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James and Ola Jordan celebrate 20th wedding anniversary at their venue – and the dress still fits

The couple starred in an exclusive shoot with adorable daughter Ella

James and Ola Jordan pose for 20th wedding anniversary shoot
Jane Dowdeswell
Jane DowdeswellCommissioning Editor
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Romance and magical memories are high on the agenda as we return with James and Ola Jordan to the place where they married 20 years ago, joined by their three-year-old daughter Ella

"It is exactly as we remembered it. Our memories are so vivid and it's nice to be back after all those years to reminisce," says James of Cooling Castle Barn in Kent, as the highlights of their big day come flooding back on our exclusive photoshoot to celebrate the former Strictly Come Dancing couple's anniversary on 12 October.

James and Ola Jordan return to their wedding venue to celebrate 20th anniversary

Ola Jordan's wedding dress

James and Ola Jordan pose for 20th wedding anniversary shoot© HELLO!
Ola slipped into her original wedding dress for the shoot

Their recollections are crystallised by the fact that Ola has slipped into her wedding dress – the first time she has tried it on for two decades – and it fits like a dream. 

"Twenty years later and I'm wearing my dress; that's a nice thought. I surprised myself, if I'm honest. I never really imagined I ever would. I was 21 then, now I'm 41, and my boobs are definitely bigger since having Ella," she says, laughing. 

James and Ola Jordan pose with daughter Ella for 20th wedding anniversary shoot© HELLO!
The couple toasted their 20th wedding anniversary with daughter Ella

James and Ola Jordan's weight loss journey

If the anniversary had fallen a year earlier, Ola is convinced she would have had no hope of fitting into the strapless Monsoon gown. The couple's remarkable weight loss, revealed in January, saw them lose over six stone between them, with Ola dropping four dress sizes, thanks to their healthy eating and fitness programme Dance Shred. 

"Seeing Ola walking down those same steps towards me as she did for the ceremony, wearing the same dress, I'll never forget," says James, 45. 

Although some couples turn a milestone anniversary into a romantic opportunity to renew their vows, James and Ola have no such desire. "Why would we?" James says. "When we said those words the first time, that was forever. If we did it again, it would spoil those memories." 

James and Ola Jordan pose with daughter Ella for 20th wedding anniversary shoot© HELLO!
"Twenty years later and I'm wearing my dress; that's a nice thought," said Ola

James and Ola Jordan's wedding day

The couple, who found fame and fortune on Strictly, reveal their wedding was a modest affair, and all the better for it. "I think it goes to show that you don't have to spend thousands of pounds to have a beautiful wedding. These days, people often do it to impress everyone else," James says. 

Back then, they were both on the professional circuit "but we had hardly any money", he says. "My suit was from a hire shop on the high street, we managed to get the venue at a discount price as it was October, and we spent our wedding night at my parents' home because we couldn't afford a hotel. But I wouldn't change anything, looking back." 

James and Ola Jordan on their wedding day© HELLO!
The couple on their wedding day in 2003

Of their relationship, Ola adds, "We are like an old married couple now, but there is no such thing as a perfect marriage. It is too easy to call it quits rather than trying to work through things. If you really want to be with that person, you make it work." 

Adds James: "It feels as though we've been together forever. All the big decisions I've ever made in my life have been with Ola; all the things we've been through together in life, sharing those moments makes our bond even stronger." 

James and Ola Jordan's daughter Ella

The most life-changing moment has been becoming parents, thanks to IVF. "Ella is the best thing that has ever happened to us," Ola says. 

"Our biggest achievement," James agrees. "To be here reminiscing with Ella, saying: 'This was where Mummy walked down the stairs, this is where Mummy and Daddy put their rings on,' has been special."

James and Ola Jordan pose with daughter Ella for 20th wedding anniversary shoot© HELLO!
"Ella is the best thing that has ever happened to us," said Ola

The two women in his life make cameo appearances in Strictly the Truth, James's video column for hellomagazine.com on the highs and lows of the hit BBC show. "There is a lot of talent. Bobby Brazier is a really good dancer – he will go a long way. And Angela Rippon, bloody hell: 78 years old, she is amazing," he says. "I genuinely think it's going to be a strong year."

Thanks to Cooling Castle Barn. To find out more, visit coolingcastlebarn.

Photographer: Liz McAulay

Stylist: Arabella Boyce 

Hair and makeup by Alice Theobald @arlingtonartists using Trish McEvoy, Ardell lashes, CLOUD NINE

Wedding photos courtesy of James and Ola Jordan

To read the full article, pick up the latest issue of HELLO! on sale now. Subscribe to HELLO! to get the magazine delivered free to your door every week or purchase the digital edition online via our Apple or Google apps.

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