You don’t get very many weddings like that of Mike and Peta Yates.
The couple, who are childhood friends, tied the knot in spectacular steampunk style at Holy Trinity Church, Gosport on June 10.
What’s steampunk, you ask? Well, despite the name, it has nothing to do with the Sex Pistols or Fred Dibnah.
Based on the visions of authors such as Jules Verne and HG Wells, it is a style and ethos which draws on a vision of the future intertwined with the pivotal steam-powered charm of the Victorian era.
52-year-old Peta, who is a full-time foster carer, says: ‘Originally we discovered steampunk while we were looking for an outfit for Mike’s son’s wedding 18 months ago.
‘When we found these pictures of steampunk outfits, we thought it was amazing.
‘The brilliant thing about steampunk is that there’s no right and no wrong,’ adds self-employed gardener Mike, 51. ‘It’s whatever you desire your steampunk look to be.’
Mike and Peta, both from Gosport, became friends as pupils at St Vincent Secondary School, and kept in touch on and off before entering into a relationship around nine years ago.
‘We both got divorced around the same time,’ Mike explains. ‘We were friends anyway, and eventually it just blossomed.’
Before they discovered steampunk, the couple bonded over a mutual love for HG Wells’ opus War Of The Worlds, and they have since been to see the onstage adaptation of the legendary sci-fi novel six times.
Mike and Peta joined the Gosport Steampunk Society after meeting the founders by coincidence at an event in Lincoln – one of the biggest steampunk fairs in Europe, and then again at a Michaelmas fair in Alverstoke.
Completely immersed in the culture, their wedding was an extravaganza of top hats, cogs and – of course – cannons.
‘We had been saving every penny we could for two years, and everybody thoroughly enjoyed the wedding,’ says Peta.
‘Funnily enough, there was never any real nerves because we had such a good idea of how we wanted the day to be.
‘It was so relaxed that I didn’t even have a speech planned!’
After honeymooning in Cancun, the couple are already excited for the steampunk society’s next meeting at the Royal Navy Submarine Museum in September.
‘She is such a kind and gentle person,’ says Mike of his new bride. ‘She’ll put everyone else before her, and that’s a lovely way to be.
‘We bounce off each other with ideas, and there’s never any arguments.’
‘Mike likes everything that I like,’ adds Peta. ‘He even liked Mamma Mia and came up to see the musical with me and the kids and enjoyed it. Not many blokes can say that!’