A couple left friends and family stunned after turning the christening of their baby daughter – into a surprise WEDDING.
Hannah Clayton, 29, and Darren Harding-Evans, 39, hatched a secret plot to throw the double celebration midway through the baptism of nine-month-old Bryony.
Whilst guests took their turn taking photographs with the christening girl, the pair sneaked off and got ready to pull the surprise on Sunday afternoon (25/8).
Hannah then reemerged at the back of the church in a flowing white wedding dress much to the amazement of the unsuspecting congregation.
She then walked down the aisle with her grandfather as the best man’s two young daughters sang Elvis Presley’s ‘Can’t Stop Falling In Love With You’.
Many family members were left in tears as Hannah and Darren then exchanged vows on the altar of St Giles Church, in Wrexham, north Wales.
The couple went on to enjoy their reception at Holt Lodge, which had already been set aside for the christening celebrations, with their 74 guests.
Only a handful of relatives were aware of the top secret plans – with even the flower girls and the best man being taken by surprise on the day.
Hannah, a support worker from Wrexham, said: “We’ve been together eight years and engaged since 2014 so we thought it was as good a time as any.
“We only told a handful of people including parent and the bridesmaids, as we needed a little bit of help organising it.
“But most of the people just thought they were coming along for Bryony’s christening so they were all in for a massive shock.
“Not even the flower girls or the best man knew until the day. We sneaked off while one of Darren’s friends was being deliberately awkward taking photos.
“He was trying to get a big group shot to give us a bit of time, so I went and got changed into my wedding dress and we gave the flower girls their bouquets.
“The best man’s daughters started singing Elvis Presley’s ‘Can’t Stop Falling In Love With You’ and then I appeared, much to his and everyone else’s surprise.
“I was so nervous I didn’t even look at anyone in the crowd. It was all just a blur but I know a lot of people were very emotional.
“I was actually surprised with how many people turned up and I’m glad to have shared the special day with everyone.”
The couple were able to organise their big day in just nine weeks with the help of a handful of family and Reverend Jason Bary at the church.
Darren, who owns a tuning shop, said his best man Ben Jones, 36, was left gobsmacked when he handed him over his tie and pinhole flower.
He added: “We wanted to keep it small and personal but then it grew and we ended up with about 70 guests.
“My best man wasn’t happy at first when I dropped it on him at the altar. His first words were ‘I hope you don’t expect me to do a speech’.
“We’d joked about doing something like this for a while but we thought this was the best time and place to actually go ahead with it.
“I’d seen these done before, but its usually people thinking they were turning up for a christening and it actually being a wedding. We wanted to celebrate both.
“I’ve never seen anyone do them with the outfit change half way through, but that’s what we wanted to do.
“So we had the traditional photos around the font and then it was time for us to say our vows and Hannah reemerged and walked down the aisle with her grandfather.
“I think around 90 per cent of the guests had no idea what was going to happen.
“The reverend was very excited about it all as well, and helped it all go smoothly to plan.
“We didn’t have the order of service finalised until about 72 hours before. It was a real whirlwind but we managed to get it done.”
Hannah’s mum, Sharon, 49, said she only found out about the surprise three weeks before the wedding.
She said: “It was beautiful. I’m so happy and overjoyed for them both, there wasn’t a dry eye in the room when people realised.”
Bridesmaid Kayley McGreachan, 29, added: “Hannah was stressing so much and was excited and nervous.
“She had tears in her eyes when she came out, it was very emotional, a lovely afternoon.”
The couple, who are also parents to four-year-old son George, now plan to celebrate their honeymoon in Thailand later in the year.