The last time there was a wedding at Amy Fuller’s local church, Harold Wilson was prime minister, the Bay City Rollers were in the charts and petrol cost 16p a litre.
Now 37 years on, Amy and Des Whendero have become the first couple in a generation to say ‘I do’ at Zion Congregational Church in Hyde.
The ceremony also marked a number of other firsts.
It was the first wedding at the Peel Street church’s new building, and the first at which Pastor David Hardiman had presided since becoming a minister three-and-a-half years ago.
Payroll clerk Amy, 24, said: “We wanted to get married there as we go to that church and I have done since I was 12.
“At first, we didn’t know it had been so long and although I knew there had never been a wedding in the new church building it was only when they looked at the church records that we found out it had been more than 30 years.
“It was a great day, wonderful, with about 100 to 120 people at the church and David did really well!” It’s unlikely that the last wedding, back in January 1975, was much like Des and Amy’s.
Des, 32, who works at the Manchester College, is originally from Zimbabwe so the ceremony included some African traditions – including a few which were a complete surprise to the bride and groom.
Following the vows the minister addressed the congregation in Des’s mother tongue, Shona, to the delight of the groom and his family.
Pastor Hardiman said: “It was a complete surprise and it was all done by friends. My daughter asked a friend of hers from school whose parents are from Zimbabwe and they translated it for me and then another friend helped with the pronunciation.
“Listening back to the tape, Des’s reaction was ‘oh man!’ and his family went wild and no one was expecting it!”
Pastor Hardiman added: “I was surprised when I realised it had been so long since the last wedding, but in a way I understand as the old building, which was demolished in 1997, had fallen in to disrepair.
“We’re only a relatively small community but we do hope that there will be more weddings in the years as we have some active younger members like Amy and Des.
I don’t think we will have to wait another 37 years for one!”
Zion Congregational Church....
....and as it used to look