A divorced mum has married the plate-smashing Greek waiter – who she danced with at her FIRST wedding.
Photos show her in her wedding dress holding his hand – and her husband’s – while they all perform the traditional ‘Zorba’ dance at her reception.
Five years later she revisited the restaurant after splitting up with her hubby – and instantly bonded with Fred.
After a whirlwind holiday romance they became an item and tied the knot last month.
Once again they danced together – this time swapping the Zorba for a slow-dance as man and wife.
Natalie, from Stonehouse, Gloucestershire, shares her story with RealFix here…
‘What about Greece?’ I suggested to my fiance, Owen*, as we flicked through wedding magazines.
We were planning our big day and trying to decide on a destination.
I had been to the island with my family every year from the age of 12 – and loved everything about it.
The crystal clear waters, white sandy beaches and charming little villages – it felt like a home away from home.
Since Owen and I had been together we’d also been to the same spot in Stalis, Crete, on holiday.
‘Let’s go for it,’ he smiled.
I contacted a wedding planner in Greece and set about finding the perfect venue on the island.
We settled on a romantic beach ceremony followed by a reception for our 17 nearest and dearest at the taverna where we usually went for dinner and drinks on our holidays.
We knew the family that owned it and had even got to know the staff over the years too.
We always stopped to catch up with one of the waiters – Lefteris.
We especially loved the traditional Greek dancing and plate smashing – called the Zorba – they performed to entertain diners and planned to incorporate it into our wedding.
When our big day arrived it was everything I dreamt of and more.
I felt like a princess in my white gown with pink lace detail.
The sun was shining and all of our guests were having a whale of a time.
In the evening, we all took to the dance floor – and we were joined by one of the Greek waiters, Fred, 36, for the traditional routine and plate smashing.
Lefteris wasn’t working, but Fred was brilliant – he’d been working at the taverna for a couple of years and we knew of him.
We danced side by side and he made the evening, getting all of our guests up on the dance floor.
After the wedding, Owen and I spent the days soaking up the sunshine – it was bliss.
When we returned to the UK, we settled into married life.
We continued to jet back to Crete every year on holiday with our children, Ben*, 15, and Anna*, 17.
But in 2016, my marriage broke down.
Owen and I had been together for 16 years and married for four.I was devastated that our relationship had crumbled.
Knowing what would cheer me up, I booked a holiday back to Crete for August 2017 and 17 family members decided to join.
We sunbathed on the beach and swam in the sea – it was just what I needed.
We even returned to the taverna – where we had partied on the night of our wedding.
The kids always loved the plate-smashing and dancing so I thought it would keep them entertained.
As I sat down at the table, I could feel the waiter’s eyes on me.
I went to the toilet and on my way back to my seat, he stopped me.
‘I recognise you,’ he beamed.
‘You look rather familiar too,’ I said, trying to place him.
It was Fred – the waiter I’d danced with on my wedding night.
We got chatting.
It was obvious I was no longer married.
Fred was funny and flirty, but I wasn’t looking for love.
‘I’d love to take you out,’ he said.
‘I don’t know,’ I sighed.
I went back to the table and told my mum, Lisa*, 61, Fred had asked me out.
Before I could stop her, she marched straight up to him and got chatting.
He then came over to the table and slipped me his name and number.Fred asked me to meet him for a coffee the next day.
‘What have you got to lose?’ mum said, convincing me to go.
‘Oh fine,’ I said, caving in. ‘I’ll meet him.’
We met the next day and sat chatting for hours.
There was an instant connection – we clicked right away.
‘I remember your wedding,’ Fred told me. ‘We danced, do you recall?’
‘Yes,’ I laughed. ‘How could I forget?’
Fred was charming and handsome – I was instantly smitten.
After our date, we saw each other whenever we could.
We met up for a coffee here and there and once he’d finished work in the bar at 1am.When it was time to head back to the airport to fly back to the UK, I was upset.
But we decided we wanted to give things a go and became a long-distance couple.
Just like in the olden days, we’d write letters to each other – as well as speaking on the phone and constantly texting.
We quickly fell madly in love.
Fred at the seal of approval from my kids too.
‘I can’t wait to see you again,’ I said during one of our hundreds of phone calls.
‘Me too,’ Fred said. ‘I miss you so much.’
We decided to book a holiday together and headed to Athens, Greece, for a bit of time together.
‘I don’t want to leave you again,’ I said, getting teary ahead of my flight home to Gloucester, Gloucestershire.’I don’t want you to go either,’ Fred sighed, equally as upset.
Back in the UK, I counted down the days until I’d see Fred again.
And one day, there was a knock at the door.
‘Who could that be?’ I thought, not expecting any visitors.
I opened the front door and was met by Fred, with a warm smile – holding a bouquet of flowers.
Flinging my arms around him, I cried: ‘I can’t believe you’re here.’
‘I wanted to surprise you,’ he told me, giving me a kiss.
Knowing our relationship was serious, we talked about marriage and Fred moved in with me in December 2017.
Six months later, we were having a meal at a restaurant by the beach in Weston-Super-Mare, Somerset, when Fred popped the question.
‘I want to spend the rest of my life with you. Will you marry me, Natalie?’ he asked.
‘Of course I will,’ I squealed.
I was granted a divorce from my ex-partner on Christmas Eve 2019 and Fred and I booked a slot at the registry office for 8th February 2020.
As soon as Fred received a letter of permission to marry me from the Home Office, we tied the knot.
Instead of the traditional Greek dancing and plate-smashing, we had a slow dance – it was perfect.
‘I can’t believe I’m finally your Mrs,’ I cooed.
Fred and I are enjoying married life and have decided to head back to Crete, Greece – the place where we first met – for our honeymoon later in the year.
‘Who would have thought I’d end up marrying the Greek waiter I danced with at my first wedding?’ I laughed to Fred.
Fred said: ‘Every time we met and she went home it became even more upsetting because we had become closer.
‘I knew she was the one I wanted to marry. The feeling was crazy. I had never been so in love with anyone. Everyday I missed her more.
‘She looked beautiful, like a princess and she was going to become my wife.
‘Now she is my wife, I am just so happy and we are so happy together.’