As Gregg Wallace returns to our screens on MasterChef: The Professionals, take a look back at his wedding to Anne-Marie Sterpini. The couple married in a romantic ceremony exclusively covered by HELLO! magazine in August 2016. Gregg tied the knot with Anne-Marie at Hever Castle in Kent in front of guests including John Torode, who was also best man, Lisa Faulkner, Marcus Wareing and Monica Galetti.
Gregg – who has been married three times previously - told HELLO! he had found his dream girl in Anna, who looked breathtaking in a gown by US designers Allure as the couple took their vows in Hever Castle's Astor Wing, which was festooned with a stunning array of beautiful floral displays from Greenwich-based florist Karen Woolvern.
Gregg Wallace and Anne-Marie married in August 2016
"Meeting Anna has brought me what I think I've always been searching for – that big, warm family dynamic and there's real strength in that," he told HELLO! "I'm very conscious of people thinking I just do this willy-nilly. But we haven't rushed into this – we've been together for three years and I truly have never met anyone like Anna." He added: "She has so much goodness and love in her heart. She is beautiful inside and out and it's really important to me that everyone knows that this marriage is genuine, heartfelt and meaningful. The people close to us know – they've seen how we are together."
Speaking about his choice of John Torode as the best man, Gregg said there was no-one better for the job. "There is no part of my life John isn't aware of. He's seen me through the good, the bad and the ugly and has always been there for me, so it was a very easy choice to make," he said. John, who has known his MasterChef co-host for over 25 years, added: "How did I feel when Gregg asked me to be his best man? I was honoured. With Gregg, everyone sees the bravado of the happy chappy, always cracking jokes, but underneath there's a very sensitive soul and a big heart. He's been so happy since he met Anna and when you see your friend truly happy, well that's just a great thing because you know someone good has come on board."
HELLO! exclusively covered their wedding
Gregg and Anna met three years before their wedding, after she contacted him asking his advice about a recipe pairing duck with rhubarb. "I'm nervous because I just want today to be so perfect for Anna," Gregg recalled at the time. As guests gathered for the ceremony, the TV star dealt with his nerves the way he generally does, by cracking jokes. Tunes including I'd Do Anything from the musical Oliver!, Johnny Cash's A Thing Called Love and Frank Sinatra's You Make Me Feel So Young set the tone for a service that was warm, personal and truly joyous.
"My heart was actually beating out of my chest as I was waiting for Anna," Gregg said. "I think it all got to me a little bit, that I'm older and a bit of a seasoned campaigner and that this moment in particular had to be right and special and as Anna had always dreamt it would be."
Entering on the arm of her proud dad, Gregg's bride was a vision in a fitted beaded gown with a princess-like ruffled train from US designers Allure. "The moment I stepped inside the room, the only person I could see was Gregg," recalled Anna. "Everything else went blurry. It was only as I took his hand that I was able to glance around and I saw all these smiling faces." Pronounced husband and wife to cheers and applause, the new Mr and Mrs Wallace exited to the Stylistics hit Sing, Baby, Sing.
The couple are hoping to start a family
As one would expect at the nuptials of one of TV's foremost foodies, the wedding feast was a spectacular affair, embracing both the bride's Italian heritage and the groom's English roots. Seated at tables named after Disney princesses, reflecting the couple's shared fondness for animated movies, guests were treated to eight courses, which included bruschetta and antipasti, roast beef and trifle.
Anna's adored father kicked off the speeches, speaking of his immense pride in his daughter and officially welcoming his new son-inlaw into the family before urging the couple: "Now, babies!" Both Gregg and Anna agree that it won't be long until they hear the patter of tiny feet. "Anna was clear from the start of our relationship that she wants children and it won't be long at all before that happens," Gregg said. "To my mind, any man who tells a woman, 'I don't want us to have children,' doesn't love her. Sure, I have some concerns about being an older dad but I am probably fitter now than I’ve ever been in my life."
Gregg, whose home is in Kent, added: "We've already agreed that as soon as Anna's expecting, her mum will move down from the West Midlands and move in."I was very honest and said, 'Look, I've got to be in front of the camera, I'm in my 50s, I can't have sleepless nights. We'll have to have separate bedrooms after the baby's born.' And she said, 'I understand.'"
Anne-Marie and Gregg met via Twitter three years before their wedding
Much like the man himself, Gregg's speech was naughty, heartfelt and emotional. His composure started to go as he thanked best man John for his consistent support, prompting Gregg to wail: "What is wrong with me? I'm crying over the Aussie. I haven't even got to Anna yet." He reined it back by recalling his and Anna's first date. "She looked at the menu and went, 'Oooh, bone marrow.' And I thought, 'Yes, get in there! This is my sort of girl.'" But the tears came again as he said of his bride: "Nobody has ever made me feel so safe and secure. She honestly believes that who I am is decent and wonderful. She has put her trust in me and all her hopes for the future and I'm so, so proud."
The wedding party then headed to Hever Castle's breathtaking Italian Garden for Aperol spritz before returning to watch the couple cut their cake – a vanilla sponge with raspberry jam, decorated with sugar roses and swans by Sally Laker of the Whitstable-based Sally4Cakes. The happy couple then took to the floor for their first dance, to Moon River, the song that was playing the first time Anna told Gregg she loved him. After that it was party time, courtesy of DJ Colin Roy, with the bride swapping her silver princess heels for flip-flops and Gregg showing off some of the hip-swivelling moves he honed during his brief stint on 2014's Strictly Come Dancing. The night was just beginning.
See 9 of the most beautiful celebrity weddings
Looking to the future, Gregg said: "Anna might look like a pop star but actually what she wants is to live in the country with chickens and children and to spend her days cooking and making our house beautiful. And I love that." "It's what I've always wanted to be – a homemaker," smiled Anna. "That's my role and I feel fulfilled by that role." Gregg added: "We live a ridiculously old-fashioned life. It's not for everyone but it works for us – for me and this beautiful lady who I'm so very proud to call my wife and who I love so very much."
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