See how other local couples celebrated their big day with wedding stories and ideas from Your North East Wedding Real Weddings features.
Gemma and Laurens met at a Salvation Army summer camp in the Netherlands. "Laurens had attended every summer for years, while I was there for the first time as a volunteer," remembers Gemma. "We sat next to each other at breakfast and chatted about our mutual appreciation for Geordie Shore – despite Laurens' broken English! We became friends, and over the next 12 months, Laurens WhatsApped his way into my heart. After a year as a long-distance couple, he moved to the North East to be with me."
Unbeknown to Gemma, Laurens had asked for her dad's blessing to marry her back in 2019. "It was right before we moved to Canada for a year for my work," continues the bride. "Unfortunately, the pandemic hit, all the jewellery shops closed, and Laurens' proposal was put on hold. With plenty of time to chat thanks to the stay-at-home rules, we discussed our future and Laurens revealed his thwarted proposal plans. When things started to reopen, we went to a jewellers in Ottawa and designed my diamond and sapphire engagement ring together. However, the proposal itself was a surprise; Laurens got down on one knee at a secluded spot overlooking Maligne Lake during a trip to the Canadian Rockies. It was eight years to the day since we first got together."
The couple set their wedding for the 16th October, 2021, choosing St Peter's Church in Croft-on-Tees for the ceremony, followed by a reception at Rockliffe Hall. Here, Gemma tells us more about their amazing nuptials...
Vinaya and Tom first met while training to become lawyers and immediately clicked. They bonded over their mutual love of soul music, plus red wine, and have been inseparable ever since. Vinaya says, "Meeting when we were a bit older meant that we knew what we wanted in a partner. We knew we'd found the one and spent every day together during the lockdowns." She adds, "Our relationship felt very natural and like it was meant to be – everything has always happened very easily for us."
Patricia and Sean first met online, where they never expected to meet their lifelong partners. After messaging back and forth, the pair set off for their first date at Miller and Carter. Patricia says, "We had a nice meal while talking and getting to know each other more. We hit it off straight away and sealed the night with a romantic kiss."
Sean was captured by everything about Patricia and he loved how good she was with his son, which made him fall in love even more. He proposed on 28th November 2019 at the Palace of Culture and Science in Poland, which was three days after Patricia's 29th birthday and she was so surprised! They were enjoying the stunning views when he pulled out the ring, got down on one knee and asked her to marry him – the rest is history!
Holly and Jonathan first met while studying for a nursing degree at Northumbria University in 2013. After sitting at her first lecture, Holly noticed a good-looking guy sitting in a sea full of women. She says, "I was first attracted to Jon by his handsome looks, his ability to make me laugh and his Biffy Clyro band tee-shirt."
Jonathan knew Holly was special from the start. He says, "Holly is never afraid to get stuck in and she means the world to me. Her positive outlook and willingness to do the stupid things I enjoy doing, like plunging into the North Sea for a spot of surfing, really shows how much she cares."
Bethany and Adam's exciting journey started online on a dating site. After messaging back and forth, the pair realised they shared many mutual friends and couldn't believe they'd never met before. One Friday afternoon, Bethany and Adam decided to have drinks together in Newcastle and discovered that they shared a strong bond. Bethany says, "We were both single-parents and ended up visiting different soft plays with the boys, while getting to know each other better. After a few days out, the boys were inseparable and so were we!"
Online dating has become extremely popular over the last few years; that's exactly how Ben and Rebecca first met. When flicking through Tinder, Ben's profile caught her eye and she wanted to know more about him. She says, "We clicked straight away and our conversations never felt boring or awkward. We met in person a few weeks later and instantly felt comfortable in each other's company – it was like I'd known him for years!"
Graeme and Louise's love story began in 2004 during a trip to Prague with mutual friends where they instantly clicked. Louise says, "We had a strong connection and felt comfortable in each other's company – we knew straightaway that we would be together long term." During a holiday in Copenhagen later that year, the pair became a couple and created many beautiful memories.
Kamron and Ami first met in 2011 during a placement working for Xerox in Greater London. She says, "I was attracted to Kam's cool hair, his wit and intelligence. We just clicked as soon as we met and I think we've always known we'd found the one." In September 2019 at Dancing Ledge in Swanage, Dorset, Kamron asked Ami to marry him. She says, "I came back from a half-day at work and Kam had made us a fancy picnic to take down to the coast – I should have guessed something was up at that point! During the picnic, he asked me to look over the cliff's edge (slightly concerning) and took the ring out of his backpack and popped the question!"
Rebecca and Reece were first introduced through a friend and the rest is history! Overtime it became apparent that the two had something special and they shared so many lovely moments, celebrations and dreams together. Rebecca says, "I started to feel like without Reece I wouldn't be me, he's such an inspiring person and makes my life so much better. We slowly morphed into a team and started to achieve things we never thought we would and reached most of our life goals at such a young age – you can't do that with just anyone."
Dean and Victoria's love story began after spotting each other at a nightclub on Boxing Day back in 2015. Victoria says, "I was attracted to Dean instantly; I loved how kind and light-hearted he was. I knew he was the one during a surprise trip to Edinburgh for our first Valentine's Day, we had so many special moments and it felt 100 per cent right."
After meeting at work, Samantha and Andrew both lived a considerable distance from the office and decided it would be an excellent decision to car share together. Little did they know this would be the start of their adventure together. The more they learnt about each other, the more feelings started to develop. Samantha says: "We started spending a lot of time together outside of work and found that we had a lot of shared interests and knew how to make each other laugh!" It wasn't until Andrew went away for two weeks on holiday that they realised they shared something extraordinary – absence definitely made the heart grow fonder!