Fire at church nearly derailed couple’s plans

Rachel Reid and Peter Bovey had a memorable wedding day
Rachel Reid and Peter Bovey had a memorable wedding day

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Not many brides could stay calm if the church they were due to get married in was badly damaged by fire just a few months before their big day.

But Rachel Reid was determined not to get upset when a small fire caused considerable smoke damage at St Thomas a Becket Church in Warblington.

Rachel and Peter Bovey were just 13 weeks away from their wedding when they were told the venue would have to be changed.

So they set about telling everyone their wedding had been moved to St Peter’s Church, Hayling Island, and put the setback behind them.

‘There’s not many brides who can say the church they’re getting married in has had a big fire 13 weeks before their big day,’ says Rachel. ‘I’d set my heart on getting married there but I just thought “We’ve got to get on with it as well as we can”.

‘We got married and that’s what was important.’

The couple, from Havant, were delighted when they woke up on the morning of their wedding day to find the sun was shining.

Rachel’s son Josh, 20, proudly walked her down the aisle without the aid of the crutches he’d been using following an accident. And daughters Olivia, 15, Emily and Charlotte, both 13, and Francesca, two, did a great job as bridesmaids.

After a memorable service at St Peter’s, the newlyweds travelled to their reception at the Brookfield Hotel, Emsworth, in a an open-top horse-drawn carriage.

‘We couldn’t have hoped for a nicer day,’ adds Rachel. ‘It was a very laid-back wedding and the day was beautiful, as well as the weather.’

Rachel and Peter headed off to Lulworth Cove in Dorset after the wedding and took in the sights, including the famous Durdle Door rock arch.

‘Some friends had bought us some Moet Champagne and we took that, bought some fresh fish kebabs, put the Champagne in the sea to cool and sat on the beach with a disposable barbecue,’ says Rachel. ‘It was really nice.’

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