Wedding: Emma Downs and Neil Patterson
They spend time apart and they've battled an illness '“ but what might seem like things that could break them have only made this Gosport couple stronger and more appreciative of what they have together.
Six years ago 23-year-old Emma Downs was introduced to the love of her life, 31-year-old Sean Patterson, by her brother.
Emma, who is a health care assistant, says: ‘Sean is a Leading Hand in the Royal Navy and he was on the same ship as my brother.
‘For our first date we went to the cinema and for a meal at Gunwharf.
‘I remember being nervous but excited – I knew as soon as I met him how I felt.
The couple became official about a month after their first date, but didn’t get to spend a lot of time together because Sean was working away. Emma adds: ‘Being apart definitely made the time we did spend together more special, and our relationship actually moved more quickly because of that.’
In 2014 Sean surprised Emma by proposing to her at his home in Blackpool.
‘I had no idea he was going to do it because we’d never discussed it,’ she says.
‘There were definitely some happy tears!’
Two years on from the proposal and the pair have just married at the Square Tower, Old Portsmouth, in the company of 60 friends and family members. They had their reception on board HMS Warrior in the evening with an extra 40 guests.
Emma’s bridesmaids were her friends Samantha Didymus, 23, Paris Crabtree, 26, Sheree Radford, 30, and Sean’s sister Jennifer Patterson, 29. Friend Lauren Colebourne, 25, was a witness. Sean’s best man was his friend Christopher Hayward, 32, and the ushers were Emma’s brother Harry Downs, 26, friends Philip Nicholson and Gareth Powell, both 31.
Bright blue skies helped to make the couple’s day perfect, but so did the fact they overcame so much to get there.
Emma says: ‘I was diagnosed with lymphoma in 2011 and now I’m in remission.
‘I had to have chemotherapy for six months but we got through it, so our wedding day was like a celebration of that too.
‘If we can get through that we can get through anything. It made us stronger and brought us closer together.
‘It was a perfect, beautiful day, and it was nice to see our families together.’
The couple travelled to Mauritius for 10 days after the wedding, and would like to thank their parents for helping with the planning and the making of the wedding cake.
Emma adds: ‘Sean is kind and very caring, I just know he’s the one.’