Danny Mac and his fiancée Carley Stenson have tied the knot in a magical woodland setting in the New Forest, in a wedding exclusively covered by HELLO! in September 2017. The former Strictly Come Dancing star spoke of the moment he first caught sight of his bride. "Carley looked truly sensational and so happy," said Danny. "It was such a lovely moment that I'll never forget. I actually put my hand out to tell her to slow down as it was all going too quickly and I wanted to cherish it. Carley thought I waved and so she waved back."
"We wanted to do it our own way, to be close to nature and have a relaxed feel to the day, but it also had to be really special," added Carley, who plays Fantine in Les Misérables in London's West End. With eight bridesmaids – dressed in Amanda Wyatt – and three best men waiting, the scene was set for an emotional ceremony, as the stunning bride walked up the aisle on the arm of her father Eric to When the Right One Comes Along, from the US TV series Nashville. "I actually put my hand out to tell her to slow down as it was all going too quickly and I wanted to cherish it," Danny revealed. "Carley thought I waved and so she waved back."
Carley and Danny's magical woodland wedding © Steven Mayatt
Speaking about her big day, Carley added: "I felt so calm yet so excited. I just couldn't stop smiling and giggling. It felt like our plan had come together perfectly and I was about to say 'I do' to my best friend in front of everyone we loved. It was magical." The couple wrote their own vows and shared promises in an alfresco ceremony that included readings by both their mothers. It was planned by their close friend Mark Welch and his wife Catherine, who was chief bridesmaid. "We wanted the whole wedding to be personal and informal," said Danny. "The ceremony was so special as, aside from our vows and promises, every moment was a beautiful surprise."
Those special moments began that morning, when Danny gave Carley a diamond necklace by bespoke Chiswick-based Marmalade Jewellery, who designed the wedding bands. In turn, Carley gave him a diamond tiepin, which he proudly wore in his cravat. But the groom had an even bigger secret for Carley. "We both love Volkswagen camper vans so, as a surprise, Danny ordered both a Beetle and a decorated camper to take my bridesmaids, the flower girls, my dad and me to the venue," she explained. The unique setting for their day was thanks to wedding planners Simon Bush and Rowan Laws of Weddings in the Wood, a unique venue in Lyndhurst, Hampshire, but everything else was arranged and decorated by the couple with friends and family.
Of the night time festivities, Carley continued: "It felt so cosy and relaxed as the sun went down. We partied to the end and continued to chat, sing, eat, drink, dance and sleep under the stars. It was truly magical." Baylily Bell Tents provided glamping accommodation for the couple and their guests to stay overnight, while LightNights lit the woodland after sunset. "It looked stunning," she added.
The busy couple had to put their honeymoon on hold while Danny toured as Joe Gillis in Andrew Lloyd Webber's Sunset Boulevard. "It was always going to take a lot to drag me away from Carley and London this year but we both agreed this one was a no-brainer," he shared. "It is a gift of a role in a truly stunning show. I pinch myself at how incredible these last 12 months have been." The previous year, Danny took part in Strictly with professional dancer Oti Mabuse, who attended the wedding with her husband Marius. No doubt she had her eye on Danny’s footwork as he and Carley took to the floor for their first dance to Best Friend by Jason Mraz and Then by Brad Paisley, played back to back.
"I've watched other people do the first dance and wondered if it would feel awkward, but it honestly felt like we were the only two people in the world," said Danny. "The words in both songs mean so much to us." Of their new life as husband and wife, Carley remarked: "It does feel nicely strange to say 'my husband'. I don't think I feel too different; it just feels like an affirmation of what we've known for a while." Danny added: "I wanted to take Carley's name so we'll share both our names personally and privately. Professionally, we will remain Danny Mac and Carley Stenson… Although if we're referred to together, Carley quite likes the nickname Mr & Mrs Mac."
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