Lifestyles assistant at Hastings Court care home, Chloe Oliver-Taylor, and her partner, Matt, were planning a wedding celebration with 70 family members and friends at Crowhurst Park in Battle in October. But the pandemic meant their party was cut to just 15, their vows were shortened, and they weren’t allowed to exchange rings.

Chloe’s colleagues at Hastings Court stepped up and, with the residents’ help, created the big wedding the couple had been hoping for. After celebrating the impending nuptials with a hen party in the home’s bistro, Lifestyles Manager, Kimberley Mann, set about organising the big day – which was also about creating memories for the residents.

Chloe’s arrival at the care home

“We wanted to bring a bit of magic into the home and that’s exactly what we did,” she said. “Residents can’t make memories with their families at the moment or go out and be part of these kinds of events, so we thought we’d bring that experience to them. It really made them feel like they were part of Chloe’s big day.”

Matt, who volunteers with the lifestyles team when he’s not working as an emergency medical technician, chose resident David Lee as his best man, as the two regularly went fishing together before the lockdown. Resident, Roger Taylor, walked Chloe down the aisle and Clare Braybon, who’s lived at the home for four years, fulfilled a lifelong dream to be a bridesmaid at the age of 60: “It was a wish come true for me,” said Clare. “It was a wonderful day and I still can’t believe I can keep my dress!”

The couple cut the cake

Chloe had stopped off at the home on the way to the real ceremony so the residents could see her dress and wish her well: “The residents are like family to me, I tell them everything, so they had to be part of my big day!” she said. “I couldn’t have a full service or a proper reception then, and I am so grateful that I could do those things with everyone at Hastings Court.”

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