It’s the most tense moment in any wedding ceremony – ‘If any person present knows of any lawful impediment to this marriage, he or she should declare it now’. Everyone holds their breath until the moment passes…but at the wedding of Lancashire couple Mark Whiteley and Joanne Green, it didn’t go so smoothly.
One guest stood up to object to the nuptials, revealing a shocking secret: Mark and Joanne were already married!
The drama reached its climax when 100 of the couple’s family and friends gasped and the best man stormed over to confront the disruptive guest.
However, all was not as it seemed. Mark, the groom, is a theatre boss and the objectionable guest, the best man and the celebrant were all actors. It turns out Mark and Joanne had in fact got hitched a few months earlier but kept it a secret.
The sneaky pair had actually married in Nashville, Tennessee in March at the Rhinestone Wedding Chapel, and the faux-ceremony disruption was staged to distract their guests before they showed them a screening of their real wedding.
“We hedged our bets that it would work out,” Mark explained to the Rossendale Free Press. “We just wanted to do something a bit theatrical, we’ve got a flair for a drama.
“We were worried about people being upset because it’s extremely sneaky to have been married three months and not even told our children.
“We hadn’t worn rings until the ceremony and we thought that was really important. But it has taught us how important marriage is and how important the sharing of your love with your family and friends is, and it was amazing to exchange rings.”
After the big reveal, the couple went on to celebrate with all their friends and family – and they don’t reckon anyone was too shocked: “Most people kind of expected something unusual because of who we are. It was a mix of nerves and excitement knowing we were going to really shock everybody, but they all thought it was brilliant” revealed Joanne.
Would you elope and surprise your guests? Read one real-life bride’s account of why she decided to elope.