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Surprise wedding tops off christening celebrations

A south Cumbrian couple wowed a church congregation with a surprise wedding – just 15 minutes after their baby’s baptism.

Reece Gooding and Nicola Roach, both aged 23, decided to tie the knot yesterday (Sunday 1st Sept) as part of a secret double-bill ceremony at St George’s, Barrow.

The Rev’d Gary Cregeen, Rural Dean of Barrow, first mooted the idea when he met the couple to talk about the christening of their baby son, Cody.

Reece explains: “When we were talking about the baptism, Gary said ‘Wouldn’t it be good if you could get married at the same time’.

“After he’d said that we just couldn’t get the thought out of our heads. It was such a great idea and we knew we really wanted to do it.

”The reaction on people’s faces when we told them what was happening at the end of the baptism service was amazing.

”It has been a wonderful day for all our family.”

Only four people, of more than a hundred who attended the baptism, knew about the wedding plans.

Nicola’s parents, Ann and Martin Roach, and her sister and brother-in-law, Claire and Lee Tooze, whose baby, Ethan, was also christened in a joint baptism, were in on the act.

Reece, who works at Tesco in Barrow, even had to ask his brother, Michael, to be best man in the quarter of an hour break between the christenings and the wedding. Nicola also used that time to ask her sister Joanne to be her bridesmaid.

The Rev’d Jo Northey, who officiated at both ceremonies, made the announcement of the surprise wedding as the congregation were about to be served tea and coffee at the end of the baptism service.

“It was a lovely day for the family and a really joyous occasion on two fronts,” she said.

“When I explained what was going to happen at the end of the baptism service there were some gasps. Everyone had such a wonderful time.

“It was fantastic to bear witness to Cody entering God’s family and just a few minutes later see his mum and dad making their wedding vows before the Lord.”

But there are no secret honeymoon plans for the newly weds.

Reece, of Newton Street, Millom, joked: “We’ve not sorted anything out at the moment but even if it is a day out somewhere with Cody we will be doing something.

“In years to come it will be great to show Cody the pictures of his christening and to tell him that his mum and dad were married on the same day!”


For further information please contact Dave Roberts, Diocesan Communications Officer, on 07984 927434 or at or Rev Richard Pratt on 07788 728508.

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