Jeff Brazier married Kate Dwyer in a romantic clifftop ceremony in Portugal on 15 September 2018. It was an emotional ceremony that brought together not just a couple, but also two young boys who played a key role in their special day. Jeff's teenage sons and best men, Bobby, 15, and Freddy, 14, proudly handed the bride and groom their wedding rings, close friends and family smiled and cried. "I'm so happy to marry Kate, who has brought so much stability to my life," the TV presenter, author and life coach told HELLO!. "This isn't just any wedding, this is a really special one. It doesn't just represent Kate and me putting rings on each other's fingers. It represents the fact that we won at something really tricky. We won at becoming a family."
The day could not have been more perfect as 100 guests took their seats in front of the pergola, decorated with white flowers, where the couple exchanged their vows. "Walking towards Jeff and the boys was a once-in-a-lifetime moment," public relations director Kate explained, while Jeff added: "I've seen her every day for the past five years and I've never seen her look more stunning. I felt like the luckiest man in the world."
Jeff Brazier and Kate Dwyer tied the knot in Portugal
Since the tragically premature death of their mum Jade Goody in 2009, Jeff had singlehandedly raised his sons, "trying to cope and make sure they got through their childhood unscathed", the 39-year-old shared. His marriage to Kate, 29, to whom he proposed in Ibiza last year, means she will not only become his wife, but also a stepmother to his sons, who have welcomed her into their tight-knit clan. "Dad always said: 'I want to get married one day - I want to find a nice girl,'" said Freddy. "And he's found that girl who he's going to live with for the rest of his life." Bobby remarked: "One of the biggest things for Fred and me is that Kate makes our dad happy. Which is so special and reassuring for us to see."
The luxurious Tivoli Carvoeiro resort on the Algarve provided the perfect setting for the celebrations, which the couple had always wanted to hold somewhere hot and sunny. Ahead of the ceremony, Bobby opened up about his nerves about the prospect of making a speech: "I'm excited, a little nervous, but it's a special day and it's got to be done." Standing 6ft tall, he's already taller than his dad, who couldn't hide his pride as he helped fasten their bow ties and buttonholes. Both boys hoped their mum would have been proud, too. "I reckon she'd be shocked at how tall Bobby is," said Freddy. "She would feel incredibly, incredibly proud," agreed their dad. "How helpful they've been, how well they talk, how open they are."
When Kate appeared on her father Andrew's arm, walking down the aisle strewn with white rose petals to the Daniel Caesar song Best Part, sung live by Lily Kerbey, Jeff's face crumpled, his composure momentarily lost. Kate shone in a glamorous strapless, ivory satin Merci wedding dress by Madeline Gardner from Bellissima Weddings. With a sweetheart neckline, flared skirt and delicate buttons up the back, it created a perfect hourglass silhouette. She wore her dark hair long under her veil and carried a bouquet of white roses and gypsophila. "I did have a little cry," the groom later said. "I don't think I've ever made him cry before, so I didn't know if I would crack him," laughed Kate.
The most poignant moment for Kate came as the boys gave the couple their rings: the groom's white gold Cartier love ring and the bride's bespoke double diamond platinum band. Hugging his new stepmum and whispering in her ear, Bobby told Kate he loved her for the first time. "Fred says it to me every day, but Bobby is more reserved, so for me that was truly amazing and shows how far we have come," she told HELLO!. At the reception, Bobby spoke with an eloquence beyond his years, leaving Jeff, Kate and most of the room in tears. "Dad, you are nothing less than a hero, and I think it's fair to say that you've mastered this whole dad job," he said. "I look up to you and the qualities you have and, with Kate by your side, I think you’re powerful."
The happy couple's engagement story
"I aspire to be like you," he added, as Jeff wiped his face with a napkin. Bobby then turned to Kate. "This is a bit awkward, but to cut a long story short, I didn't really rate you to begin with," he said as the crowd laughed. "But now I'm so glad I can genuinely tell you I love you. You being around has made things a lot easier for us boys, and we appreciate you a lot." Freddy, who made everyone laugh by introducing himself as "Jeff's favourite son and the more intelligent one", first thanked his dad for raising him and Bobby "as a single parent for so long", before addressing Kate.
"My dad has always said: 'Someone doesn't become a stepmum when they walk down the aisle - it has to happen first for a wedding to be possible.' I think I speak for me and my brother when I say you've been fantastic for a while now." He also thanked her for "making so much effort to make me and Bobby feel loved". Hugging his boys, it was Jeff's turn to speak. "For many years I wasn’t very good in relationships. I'd get to three years. One thing I was probably searching for was to find that certainty. And now I've got that with you," he said, turning to his new wife. "I never question if I’m in the right relationship, or where I'm going."
Kate, he told her, has "made everything make sense, and everything fit". Having grown up in an unsettled, chaotic environment, he had never considered marriage before meeting Kate. "I just assumed it wasn't going to happen for me." It took a while to overcome the emotional obstacles life had put in place. Whereas Kate, an only child who grew up with happily married parents, was certain from "week one" that Jeff was The One for her.
"It was the easiest decision for me; he's the most amazing man I have ever met and I could not wait to be able to call him my husband," she said. Jeff's priority were his children. When Jade died from cervical cancer, she and Jeff had been separated for four years and he took sole responsibility for parenting Bobby and Freddy, then five and four years old respectively, helping them through their grief and keeping them out of the public eye. He didn’t introduce them to Kate for six months and she didn't move into the family home in Essex for three years.
"It's an incredibly difficult job to try to integrate yourself into a family," said Jeff. "It requires a lot of traits; not anyone can do it. You have to be fairly strong, focused and dedicated." The fact that Kate has successfully done so is, he said, "our biggest achievement". In turn, she believes that Jeff's positivity helped enormously. "His outlook in life is everything I ever wanted in a partner," she said. "He has been so patient with me on this journey, he is loyal and I trust him implicitly. I have also had the privilege of seeing first-hand what an incredible job he has done raising the boys, so I know I couldn't ask for a better father for any future children we might have."
Meanwhile, she has built a close relationship with her stepsons. "I don't think I would ever be a mother to them. They still have very strong memories of her and that's not something you can replace. But being a stepmum is still a massive thing and I'm really proud that we've got there." Both she and Jeff are looking forward to expanding their family at some point and the boys seem open to the idea too. "Kate's always saying: 'I want a girl – we're going to call her Isabella,'" Freddy told us earlier. "Me and Bob always said we wanted a sister who we could annoy."
Following the celebrations, the new Mrs Brazier reflected on her day which, she said, went perfectly. "The bit I'll treasure most is the speeches. I was so proud of the boys - and to hear Jeff say such lovely things about me in front of all our guests was so special." For Jeff, being married had already made a difference. "I feel so relaxed," he said with a big smile. "I feel more confident about life and that we can achieve anything together. Before it was just three boys rattling around in a house on our own, trying to get through life. Then Kate came along and worked so hard at making us complete. She hasn't just completed one person, she's completed a family and given three boys a real sense of belonging."
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