Visitors to a Bournemouth wedding fayre found themselves guests at real-life nuptials as five couples took turns to renew their wedding vows.
The Days Hotel Marsham Court in Russell Cotes Road, Bournemouth, asked people to send in memories of their big day for the chance of winning a complimentary renewal ceremony.
The five winning couples, who have all tied the knot at the hotel during the last 27 years, received a complete renewal package, with a bespoke ceremony, bucks fizz and canapés for themselves and up to eight guests, flowers, a cake, photography and a sea view room with dinner and breakfast.
Among the couples were Peter and Clare Kendrick, from Bournemouth, who entered the competition after their original wedding, on June 28 this year, was blighted when loved ones were caught up in the French air traffic control strikes.
Clare, a shop manager said: “My mum and my nan missed our wedding in June which was devastating.
“Having them here to see us renew our vows was very emotional, but one of the happiest days of my life.
“My nan is also very ill, so it has been especially poignant.”
Mrs Kendrick’s mother, Maxine Lambert, who lives in Spain, said: “Being stuck in another country on my daughter’s wedding day was one of the worst days of my life.
“But seeing Clare in her wedding dress today, saying her vows in the garden, overlooking the sea, has been absolutely wonderful.
“Myself and my mum are very grateful to the hotel for giving us the opportunity to share it at last.”
Gareth and Natalie Down’s wedding renewal was equally emotional.
The couple from Weymouth, married on May 11, 2010 having met when Natalie’s car broke down and Gareth ‘rescued’ her in his breakdown truck.
They entered the competition to re-affirm their wedding vows after suffering painful years of infertility, including two miscarriages.
Celebrant Diana Saxby, of Grace The Day, gifted her services free to all five couples, and also provided Natalie and Gareth with a butterfly release during their ceremony to symbolise new beginnings and hope.
Natalie, a vet nurse from Chickerell said: “We start IVF treatment in October and are full of hope for the future.
“The renewal has been an amazingly happy day after many sad ones and we are so grateful to the hotel for making it possible.”
Following her wedding renewal, Natalie was rather unceremoniously dumped in the sea by her husband.
She explained: “A friend of mine’s three year old son, William Atkinson, from Swanage, has leukaemia.
“I decided to ask people to sponsor me to take a dip in the sea at Bournemouth, in my wedding dress, to help his family meet the costs associated with his treatment.
“It was pretty chilly in the water but nothing compared to what they are going through.”
All five renewal ceremonies took place during the Days Hotel Marsham Court Wedding Fayre on Sunday September 14, between 12pm-4pm, with each couple renewing their vows in the garden wedding pagoda.
General Manager and Director Rosie Wallace said: “The renewals created a huge buzz around the wedding fayre and all the staff, and I expect many guests, were honoured to witness the couples’ beautiful ceremonies.”
Flowers for the couples were provided free of charge by Hillview Flowers & Events, wedding cakes by Speciality Cakes of Kinson and photography from Bridle Photography.
Visitors to the wedding fayre also enjoyed displays by a range of specialist wedding suppliers. Plus two Bridal Fashion Shows by Wedding Bridal Boutique.
A collection was also made for the Wessex Cancer Trust.