MORE than 700 Shropshire couples hoping to tie the knot this year have had to reschedule their big days due to the coronavirus pandemic.

Weddings across the country had to be called off when Boris Johnson sent the country into lockdown on March 24, and Shropshire Council’s registration service was faced with the mammoth task of rearranging hundreds of ceremonies.

There are likely to be hundreds more coupIes affected who had booked a church wedding, and it is not yet known how many more will have their weddings cancelled by the time large gatherings are allowed to resume.

Karen Burton, Shropshire Council’s coroners and registration service manager, said her team was ready and waiting to re-start weddings as soon as the guidance changes.

She said: “Shropshire Council registrars have from the beginning of lockdown, up to June 16, rearranged or rescheduled over 700 civil marriage and civil partnership ceremonies due to take place in the Shropshire Council area.

“We are delighted that we have managed to achieve this to support both couples and business in the county through this difficult time.

“We continue to work exceptionally hard under difficult and uncertain conditions to assist our couples with their special days, and at least provide some certainty that as soon as ceremonies are able to go ahead the registration services team will be out and making it all happen.”

Another side-effect of the lockdown has seen people unable to gain British citizenship, with successful applicants required by law to attend a citizenship ceremony before the process is complete.

Shropshire Council typically hosts one group citizenship ceremony per month at Shirehall in Shrewsbury.

Ms Burton said: “Shropshire Council has seven citizenship certificates for people who have not been able to have their citizenship ceremony since lockdown began.

“As soon as we are able to hold indoor gatherings which will support delivery of this service, we will be in contact with our new citizens to arrange for them to have their ceremony and receive their certificates as a matter of priority.

“There may well be other people who are waiting; however, we have not received any citizenship certificates from the Home Office since lockdown.”