Claire goes overboard for teenage crush Mark
Claire Winsor first met her gorgeous groom, Mark Griggs when they were just thirteen. The path of true love though, seldom runs smoothly and although Claire had a huge crush on Mark he can only remember her as part of a group of giggling girls who used to torment the boys playing out on their bikes and showing off their skateboard tricks.
Fast forward several years and Mark is still one of the “cool” kids, he spends his weekends playing rugby and working as a sailing instructor, keeping him fit and active, while Claire works in the decidedly indoor world of PR.
By chance she comes across his profile on facebook and remembers how much she used to like him. A little friendly on-line flirtation later and the couple have arranged a just friends date. Claire is keen to impress and agrees to go sailing with Mark. (pictured as a teenager above.)
Now most of us know that a wet suit and a lack of co-ordination are not the best way to impress the man of our dreams but Claire is made of sterner stuff and with Mark’s immortal words “Don’t worry I won’t let anything happen to you” swiftly proceeds to overturn the boat.
Over a pub lunch following the very cold and dirty swim, the couple find that they just click and are soon inseparable.
On a weekend away at the tortworth-court-hotel.four-pillars.co.uk in the beautiful Cotswolds, Mark plans his proposal. An organised chap, he even packs a spare pair of jeans in case his knee gets wet when he has to kneel down in the grass! He convinces Claire that they simply have to see the oldest Corkscrew Hazel tree in the country and takes her out into the hotel’s Arboretum thinking that it will be a romantic setting. After trailing around for what feels like hours they finally spot the tree, but far from the beautiful, historic landmark of Mark’s imagination, it doesn’t live up to his fairytale location. Undeterred Mark finds a little clearing in the trees and carries on with his plan. He attempts to take a photograph of Claire, but announces that he needs to change the camera lens first (the ring was secreted in the camera bag). So, when she looks around, he is on one knee and his romantic proposal has to be backed up with the words “I am serious” before Claire willingly agrees to become his wife.
The wedding is quickly arranged, with the help of Mark’s spread-sheet and organisational skills. The couple visited a staggering twenty venues in one weekend before choosing the lovely Mannings Heath Golf Club in Horsham.
Claire’s two sisters, along with Mark’s sister looked beautiful as bridesmaids in pale green and Claire wore a stunning antique lace dress. Mark’s best friend Rupert Burton stood as best man and with seventy five close family and friends watching, the couple took their vows four years to the day after their sailing date when they quite literally fell for each other.
“I was really nervous when I walked down the aisle. I’ve never been a girl who dreamed of a big white wedding but the day was so special” Claire told me. “It was dream wedding and the day just flew past. Having all our closest family and friends around us was wonderful.”
The couple celebrated with a mini-moon back in the Cotswolds at a sister property to where they became engaged at the www.cotswoldwaterparkhotel.co.uk and this time their sailing trip was a great success, possibly because Claire didn’t take the helm. And, for those who are interested, Mark does still have his skateboard, although his skills are now a little rusty.