When Gemma Chick and James Cloke used to walk past the Queen’s Hotel in Southsea, little did they know they would be getting married there.
But that’s exactly what happened when Gemma and James, both 29, tied the knot in an intimate ceremony at the venue. The couple were joined by their two children – Nicole, seven, who was their flower girl and bridesmaid and Jack, five, who was their page boy and best man. Both also carried the rings for their parents.
Gemma says: ‘We both wanted a small ceremony. My dad Alan died when I was 13, so I couldn’t imagine having a big wedding without him.
‘It was a lovely day – the kids absolutely loved it.’
She adds that the highlight of the day was ‘seeing Jamie cry’. She says: ‘He’s a typical man – he doesn’t show any emotion – so when I saw him burst into tears as I walked down the aisle I was like “Gotcha!”. That was my wedding gift to him.’
Gemma met James, who she calls Jamie, on a caravanning holiday in Newquay in 2004.
Jamie’s the male version of me and I’m the female version of himGemma Cloke, 29
She says: ‘Him and his mates were in the caravan next to ours, but it wasn’t until the last night when he fell out of their taxi back that I noticed him! We sat together and chatted, and then exchanged numbers.’
The pair met up in London shortly after, and when Gemma moved down to Portsmouth to attend university James moved down here too.
The couple now live in Leighton Buzzard, but returned to Portsmouth for their wedding.
Gemma says: ‘When I was studying here we used to go for walks along the seafront and I always used to say how much I wanted to go to the Queen’s Hotel.’
The secret to their marriage, according to Gemma, is knowing what each other is thinking.
‘Jamie’s the male version of me and I’m the female version of him,’ she says.