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Monday, 21 April 2014

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Children arrange 'medieval' wedding of mum and dad for TV show

Not many people can say they married at a historic castle in full medieval costume – but then not many couples would let their children plan the wedding.

Farrell family photo
The Farrell family, from left, Deborah Farrell, Caitlin Shing, Edward Farrell, Christina Farrell and Rhys Shing

But Edward and Deborah Farrell, of Great Broughton, near Cockermouth, threw caution to the wind after their children put them forward to take part in a national TV show.

Deborah’s children Caitlyn, 10, and Rhys, eight, were so keen for their mum to marry stepdad Edward that they wrote in to the BBC.

The couple had been due to wed last summer but everything was put on hold when their baby Christina, now one, had to go into hospital for major heart surgery.

Caitlyn and Rhys were desperate to help, so when they spotted an advert for the new children’s television show, Marrying Mum and Dad, they seized their opportunity.

Moved by their story, the producers were soon in touch with Deborah, 32, and Edward, 33, for more details.

Most parents would run a mile at the thought of their children having any say in their wedding, let alone giving them the freedom to choose the theme, venue, entertainment, food and even the dress.

But Deborah, who runs West Lakes Physio in Cockermouth, said they were so touched that Caitlyn and Rhys wanted them all to finally be a proper family, they just couldn’t say no.

After a couple of meetings and screen tests, the couple were chosen to star in the show, which is being aired on CBBC later this month.

The actual wedding took place at Muncaster Castle in April but aside from guests on the day, the details have been kept a closely guarded secret – until now.

With the help of presenters Ed Petrie and Naomi Wilkinson, Caitlyn and Rhys set about creating the best wedding ever in just two weeks. They chose a Royal Medieval wedding theme and were lucky enough to get Muncaster Castle as the venue.

They even held their own auditions for entertainers, choosing a jester, magician and balloon artist following a fun Britain’s Got Talent-style selection event. They had help from their classmates at Broughton Primary School, who sang at the ceremony.

The children also helped design the cake, while Rhys picked the wedding food – his favourite, giant dishes of bangers and mash.

But it was Caitlyn, with the help of Deborah’s friend Hazel Whitelaw, in charge of the most important element – the wedding dress.

And after selecting one from a choice of outfits, she suddenly had a last minute panic and dramatically changed it all the night before.

On the day there were lots of surprises and shocked faces, but Deborah said it really was the best wedding ever.

“I was nervous beforehand. There were no mirrors anywhere so we really had no idea what we looked like, but I loved my dress. Everything about the day was brilliant.”

“Every woman wants their wedding to be perfect but I just had to trust them. Luckily we have a sense of humour and I’m not a bridezilla!

“If I compare it to how I would have done it myself then they did an even better job, mainly because of the venue and how much fun it was. An adult would never have thought of it, children have such good imaginations. It made it really unique.

“And they had the most amazing experience. We are so proud of them. How many children can say they planned their parents wedding?”

To say thank you Deborah and Edward have a surprise of their own for Caitlyn and Rhys – a trip to Disneyland Paris in the summer holidays.

The episode will be aired on August 15 on CBBC, at 9.30am and 3.30pm.

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