A sparkling Christmas wedding for Cowplain couple
On a cold December day in New York's Central Park, Gary Bolton got down on one knee and asked his girlfriend Andrea Perkins for her hand in marriage.
Christmas was in the air – and the Cowplain couple became engaged on December 7, 2018, on Bow Bridge, known as one of the top proposal spots in the world.
And a year to the day Gary and Andrea tied the knot with a festive wedding ceremony at Southdowns Manor, lit up with fairy lights and sparklers.
‘It was one of the happiest days of my life,’ says Andrea, as she reminisces her special day.
On November 5, 2012, Gary and Andrea met while she was working at Cowplain Community Pre-School. One conversation led to another and the couple soon became an item.
Six years whizzed by and the couple, both 44, booked a Christmas trip to New York. But much to Andrea’s surprise, she returned home with a ring on her finger.
She explains: ‘It was in Central Park and we were on one of the bicycle sightseeing tours.
‘We were on Bow Bridge, which is known as the proposal bridge, and the tour guide asked if we wanted pictures.
‘Gary proposed then, so we have lovely pictures of him actually doing it.
‘It was lovely, magical and Christmassy.’
When the couple were back on home turf at Cowplain, they started planning for their big day.
‘It was quite overwhelming though – there was so much choice and so many options,' says Andrea, who now works for the NHS in child health.
‘Compared to when I first got married 20 years ago, there were only three places you could go to get your wedding dress.’
‘I was really excited, then was quite overwhelmed and then had to get on with it,’ she laughs.
Gary, a business analyst, and Andrea chose Southdowns Manor, near Rogate, as their wedding venue and Andrea says ‘the whole day was perfect’.
‘I was very calm leading up to it. I didn’t feel stressed,’ adds Andrea.
‘Both my sons walked my maid of honour and my daughter down the aisle first.
‘Then it was just me and my dad. I couldn’t believe it was really happening so I had a bit of a teary moment.’
The Boltons married in front of 60 family and friends before continuing the celebration later at the manor with another 30 guests.
Andrea laughs and says: ‘I really wanted the sparklers and that was one of the highlights for me.
‘Just seeing everybody having a good time was also a highlight.
‘It was the first time both our families had met – even our dads hadn’t met before.
‘Gary’s family are from Wales so they travelled for it.
‘It was quite special. I still can’t believe it’s been and gone.’
The newlyweds are now looking forward to their honeymoon in Dubai and the Maldives in the new year.
Andrea says she is still as in love with Gary as when she first met him.
She smiles and says: ‘Gary is the kindest man I have ever met.
‘He makes me laugh and smile all the time.’
Pictures by Carla Mortimer Photography: carlamortimerweddingphotography.co.uk