A Hartlepool couple have insisted they will not allow their dream wedding to be ruined as they fly out to crisis-hit Turkey tomorrow.
Rachael Wray, 29, and Graham Ryan, 36, from Seaton Carew, are to get married in the resort of Marmaris on Tuesday, July 26.
That will come less than two weeks after Marmaris found itself the focus of international headlines as the Turkish military attempted to stage a coup.
Explosions and gunfire were heard at the resort, where Turkish president Recep Tayyip Erdogan had been on holiday.
After many flights to Turkey were cancelled over the weekend, Rachael and Graham were told it would be safe to travel to Marmaris – and warned that if they decided to cancel, they would not receive a refund on the £3,500 they paid for the trip.
Rachael, who teaches RE at English Martyrs School, says they will not allow anything to stop them getting married at a venue which is close to their hearts.
This is our wedding and no one is going to stop us getting marriedRachael Wray
They will tie the knot at Marmaris Imperial Hotel, with the wedding to take place exactly three years to the day since they first visited there together.
Rachael said: “When we heard the news about what was happening over there, we were very shocked.
“We thought that was it, and that our wedding would have to be cancelled.
“When I got in touch with my wedding planner, who is in Turkey, she was busy on a clean-up mission picking up machine gun bullets.
“Eventually, we got the advice yesterday that it was safe to travel, and were told that we wouldn’t get a refund if we decided to cancel.”
The situation in Turkey appears to have calmed somewhat, with the coup having apparently been quashed.
However, more than 250 people are reported to have died after gunfire in Istanbul, and the Turkish capital city, Ankara.
Marmaris was also caught up in the coup attempt, which was particularly upsetting to Rachael and Graham, who have grown to love it there.
Rachael added: “It’s our special place – the wedding had to be there.
“We fell in love at that hotel and had our first holiday there. We’re determined to go and enjoy it, and won’t be scared.
“This is our wedding and no one is going to stop us getting married.
“We know that the people in Marmaris are fantastic.
“We feel terrible for them, because they are losing their livelihoods.”