Festive Theo’s an extra special wedding present for Oxfordshire couple

Meet Theo Shelton, a tiny bundle of festive joy who was determined to be a part of his parents’ wedding.

Theo made his entry into the world as an early Christmas present on December 1, nearly six weeks before his expected arrival.

It meant proud parents Liam and Jessie had a little more on their plate to consider as they prepared for their wedding on December 8. But Theo proved a shining star and the big day at Didcot Registration Office went without a hitch.

The wedding was organised through Oxfordshire County Council’s Registration Service and was enjoyed by nearly 25 of Liam and Jessie’s family and friends.

Christmas and New Year weddings represent one of the busiest times of the year for the service, which also oversees the registration of births, deaths, civil partnerships, citizenship and naming ceremonies among its many duties.

That service is all part of the county council’s commitment to thriving communities – helping people live safe, healthy lives and play an active part in their community.

Emergency Caesarean

All was going according to plan for Liam and Jessie as they prepared for their wedding at Didcot Registration Office.

Jessie, 20, had felt a little unwell as she shopped for wedding bits on November 30 and had fallen asleep while Liam, 23, was playing on his Xbox.

She woke up and realised her waters had broken, prompting a drive to the Medical Assessment Unit at Oxford’s John Radcliffe Hospital.

Theo was in breech so he was born by emergency Caesarean at 4.03pm the following day, weighing 5lb 4oz. That meant an anxious wait to see if mother and baby would be allowed home from hospital in time to make the wedding a week later.

Jessie explained: “I was determined to go ahead with it and they kept reassuring me everything would be ok. Our family and friends had booked places to stay so I didn’t want to cancel.

“We eventually got out of hospital at 7pm on the Friday. That night we went out for a meal with all the family and the next day we were married.”

‘Everything we wanted it to be’

The wedding at Didcot Registration Office was followed by a reception at Boundary House in Abingdon.

“The wedding was everything we wanted it to be,” said Jessie. “Having Theo there made it even more complete. He was dressed in a little panda suit in his car seat and stayed silent through the whole service.

“Every time he woke that day it was like pass the parcel. Everyone wanted to have a hold. The whole day was just perfect.”

To round off a manic few weeks for the couple, on December 12 they moved to barracks in Didcot where Liam is a sapper with 11 Explosive Ordnance Disposal Regiment RLC.

Deputy Superintendent Registrar Sally Gardner, who conducted the ceremony, said: “Every wedding is unique but this was extra special.

“Liam and Jessie had wanted to get married and move home before the baby’s arrival, but in the event Theo preceded them both. He’s a beautiful little baby and it was a wonderful ceremony.”

Special time of year

This Christmas and New Year, nearly 30 weddings organised by the Registration Service will be held across Oxfordshire.

Two are taking place on Christmas Eve – in Abingdon and Oxford – with three on December 27, eight on December 28, 10 on December 29, one on December 30 and five on New Year’s Eve. None are scheduled on New Year’s Day.

Alicja Gilroy, Superintendent Registrar based at Oxford Register Office, said it was always an extra special time of the year to get married.

“Often people like to get married at Christmas-time because they have family and friends staying with them, or it’s easier for family and friends to get time off work,” she said.

“I think people also find it quite a romantic time of the year. There’s something quite magical about Christmas and we can dress up venues with trees, holly and decorations over the fireplace.

“Now you can get married at any time day or night there’s a lot more flexibility. Everyone is a little happier this time of the year, so why wouldn’t you get married?”

The Registration Service has conducted about 2,300 weddings across Oxfordshire this year, which Alicja said was a similar figure to 2017.

“We had a bumper year in 2016, when weddings went up to about 2,500, but we’re still not really sure why. It’ll be interesting to see what effect Brexit has on 2019, but we’re expecting a busy year in 2020 because it’s a special number.”

You can contact the Registration Service on 0345 241 2489 or click here for more information.