On June 11, 2022, the first of these weddings took place at the luxury Apex Waterloo Place Hotel in Edinburgh.
Chosen from hundreds of applicants, each a front-line NHS worker and many with moving stories of wedding plans disrupted by the pandemic, Rebekah Brown and James Smith from Fife, were finally able to tie the knot in Edinburgh with a dream wedding provided by Apex Hotels.
Rebekah is a Specialist Biomedical Scientist working in the Pathology Department at Ninewells Hospital in Dundee. She returned to work at the beginning of the first lockdown after the birth of her second child.
“It was actually terrifying to be going back to work in a hospital, not knowing what to expect or how to keep my family safe,” Rebekah remembers.
The pandemic also ruined the couple’s plans for a dream wedding in Italy in September 2020.
“The restrictions meant we couldn’t be sure if the wedding would be able to go ahead or not, but we held out for as long as possible hoping that we’d be able to get married,” said Rebekah. “Eventually we had no choice but to cancel the wedding in June 2020. With relatives due to fly in from all over the world it just wasn’t going to work, but we were devastated.”
James explained: “We’ve been together for seven years, engaged since 2016 and we have two beautiful children. We were desperate to finally tie the knot and share our love for each other with our family and friends. Apex Hotels made our dream wedding a reality and we can’t thank them enough for giving us such a wonderful and memorable day. For that day to have been in the city where we had our first date, Edinburgh, made it even more special.”
Apex Hotels treated James and Rebekah to a complimentary complete wedding package, including a three-course wedding breakfast, drinks, evening buffet and upgraded wedding night accommodation. In addition, the couple were gifted other wedding essentials from some of Apex’s trusted suppliers. The event was captured digitally by Andy Hamilton Photography, flowers were provided by Carolyn Designer Florist and the evening party was kept in full swing by Dougie Robertson from Buena Vista. No Scottish wedding would be complete without a piper and James A Nicholl made sure this wedding had the traditional Scottish soundtrack. The wedding cake was also especially designed and made for the occasion by Apex’s own Food & Beverage Projects Manager, Susan Reid.
Having heard so many stories of sacrifice and hardship from NHS workers doing their utmost to keep us all safe during the pandemic, Apex Hotels wanted to say thank you. They came up with the idea to give away five dream wedding packages to front-line NHS workers whose lives had been disrupted because of COVID and partnered with Operation Recuperation to make it happen. Operation Recuperation worked with 20 of the hardest-hit hospital trusts throughout the pandemic and has gifted holidays, overnight stays and experiences to over 1,000 NHS staff and their loved ones.
Michael Stott, Commercial Director at Apex Hotels, said: “I can’t imagine what it must have been like for Rebekah, a mother of two very young children, to have to go into work in a hospital every day fearing that she might bring a potentially fatal disease home to her family. Then having to stand by and hope that her elderly grandparents would safely recover from infection with no way of helping them, as so many of us have experienced over the last few years. To then having to cancel her dream wedding in Italy where she and James wanted to declare their love for each other in front of their family and friends. It must have been quite the roller coaster of emotions for the couple for the last two years.
“I am absolutely delighted that, together with some great suppliers, were able to give them a fantastic wedding day to remember. Apex Hotels is a family-owned business and family values are important to us. Rebekah and James truly deserved a wonderful family celebration and we are thrilled to have been able to make it a reality for them.”
Rachel Sherwood, founder of Operation Recuperation, said: “I am so thrilled that Rebekah and James were able to celebrate their wedding in style thanks to Apex Hotels and their beautiful Georgian property, Apex Waterloo Place Hotel in the heart of Edinburgh. This is something we have been working on together for some time now and it is wonderful to see it come to fruition. A very deserving couple will have lifelong memories of a wonderful day and that is an incredibly special gift to be able to give.”
Apex Hotels kicked off its partnership with Operation Recuperation in 2021, gifting 10 overnight stays at its hotels across the UK to nominated NHS workers as a well-deserved break. Rebekah and James were the first couple to celebrate their dream wedding as a thank you from Apex Hotels. Four more deserving couples will be enjoying Apex Hotels weddings across the UK over the next few months.
Notes to editors
About Apex Hotels
In 1996 Apex Hotels opened its first property, in the heart of Edinburgh’s iconic Old Town, Apex Grassmarket Hotel. Developed by Scottish entrepreneur Norman Springford, Apex’s vision is to welcome the culture vultures, explorers and travellers of the world. The group, which is still family-owned, now boasts hotels in enviable city centre locations in Edinburgh, London, Glasgow, Dundee and Bath. Apex Hotels is a luxury hotel chain that embraces the personality of each location while offering the consistently excellent standards expected whether the occasion is business, leisure, or a celebration.