Newlyweds mark wedding day at bookshop where they had their first date

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A couple who had their first date at an Oxford bookshop made a return visit on their wedding day.

Avid readers Janine, 24, and Joe Shuter, 37, surprised staff at Blackwell’s bookshop shortly after tying the knot, with their wedding photographer Lucy Judson capturing the moment.

Mrs Shuter told the PA news agency: “For us, Blackwell’s means everything.

“It is history, and because it is local – and don’t get me wrong, we still shop at Amazon, it’s about what you can afford – but we know how important local bookshops are.

“We really wanted to make sure we found some sort of way, even on a Covid-restricted wedding day, to give back, by spending money at a local bookshop.”

The couple, who met through work six years ago and who have an 880-strong collection of books, asked their wedding guests for vouchers, which they used to buy more books – including Romeo And Juliet.

“That first date was really special because we had both grown up with a massive love of literacy, even though we are both dyslexic. We both love local bookshops, sitting in and having a cup of coffee. It felt only right to include it on our wedding day,” said Mrs Shuter.

She said: “We walked in like it was completely normal, and it took the staff behind the till about 10 seconds before they realised.

Janine and Joe Shuter at the bookshop (Lucy Judson Photography)

“I just felt so lucky, and really grateful.”

Staff at the store gifted them some books, an “old-fashioned blank book” and even gave the happy couple a discount on their purchases, before letting them take photos in the store.

Among the books bought by the couple were Eight Ghosts: The English Heritage Book Of New Ghost Stories, An Unnecessary Woman by Rabih Alameddine, and Sudden Traveller by Sarah Hall.

Bookseller Charlie Bush said: “The wedding day visit from the newlyweds completely made our day here at Blackwell’s. We were so delighted that they spent some of their special day with us and picked up lots of books as wedding presents.

Janine and Joe at the shop on their wedding day (Lucy Judson Photography)

“Our Broad Street shop has been the site of many dates and even a number of proposals over the years, so it was a real delight for wedding day celebrations to visit our bookshop this week.

“Books and reading are real personal passions and there’s no better place for a first date than a bookshop – who knows where it might lead?”

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