When HELLO! teamed up with wedding specialists Bridelux to offer a wedding worth over £100,000 to a key worker, hundreds of readers said “I do” to the opportunity of a lifetime. Now, HELLO! is delighted to announce the winning couple – and the bride- and groom-to-be, who both work for the NHS, could not be more deserving.
Paramedic Sarah Bevan and Accident and Emergency nurse John Husband will be tying the knot in spectacular style after nine-year-old son Charley Southernwood entered them into our competition. Their magical wedding will later feature in HELLO! magazine, too!
A committee consisting of HELLO! Editor-in-Chief Rosie Nixon, Publisher Tamsyn Spires, Head of Digital Sophie Vokes-Dudgeon, Bridelux CEO James Lord and Creative Director Anisha Vasani chose the winning couple because of their truly incredible story.
“I’ve dreamt about having a big wedding since I was a little girl. I get to marry the man I want to marry, and have everything and more than I could ever have imagined on my wedding day. I’m still mind-blown,” Sarah, 33, tells HELLO! as she poses with John and Charley for our photoshoot at their Suffolk home.
John, also 33, adds: “I would marry Sarah in a barn if I had to, but this is the wedding that she really deserves. We could never have dreamt of this in our wildest dreams.”
As well as winning a fairytale wedding day at the Rosewood London hotel, wedding planner Melanie Helen for Cranberry Blue will help Sarah and John tailor all parts of their day and the precious moments will be captured by David Christopher Photography and award- winning videographer John Nassari.
Sarah, who works for the East of England Ambulance Service, and John, an emergency department senior charge nurse at Addenbrooke’s Hospital, Cambridge, have been trying to plan their wedding since they got engaged last October, but life – and a global pandemic – got in the way.
“John and I usually work opposite shifts, and planning a wedding was proving impossible,” explains Sarah. “So getting all this extra help with it is just amazing. It has been a daunting and scary time for us, and the wedding will be extra emotional as we’ve been through so much.” John comments: “It’s been a difficult time and everyone felt nervous. Sarah and I have been lucky we can talk to each other. And now we’ve got our dream wedding to look forward to.”
Their story is all the more heart-warming for the fact Charley entered them into the competition himself – with a little help from his grandmother. “I was really emotional when I realised,” says his proud mum. “He knows how much it means to us.”
Charley adds: “I know Mummy and Daddy have always wanted a wedding since they got engaged. I’m very happy that they’ve won.” While John is not Charley’s biological father, he says: “I would never see him as anything other than my son. I’m really proud of everything he does.”
VIDEO: Watch our winning wedding couple prep for their HELLO! photoshoot
Sarah and John’s jobs in the NHS played a big part in their love story, which began in 2014 when they both worked at Addenbrooke’s A&E department. “John used to be a mechanic so when I crashed my car one day I asked him to help me fix it,” says Sarah. John adds: “Then I plucked up the courage to ask her out on a date and was very excited when she said yes.” Sarah became a paramedic in 2015 after her brother tragically died in a car accident.
“I decided from then that I needed to learn what to do in emergency situations like that. There was nothing I could do for him, but I wanted to help stop other families feeling the way my family and I did.” Sarah’s dedication to her job got her through the difficult decision of moving Charley to stay with his grandparents at the beginning of the pandemic, as both she and John were coming into regular contact with potential Covid-19 patients.
“I questioned whether I was doing the right thing, but the day after, I was called to a baby who was choking on a piece of plastic and we had a really positive result. I received a thank-you card from the baby’s father, and I said to Charley on FaceTime: ‘All the hard work and you staying away is for a good reason, because we’ve managed to do things like this.’”
Of the pandemic, John – who qualified as a nurse in September 2011 and started at Addenbrooke’s in January 2013 – says: “We’ve never experienced anything like this in our careers.”
Now with a ray of light in difficult times, Sarah and John can look forward to the wedding of their dreams – although a date is yet to be set, owing to the current unpredictable circumstances. When HELLO! asks Charley what he is most looking forward to, he replies: “Eating the wedding cake!” For Sarah and John, the icing on the cake will be sealing their love.
“John is the calmest and kindest person I’ve ever met,” she says. “I love him to pieces and I couldn’t imagine being with anyone else.” John adds: “Sarah has an amazing, bubbly personality, and she is truly stunning. I can’t wait to start the next chapter of our lives.” What will make the day most magical is having family and friends reunited after such a challenging time. “We’d been making sacrifices over who wouldn’t be able to come if we had a local wedding, but now everyone can because of winning this competition,” Sarah tells us. “It’s the dream.”
HELLO! has joined forces with Bridelux to bring together more than 30 luxury suppliers – from the show-stopping bridal gown from SS Couture for The Wedding Gallery, picked by Anisha Vasani Creates, to a wedding cake courtesy of Elizabeth’s Cake Emporium, and top-class entertainment from magician Dan Brazier. The full list of vendors can be found below.
FULL LIST OF VENDORS: Bridelux – Organiser and Creative Director; Melanie Helen for Cranberry Blue – Event Planner; Rosewood London – Venue; Jimmy Garcia Catering – Caterer; Farima Perry Florals and Events – Floral Designer; SS Couture for The Wedding Gallery – Brideswear; Anisha Vasani Creates – Bridal Stylist; Luminaire Events – Lighting and Sounds; Leeming Brothers – Stationery; Elizabeth’s Cake Emporium – Cake & Desserts; Luminaire Events – Set design and dancefloor; David Christopher Photography – Photography; John Nassari – Videography; Victoria Percival Make Up – Hair and Makeup; Emmy London – Bridal Shoes; All Town Music – Entertainment; Victoria Percival Accessories – Accessories; Azure Bar Events – Bar; Phototheatre – Photobooth; Saran Kohli – Menswear; Dan Brazier – Magician; Bubblegum Balloons – Balloons; Needle & Thread – Bridesmaids; Live Event Artist – Artist; Shimmering Ivory Couture by Siân Hughes Cooke – Mothers of the couple; Just for Linen – Linen; White House Crockery – Crockery; Ladurée - Favours; Furniture4Events - Furniture; X-ITING Fireworks - Fireworks; Jennifer Patrice - Celebrant; Safe and Sound Events - Children's Creche.
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