IT’S certainly a handy place to have a wedding if guests need those last-minute gifts.
Almost 200 guests cheered with delight on the first floor of the Meridian Centre in Havant as they welcomed newlyweds Rachel and Jon Rous.
The young couple walked proudly through the shopping centre to their wedding reception.
Rachel, 24, was dressed in an elegant white gown and was congratulated by surprised traders and shoppers.
The couple tied the knot at St Faith’s Church in Havant and had their reception at The Beacon, which is the home of Portsdown Community Church on the first floor of the Meridian Centre.
Wedding photographs were taken on the internal staircase of the shopping mall, with stores such as Wilkinson and Holland & Barrett in the background.
Rachel, whose maiden name is Upton and who grew up in Waterlooville, said: ‘I’m very happy with it. I go to a church at the top of the Meridian Centre and it feels like home here. It was really nice to hear the public supporting us and being genuine and happy.’
The couple met two years ago and work together at a Christian outdoor activity centre in Abernethy, Scotland.
Jon, 25, originally from Oxford, said: ‘I wouldn’t change it for the world now.
‘We have made it really work.
‘Having the wedding reception in the Meridian is something different and it’s been great.’
Rachel’s mum Jacquie Upton, of Kingsway, Hayling Island, said: ‘I think it’s a really good place to have a wedding where there’s lots of people.
‘It’s about being part of the community.’
Ruth Scott, community projects manager at Portsdown Community Church, said: ‘A few years ago was the last time we had one.
‘It’s a bit of an event.
‘Everyone pulls together and we have decorated it all with fairy lights and flowers.’
Meridian trader Stephanie Willis, 57, who runs a fruit and vegetable stall, said: ‘She looked lovely.
‘I think it’s a good idea. It’s something different.’