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Bride threw care home wedding party with ‘second family’ after Covid cancellation

A caregiver had her bosses turn things around, when they threw a fabulous wedding blessing for her at the house she works in – to show how much they care about him.

Katie Pickering, 34, was thrilled when residents she says are her ‘second family’ at The Manor House, an Anchor nursing home in Knaresborough, joined her and her new husband Phil, 35, to the 9/11 ceremony.

Katie – mum of Bella, 12, from a previous relationship and Aria, five, her daughter with Phil, an IT analyst, whom she met online in September 2013 – said: “I’m calling the residents my uncles and aunts and us “you are all like a big second family.”

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She added, “We really wanted them at the wedding, so having a blessing at the nursing home, where I have worked for over three years, was a great way to let them be a part of the day while keeping them safe.

“One of the residents even said, ‘I hope Phil realizes he has all these extra aunts!’ “

Katie was devastated when she and Phil had to call off their dream wedding, scheduled for August 2020, due to the pandemic.

While they booked the event at their dream location, Skipbridge Farm, which enjoys a beautiful rural setting near Green Hamerton, North Yorkshire, for August 7 of this year, where they were married in front of 75 guests, her bosses had another treat to stock for her.

Katie and Phil had to postpone their wedding for a year due to the global pandemic (PA Real Life / Emma Thurlow Photography).

And on September 11, Reverend Garry Hinchcliffe of St John’s Church in Knaresborough blessed the couple under a purpose built archway, as they were cheered on by staff and residents, who showed up in all their finery.

Katie said: “It gave everyone a reason to dress up, wear a fancy hat and have a good time.”

Katie says she immediately knew Phil was The One, when they enjoyed their first date – a simple coffee at a local Starbucks – in 2013.

“I wasn’t really looking for love back then,” she said.

“But when I met Phil and we started talking, I just knew he was different. I guess I just knew it was him.

Katie was elated when the care home she worked in offered her a wedding blessing so residents could witness her big day (Collect / PA Real Life).

Moving in together exactly one year later in September 2014 and buying their first home in September 2015, they then had their daughter, Aria, four months later in February 2015.

“September is a really special time for us,” said Katie.

“We moved in together and bought our first home almost a year apart in September. I was pregnant with Aria at the time and everything went very well.

Still, she laughs when she remembers how unromantic Phil’s proposal was in November 2018.

“It wasn’t very romantic at all,” she laughed.

“He received an engagement ring from a relative. It was my birthday and after spotting him in the closet I joked that he might have another present for me.

Katie and Phil had a blessing in the back garden of the care home followed by a delicious buffet (Collect / PA Real Life).

She added: “He took out the ring and just let it fall on my lap and said, ‘I’m going to the bathroom.

“We’ve been engaged since!

Fixing their wedding date for August 2020, the couple have planned a rustic country wedding with 75 guests.

But as the pandemic meant they had to postpone it, the silver liner had the blessing and an extremely romantic second proposition she had never expected.

“As soon as we saw how badly Covid was getting, we knew we had to postpone our wedding,” Katie said.

“But, on our original wedding date, August 2, 2020, Phil got down on his knees to propose again!”

Katie, pictured here with her husband, Phil, says the residents of the care home she works for are like her second family (Collect / PA Real Life).

She added: “I couldn’t find my engagement ring all morning and thought Aria had it hidden, but we went for a walk with the two girls and took this really romantic path to get Phil to his knees.

“He had my engagement ring on and it was really sweet.

“So while we weren’t getting married as planned, at least I got my romantic proposal.”

Putting their wedding plans on hold as the country was forced to close, Katie always went to work and enjoyed seeing the residents of the care home every day.

“It was hard on everyone,” she said.

“But in a way, the residents kept us strong. We couldn’t see our families, but we’re all a big second family anyway, so that made things a lot easier.

Katie was able to share her wedding day with all residents in September 2021 (Collect / PA Real Life).

The only sad thing for Katie was knowing her favorite residents wouldn’t come on her big day due to their worry of catching Covid.

“I started as a nursing assistant three years ago,” she says. “I woke up one day thinking I wanted to work in care. and I got my job at the Manor House.

“After only two weeks I came back to Phil’s house and said, ‘This is definitely my calling. This is what I’m supposed to do.

She added, “He supports my work so much. We really wanted the residents I work with to attend our wedding, but Covid meant that just wouldn’t be possible because I was worried they would catch the virus. “

Although they weren’t invited to her actual wedding on August 7, Katie’s surrogate “aunts and uncles” loved to share her excitement as she discussed her plans.

She said: “The wedding has been such a source of excitement for everyone – especially during the lockdown.”

Katie met Phil in September 2013 (Collect / PA Real Life).

She added: “We joked about having a ceremony at the care home and having flowers one day – then it quickly became real.”

Much to Katie’s delight, in August her senior executives suggested that she have a second house party, where they would arrange for her and Phil to have a blessing – inviting her favorite residents to celebrate with she.

“The residents were so excited,” she said.

She added: “After the invitations went out, everyone was talking about what they were going to wear and really got into the preparations.”

So, she donned her wedding dress for the blessing, before enjoying a delicious buffet, based on the couple’s original wedding breakfast – all courtesy of the house.

But the real highlight of the show was the recreation of Katie’s three-tier wedding cake, lovingly prepared by the in-house chef, Tom Ferrol.

“It was really amazing,” Katie said.

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“We tried to keep it as similar as possible to the original day – keeping the food similar for the buffet and the chef, who made my original wedding cake, recreated it for the residents.

“It was mind blowing, I couldn’t believe he had done it again!”

Overwhelmed by her second big day, Katie is so grateful that she was able to celebrate with the residents who mean so much to her.

“They are really like my aunts and uncles, we are all so close and we really bonded.

“Phil and I are part of a whole different family because of them and it’s so sweet.”

And one of his biggest fans, Jean Drivers, 88, who lives at the Manor House, enjoyed every second of this special day.

She said, “Katie is a wonderful caregiver and it was a lot of fun celebrating her and Phil. Congratulations to both of them, many more happy years!

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