August the couple decided to postpone their special day.

Lucie said: “I know it was the right thing to do, but I felt really frustrated and sad.”

Accepting defeat, she saw no way for her to marry Charles for the foreseeable future – until she spotted a Facebook post in early September, calling for couples to take part in the UK’s first ever drive through wedding.

Hosted by ride hailing app FREE NOW, who have just merged with former app Kapten to become the UK’s only platform where you can book a black cab and a private hire vehicle in one place, Lucie jumped at the chance.

Lucie and Charles on a trip to Jordan

She filled out an application form and was delighted when, around two weeks later, she discovered that, alongside three other couples, she and Charles had been selected to take part.

She said: “Our wedding day should have been September 12 and we were told the drive-through would be happening on September 10 – close enough! We only had about 48 hours to prepare, so I raced out to Spitalfields Market in east London to get rings and Charles grabbed a suit.”

“Instead of a bridal gown, I went for a polka dot Brooks Brothers dress that was already in my wardrobe,” she added. “It’s actually the same dress I wore in the photos we took for our original save the date cards.”

Unlike most couples, the bride and groom worked on the morning of their wedding – him from home and her from an office. Then, at lunchtime, they were collected and driven in separate cars by FREE NOW to a bandstand in Arnold Circus, east London.

On the way, Lucie picked up a bespoke bouquet from a specially set up kiosk, while Charles was handed a matching boutonniere through the window.

After arriving at the bandstand, the couple made their way up the aisle to meet humanist celebrant Zena Birch, who then married them in a personalised ceremony.

“It took about 15 minutes, but we were so in the moment that it all passed in a blur,” said Lucie. “Afterwards, we signed a certificate and had some wedding cake, champagne and photos.

“Charles had been collected from home, where he was working, while my car met me at the office. I actually then went back to work. I was only out of the office for about two hours. It was like I’d just taken a long lunch break and come back married.”

Lucie and Charles are hoping to still go ahead with their dream celebration in 2022 at the idyllic castle – but remain blissfully happy and have no regrets about their unconventional wedding day.

She concluded: “We know there’s no point in planning much at the moment, as things are changing all the time and the future is very uncertain. Still, we are so happy that we had this adventure together.”

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