A COUPLE who met on a dating app will get married on Southend Pier this month… in one of the first weddings since lockdown was eased.
Melonie Clarke and Ryan Philips are set to tie the knot at the end of the pier on July 11.
The couple, who live in Genesta Road, Westcliff, had been planning their big day for more than a year until the Covid-19 pandemic forced many weddings to be postponed in the UK.
The couple made the brave decision not to put their service on hold, and it paid off with restrictions being eased just weeks before the big day.
Ms Clarke, 30, said: “We had it all arranged and the pier have been really great and asked us what we wanted to do about it.
“At the start of it all, we didn’t know what was going to happen, so we decided to hold on.
“We had 80 people arranged to come originally, but now it will just be 11 plus our parents. For a long time we didn’t know if it could just be us and our parents, but we’re glad we’ll have others with us.
“We’ve been together since February 2018. We met on Tinder, so we’re a bit of a Tinder success story.
“I’d tried it lots of times and nothing really took off, but then I met Ryan and it’s gone from there.”
The couple have continued working throughout the pandemic, with Mr Philips, 34, working for the Ministry of Defence and Ms Clarke as a legal secretary.
They had arranged for their reception to be held next year on their one-year anniversary.
The couple have praised Southend Pier and the registry office for the support they have been given. They plan to honeymoon on a canal boat in Wales.
Ms Clarke added: “We thought if we can get married that’s the main thing for us.”