Congratulations are in order for Simon Webbe and his partner Ayshen Kemal! The couple tied the knot in a stunning ceremony at the five-star Corinthia Hotel London on 11 August 2018, and was watched by Simon's three Blue bandmates Lee Ryan, Duncan James and Antony Costa. The boyband also treated guests to an unforgettable performance of their biggest hits as the evening's party got into full swing. Looking out over the city's breathtaking skyline, the Royal Penthouse Suite provided the perfect backdrop for the couple's wedding photographs. "This is the best day of my life – and Ayshen looks more beautiful than I've ever seen her before," Simon told HELLO! just moments after the ceremony, as he and his lifestyle blogger bride, who is also a PA in the City, posed for the first time as husband and wife. "I'm so happy," said Ayshen, 37. "I can't believe we’re married. I don't think I'll ever get tired of calling him my husband."
The first member of Blue to get married, former Strictly Come Dancing contestant Simon, who turned 40 this year, had the full support of the bandmates he refers to as his "brothers". "I actually welled up a bit during the ceremony," said former EastEnders star Lee. "There was just an overwhelming sense of love. Wow, it was amazing. It seems surreal, though, because I still think of us as kids and now one of us is getting married." Former Hollyoaks star Duncan, who has also carved out a successful West End career, added: "I find it really emotional to see Simon so happy because I've known him for a long, long time and we've been like brothers. And he's the first one to actually get married – that was quite emotional for me. We're getting old, aren't we? He's just so happy with Ayshen. It's a different level of happiness. He just knew. He said to us: 'She's The One,' and that was it."
Simon Webbe and his wife Ayshen Kemal
Antony, who appeared on I'm a Celebrity… Get Me Out of Here! in 2005, said: "When Simon told us he was getting engaged and married, we were like: 'Brilliant.' But it's hard for a girlfriend to come into a place where their husband is so tight with his boys, like us lot, so she has to put up with us." Simon and Ayshen's wedding began in the hotel’s Courtroom, where guests including Love Island's Jack Fowler – Simon is his manager – former Manchester United footballers Denis Irwin and Mickey Thomas and ex-Hollyoaks star Fabrizio Santino.
The beautiful bride drew gasps from the guests with her spectacular Enzoani wedding dress and customised veil, which she wore together with a simple, classic bouquet of white roses made by Pembe, an aunt from the extended family. "I couldn't believe it when I saw her in her dress," Simon said. "It is just her. She's perfect." There was even a nod to the famous groom's pop past, with the registrar saying: "Ladies and gentlemen, please, All Rise" - the title of Blue's 2001 debut single - to laughter from the guests.
Simon and Ayshen tied the knot in London
Then the newlyweds left the room dancing down the aisle to Sister Sledge’s We Are Family to mark the coming together of their two families, including Simon's 21-year-old daughter Alanah, who was thrilled to see her dad marry. "I think she's happy to see me take this step," said the singer. The couple now hope to have more children – Ayshen wanted to wait until she was married to start a family. "My parents had an arranged marriage at 17, had me at 21 and they've now been married for 43 years," she said of her Turkish parents. "That's my background. They've taught me values and that's what I want for myself. I want to have a child with my husband." The bride added: "As much as we're not religious and we're not very traditional, we have certain aspects of our culture that we want to bring in. I'm proud of my background and my family."
The wedding came at a difficult time for the bride's family, as her mum has been suffering from cancer. "My mum will be having her breast removed soon," Ayshen noted, adding that the family only found out three weeks before the wedding. Mum's really positive and thank God we have the wedding – it's been an amazing distraction," Ayshen said. "And Simon is bringing so much happiness to the family. They go: 'Where did you find this gem?'" The couple will wait until after the operation to go on honeymoon. "We'll get the globe, spin it and choose where we're going," shared Simon. "The Maldives, the Seychelles, Bora Bora – there are so many beautiful spots in the world to choose from. I'm only going to get married once so I want time to let it marinate. Sit back and go: 'Ah, we did it,' before rushing off abroad."
Simon's Blue bandmates joined their special day
Ayshen was also relieved Simon hadn't used his Strictly training – he made it to the final of the hit show in 2014 – to choreograph a routine. "I thought I'd be anxious on the day and I didn't want to worry about remembering steps," she said. Singing along, the guests took to the floor as the band performed hits including Too Close and One Love, for which Ayshen joined them on stage. "It was amazing to perform with the boys at my wedding - so surreal, but what a way to kick off the party," explained Simon.
Simon and Ayshen's love story dates back to 2009, when Ayshen was in girlband Fe-Nix and their paths crossed at the celebrity Soccer Six charity football tournament. A few chance encounters followed until, in 2015, they both found themselves single. They discovered how much they hit it off on dates in Essex, Hong Kong and Moscow - locations that featured as table names at their wedding. Simon popped the question on holiday in Jamaica in February 2017. "We have the same morals, the same targets in life," he told us. "We always want to push the other person to be the best they can be. We talk everything through and there's no envy. She gets my sense of humour and we're very similar.
"Getting married doesn't scare me – who else would I want to be with for the rest of my life? I never thought I’d be that guy to say that about anybody, but it’s just easy." Ayshen added: "There's just so many qualities about him that no one out there really knows. I feel like I know Simon Webbe, not Simon Webbe from Blue. He says I'm the only person who actually understands who he is. He's so humble – nothing goes to his head. He doesn't boast, he doesn't name-drop, and it's so attractive." Of their "fairytale" day, she concluded: "This is all I've ever wanted. I'm a romantic. I love love. I've got a man who loves me for me and who makes me laugh every day. The thought of the future and of having a home and a child with him? How lucky am I?"
Like this story? Sign up to our newsletter to get other stories like this delivered straight to your inbox.