IT was a wedding to warm the hearts on a typical autumn day.
No amount of rain was going to stop Bride of the Year Elizabeth Richardson from smiling her way through a wedding she would never forget.
CHRIS CORDNER looks back on a glittering occasion when every dream came true for Elizabeth and her fiance Liam Turnbull. (See more pictures in Wednesday’s Mail)
“I am nervous beyond belief,” said anxious groom Liam Turnbull as he got ready on his biggest of days.
The 23-year-old groom, from the Chester Road area of Hartlepool, was set to marry Elizabeth Richardson, the winner of the Hartlepool Mail Bride of the Year competition run in conjunction with Robert Usher Photography.
Robert also provided all of the photographs from the wedding day.
“It’s the vows and the speeches that are causing it,” added Liam as he explained his nerves.
But helping him to keep it under control was best man Kiel Begley, 23, a long-time friend and, like Liam, a plater by trade.
Kiel was busy putting the finishing touches to his speech. “I’ll be trying to get some laughs. Just hope I succeed,” he said. He had nothing to worry about. He would later go down a storm at the reception.
And he was doing a fine job, too, in settling his close friend’s wedding jitters.
Elsewhere in town, Elizabeth, 23, a support worker and mum-of-one to Noah, aged ten months, was the picture of calmness as she got ready at her mum Angela’s house. She’d already enjoyed a fantastic morning filled with appointments for those all-important last minute preparations.
And then came the wow moment as she walked into the room in her wedding dress – white in a Grecian style with flower details.
“That is stunning”. “She looks gorgeous,” commented the truly stunned bridesmaids – Sarah Waite, 22, Simone Rayner, 23, Remi Atkinson, 20, and Olivia Atkinson, aged 11.
Elizabeth’s proud stepdad, Kevin Harris, 48, a nurse practitioner, admitted: “I have welled up twice in the last few hours. Once when I rehearsed my speech and now this. She looks beautiful”.
He paid tribute to photographer Robert Usher and said: “He has been running round doing an awful lot more than just taking photographs.”
Equally proud mum Angela, 48, said: “This is an emotional day but a good day.”
Soon, it was time to leave for the wedding venue (the Grand Hotel in Swainson Street) where Hartlepool’s deputy superintendent registrar Margaret Cosgrave was waiting in The Pipers Room – ready to marry the couple.
Before you knew it, Wagner’s Bridal Chorus was playing and Liam watched as his bride-to-be walked towards him, given away by Kevin.
“You look beautiful,” Liam told her.
Margaret expertly guided the couple through their finest moment and told their gathered friends and family: “Together they will be strong and take whatever life holds for them,” she said.
She described how Liam and Elizabeth had pledged not only their love for each other but the strength, the warmth and the fun of true friendship.
And then, after a nailbiting day of watching the hours tick by, they kissed for the first time as husband and wife.
Afterwards, Elizabeth said: “Today has been everything we could have hoped for and more.”
But there was more to come.
Behind the scenes, the skilled Grand Hotel team was preparing the three course wedding meal of cream and leek soup, topside of beef with Yorkshire pudding, and profiteroles.
Then came the speeches with praise for the “beautiful bride”, for Liam the hard-working and devoted family man, for the Hartlepool Mail, competition organiser Robert Usher and every one of the competition sponsors.
But the biggest and best surprise of them all came from Liam and Elizabeth’s own son Noah.
On his mum and dad’s wedding day, his first two teeth came through.
“What a day for that to happen,” said Liam.