A big Christmas Day surprise led to perfect festive wedding

DESPITE living in one of the most luxurious cities in the world, home really is where the heart is for Richard Hall and Lynsey Swindells.

The pair met in Preston on a night out when Richard, from Longridge, asked Lynsey if his friend resembled an A-list celebrity.

“His first words to me were ‘do you think my friend looks like Orlando Bloom?’” says Lynsey, who left Leyland to work as a site manager of a learn to swim programme in Dubai, UAE.

“I laughed and said no, to which he asked if his mate could buy me a drink to which I replied, ‘no, but you can and you can buy my friend a drink as well.’

“He asked for my number and, when I tried to give him the wrong one, he took my phone and rang his off it so that he had my number.”

Richard’s sneakiness worked and the pair had their first date at an Italian restaurant in Samlesbury.

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On Christmas Day, 2013, Richard, a head development coach in Dubai, had a surprise for Lynsey – complete with a hand-made ring from Dubai.

“We were at his parents’ house in the living room, exchanging presents, when he presented me with a photo album of our journey since being in Dubai,” says Lynsey.

“I was looking through it and, towards the back, he had put four blank pieces of paper saying, ‘Will You Marry Me?’

“I couldn’t believe it. He had asked me in front of his parents, nanna, my parents and his two sisters, and no one knew except my dad as Richard had spoke to him only a few days before.

“Richard’s sister, Katrina, was jumping up and down as she was sitting next to me and saw the message first and I just started to cry with happiness.”

The couple were married at Haighton Manor, Preston, on December 22, where guests were entertained by singer Simon Dee who had them dancing all night.

“The day was perfect in every way,” says Lynsey.

“It was the Christmas wedding I wished for and we only had five months from booking the venue to the big day.

“We didn’t leave any small detail out and we honestly feel it could not have gone better.”

After five years in the Emirates, the new Mr and Mrs Hall are now looking to return back to the UK where their love story began.

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