LOVE really was like a merry-go-round for a Hartlepool couple who celebrated their marriage at a carnival.
Gemma and Matthew Neesam got engaged a year ago on a night out to the annual Headland Carnival, in Hartlepool.
And 12 months later after tying the knot in the Headland’s Borough Hall, the lovebirds re-lived their engagement memories with a trip to the fairground where they took rides on the big wheel, the tea-cup ride, and the waltzers.
The loved-up pair drew many glances from other fair-goers as they laughed and smiled their way around their favourite rides in full wedding attire, before treating themselves to some traditional carnival candy-floss and hotdogs.
Gemma, 30, said: “It was just mad and it was perfectly us. I was worried about my tiara falling off when we were spinning round on the waltzers but everything was fine. It was so much fun and we absolutely love the pictures. My dad had said to me ‘you’re not going on the waltzers in your dress’, and I said to him, ‘try and stop me’.
“It’s something completely different that I’ve never seen anywhere before, and the memories will last forever. It was very meaningful to us.”
Gemma and Matthew, 24, a fisherman, met after being unknowingly set up by his match-making sister Joanne Neesam two years ago.
Joanne and Gemma were working together in The Hospital of God, in Greatham Village, at the time, and Joanne, a care assistant, kept inviting her brother on nights out.
The pair became friendly, romance blossomed and they soon started courting. Gemma, nee Sollett, who is mum to three-year-old son Jacob Frankland from a previous relationship, said: “Matthew always said he’d wanted to take me on a date to the Headland Carnival but we never got round to it.
“So last year we took Jacob and then got a babysitter for the night and went ourselves. He asked me to the Tea Gardens on the Headland to show me the views and he was shaking. He got down on one knee and he said; ‘you are going to marry me’ and put the ring on my finger!
“I said yes obviously and I just cried.”
She added: “It was after that we went to the carnival and went on all the rides and we both said it would be lovely if we could have a carnival wedding.”
After the funfair visit, the couple, along with 20 family members and friends, had a meal in Mary Rowntrees on the Headland, and then had an evening reception for 100 guests at the Belle Vue Social Club, in Kendal Road, Hartlepool.Gemma, who moved to Hartlepool from Guisborough 10 years ago while studying at Cleveland College of Art and Design, and Matthew, who hails from the Headland, are delaying a honeymoon for the time being as they are moving from their home in Furness Street, in the town centre, to Duncan Road, in Rossmere, in a few weeks.
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