Southsea childhood sweethearts finally enjoy their happy ending

More than two decades after Andre Guedeney and Cara Crichton, from Southsea first met, the couple tied the knot with a traditional ceremony at St. Swithuns Church on Waverley Road.

Tuesday, 5th October 2021, 5:12 pm
Cara and Andre arrive at their wedding reception, The Queens Hotel. Naomi Lloyd Photography

After a memorable street send-off from Beryl Jones and other neighbours, the couple began their special day joined by three-year-old daughter and bridesmaid, Layla, and about 80 guests.

Cara, 40, says she has always dreaded walking down the aisle, but with the help of Creatiques Bridal Boutique on Albert Road, that all changed.

‘When it actually came to it, I absolutely loved it. Something about seeing everything you’ve spent time planning, coming together in front of you is wonderful,’ she says.

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Cara and Andre with family at St. Swithuns Church in Southsea. Naomi Lloyd Photography

Cara and Andre were met by a Herbie VW Beetle to whisk them to their reception at the Queens Hotel, which had a ‘jazz-club feel’ thanks to The Midnight Blues Jazz Quartet, a Gosport-based band.

When the couple first dated in their youth, Cara gifted Andre a Jack Daniels Zippo and he told her he would save it for when they were married.

On the day of their wedding, in a touching tribute to this moment, Andre laid candles on each table at the reception and invited guests to pass around the lighter, lighting them in memory of guests who could not be with them.

Cara and Andre's tying the knot at St. Swithuns Church in Southsea. Naomi Lloyd Photography

This was followed by a ‘beautiful’ rendition of Ave Maria sung by Andre’s mum and two sisters. Andre’s youngest brother Alf also played the piano as Cara walked down the aisle.

There was also an unexpectedly emotional speech from Cara’s parents, which set the tone for an evening they will never forget.

Cara says: ‘I know everybody loves their wedding, but it really was one of those days I wish I could do all over again. Being around all my closest friends and family was something I could appreciate even more having not been able to do it for so long.’

Andre proposed a year ago on his birthday, outside Osborne House on the Isle of Wight.

Cara and Andre's wedding. Naomi Lloyd Photography

Andre, 41, says: ‘I asked a worker to take a picture as I got on one knee. I got our daughter Layla a ring too so she felt she was part of the experience.’

The couple met when they were 14 at the Southsea shop where Andre worked.

It was then owned by his parents and known as La Croissanterie.

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Cara's Herbie VW Beetle for arrival at her wedding. Naomi Lloyd Photography

Andre has since taken the reins of the business, with his cousin Antony, renaming the shop on Osborne Road, Andre’s Food Bar.

For Andre, Cara made a lasting impression: ‘I just fell in love instantly’. But Cara isn’t so sure. ‘It took him a while to pluck up the courage to ask me out,’ she says.

Andre and Cara began dating when they were 18, staying together for three years. They remained friends when Andre set off to work a ski season in the French Alps while Cara taught English in Italy.

When the couple reunited six years ago, ‘it all just seemed to fall into place, the timing was right,’ says Cara.

The couple’s honeymoon in London was cancelled because of Covid restrictions, but now they are planning a trip to Disneyland in November, with Layla and their in-laws.

A message from the editor, Mark Waldron.

Cara with bridesmaids before her wedding. Naomi Lloyd Photography

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