When Natalie and Stephen’s children declared they would only be a family once the pair were married, there was only one thing for it.
The couple had met on a dating website in January 2012 and, prior to meeting, would talk for hours on the phone before eventually meeting up for coffee in Morecambe where Natalie, a groups account manager from Preston, was living at the time.
On July 27, 2013, Natalie and Stephen were spending a romantic weekend away in York.
“Stephen had booked a surprise meal at a restaurant within the city walls that was underground and lit solely by candlelight,” says Natalie.
Stephen, a warehouse supervisor from Manchester, had arranged for them to have a private area all to themselves and when dessert arrived, Natalie was in for a suprise.
“There was a little silver box with my dessert and I just thought it contained mints for the after dinner coffee so I ignored it,” says Natalie.
“It was only when Stephen said to take a closer look I realised it said, ‘Natalie Willmore, will you marry me’ on it. It was a total shock for me and there were quite a lot of tears.”
During a family holiday to Lanzarote the following month, the pair decided they would like to marry without any complications.
“Our children had said that we would only be a family once Stephen and I were married,” says Natalie, “so on our return we booked a surprise wedding and told no one of our plans.”
The pair arranged everything in secret and, the night before, broke the news to their children.
“All four of them were in shock - the girls were crying tears of joy and when Stephen asked Billy to be his best man he was smiling from ear to ear.”
The couple were married at Preston Register Office on December 20.
“We had a Jaguar car to take us all to the registry office but I ended up being early so the registrar asked us to go around the block again,” adds Natalie.
The newlyweds were joined by a couple of surprise guests and, after they signed the register, witnessed by Stephen’s grandmother, Irene Maguire, they made their way into the crisp December air to Take That’s ‘Rule The World’ and to a reception at Tiggi’s restaurant.
“It was the best Christmas present we could have ever given our children to be officially declared a family,”
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