Laura Magnet and Jane Dale had dreamt of getting married on a train, but the pandemic put a stopper on their plans for the past 18 months as it did for thousands of couples across the country over the past 18 months.
Avanti West Coast launched the competition in July 2021 to find a couple to get married in their ‘Marriage Carriage’ in August.
The competition was held in a bid to celebrate bringing friends and family safely together as government guidance began to see life getting back to normal.
Laura and Jane beat 150 couples in the competition winning their Pendolino dream wedding in the Avanti West Coast Marriage Carriage along with a small group of family and friends.
The train operator laid on the special Marriage Carriage on board the Euston to Birmingham service, with the wedding ceremony taking place in front of their family and friends, giving the lucky couple a wedding day they would never forget.
A panel of judges including Jane Fry who is Editor-in-Chief of Affinity Weddings Magazine and Paul Austin who is an Avanti West Coast Train Manager, made the big choice from the huge number of entries to walk down the Avanti West Coast aisle together.
The couple first met online in an internet gaming forum, getting to know each other through their love of video games and ‘very silly humour’. Both Laura and Jane are massive fans of trains and were thrilled to get the chance to involve trains on their big day.
Avanti West Coast put on a reception in their First-Class Lounge with a photo booth provided by Bespoke Event Services before boarding the 10:59 am Euston to Birmingham service with a wedding breakfast in First Class.
The Marriage Carriage had been beautifully decorated by North London florist Florette Flowers, and included a train-themed wedding cake which was supplied by The Pudding Compartment who are from Flint in North Wales.
Peter Davis, who is an Avanti West Coast Train Manager and also an ex-Clergyman performed the wedding ceremony keeping the theme of railway firmly on track.
Putting safety first, Avanti West Coast made sure that the wedding guests took multiple lateral flow tests 72 hours ahead of the wedding and again on the morning of the celebration. The numbers of people within the carriage were also controlled to keep the celebration safe and enjoyable for all.
Speaking about her special day, Laura said: “As a huge train fan, today has been a dream come true – having Jane and our friends and family with us as we celebrated our wedding at high speed. Trains are a huge part of my life. The first time I met Jane, we travelled on the West Coast Mainline to a video game convention in Telford, and we often travelled onboard with friends to Birmingham Comic-Con. Jane used to travel to Birmingham New Street to see her Nan, so this route has a real place in her heart, and today will forever take us to our happy place as I think back to the ceremony.
“We have had to postpone planning our wedding due to the pandemic, finances and marriage logistics. And this followed years of working through logistics to get gender recognition certificates, a very slow and stressful process, so we could both be Wife and Wife on our special day.”
Natasha Grice, Avanti West Coast’s Executive Director of Customer Experience, said, “It’s been a tough 18 months for everyone, including married couples to be. We wanted to put smiles back on people’s faces and what better way to do that than by helping one lucky couple finally celebrate their special day and reuniting them with loved ones they haven’t seen since before the pandemic.
“Having Laura and Jane, two huge train fans, celebrate their dream wedding onboard an Avanti West Coast Pendolino was incredibly exciting and heart-warming. This wedding has been a highlight for our team and will be fondly remembered for years to come.”
Jane Fry, Editor-in-Chief of Affinity Weddings Magazine, said, “It’s been a tough 18 months for us all, and it brings me so much joy that friends and families are now able to get back together for wedding celebrations.
“Picking a winning couple to be wed onboard the Avanti West Coast Marriage Carriage, was tough, with hundreds of incredible stories shared from all corners of the UK. Laura and Jane’s story really brought to life all the struggles couples have faced and had to overcome, and seeing them with family and friends yesterday was heart-warming, especially given their love of trains! Yesterday was the first day that Laura had seen her two sisters since before the pandemic, and it was emotional, to say the least! With wedding restrictions now lifting, I hope all the other entrants can soon enjoy their special day, surrounded by loved ones.”
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