Farlington couple tie the knot at iconic Historic Dockyard where they had their first date

A couple’s surprise family connection and love of all things retro was echoed in a stunning wedding shoot at Portsmouth Historic Dockyard.

Tuesday, 23rd November 2021, 2:23 pm
Updated Tuesday, 23rd November 2021, 2:23 pm
John and Sian Porter's wedding at the Boathouse, Portsmouth Dockyard. Credit: Naomi Lloyd Photography.

When John and Sian Porter experienced cloudy disruptions to their wedding plans in May this year, they decided to turn them into a silver lining, and hold two weddings in one year.

After rescheduling their initial wedding three times, they began to realise the celebration they had planned in May would not be what they had wanted because of Covid-19 restrictions. So the couple decided to have another.

John, 43, says: ‘Our first wedding was at a local register office. We couldn’t do much else other than go to McDonald’s for our first wedded meal together… the look on the girl’s face in the drive-through booth was priceless.’

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John and Sian Porter's wedding at the Boathouse, Portsmouth Dockyard. Credit: Naomi Lloyd Photography.

Their second wedding, or ‘blessing’, was four months later on September 11, a church service at Bedhampton followed by a sit-down meal at Becketts, Southsea.

The day of celebration finished with a post-wedding party at the Boathouse in Portsmouth Historic Dockyard – the place where the Farlington couple had their first date.

John says Sian, 30, was stressed in the countdown to their big day so he assured her the worst that could happen would be a lack of alcohol.

John and Sian Porter's wedding. Credit: Naomi Lloyd Photography.

‘My biggest fear was the beer running out,’ he recalls. ‘I knew everything else would be fine. We wanted everyone to just drink and have a good time and that’s what we did.’

The fun-loving pair, who took a sabbatical five years ago to travel the world, threw the traditional reception buffet cuisine out of the window and gave their 175 guests a retro sweet station featuring old-school classics such as flying saucers and cola bottles.

‘We’re Portsmouth born ’n’ bred, both of us,’ says John. ‘I grew up in Waterlooville and Sian in Hilsea.’

The couple, who met working at a recruitment company in Havant, had known each other for about a year before that first date at the Historic Dockyard in 2013.

John and Sian Porter's wedding. Credit: Naomi Lloyd Photography.

And during their visit the pair discovered they shared a remarkable link – John’s dad and Sian’s grandad had been work colleagues and friends for more than 20 years.

‘We were on Warrior. The Isle of Wight ferry went by and I mentioned my dad had spent his whole career working for Wightlink.

‘Sian said "what was his name?” I asked why and she said “my grandad was John Forrest”. ‘I said oh my god my dad used to talk about him all the time,’ John says.

The spot became significant to the couple who have continued to revisit the location, knowing they would one day want to recreate the pose, on their special day, of the iconic statue based on the VJ Day photograph of a US sailor kissing a girl in Times Square.

Animal-lovers John and Sian were engaged two years ago in an ‘awesome’ restaurant overlooking the jungle in Bali. ‘I was rubbish, I sort of bumbled something out but I booked us a nice meal in the hotel we were in. She looked lovely,’ says John.

The jet-setters shared a ‘cheap and cheerful’ trip to Cyprus after their blessing and say their official honeymoon is yet to come.

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