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Newlyweds recreate wedding day for grandparents who couldn’t attend

The staff at the nursing home kept the whole event a secret to ensure that Norman and Shirley were surprised.

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Hartismere Place Care Home staff with the family. (SWNS)

By Finley Mackenzie via SWNS

A pair of loved up newlyweds recreated their wedding day at a nursing home to surprise the bride's sickly grandparents who had been unable to attend the big day.

Chloe Wootton, 27, and her new husband, Reece, 26, were told that her grandparents, Shirley, 86, and, Norman Howard, 90, couldn't attend their wedding day due to ill health.

Shirley was unable to walk unaided and her doting husband decided not to attend the nuptials without her.

But bride Chloe was determined to have them involved and set about organizing a secret second wedding at Hartismere Care Home in Suffolk, England.

Shirley holding Chloe's dress. (Hartismere Place Care Home via SWNS)

The nursing home wedding came just two day after their initial ceremony on August 4, 2022, held at The Boathouse in Ormesby, Great Yarmouth, Norfolk.

"Seeing nanny's face light up in joy made the whole surprise worth it," said Chloe, a teacher.

"I just wanted my nanny and grandad see me get married, and at first, I thought it would never happen.

"I'm so grateful and honored that we shared that moment with my grandparents."

Chloe and Reece, a bank manager, were high school sweethearts and got together in year 10.

They got engaged in 2019 while on vacation in the Dominican Republic.

At first, Normal and Shirley - who have been married for 70 years - were excited to attend their granddaughter's wedding but, due to a sudden decline in health, they had to pull out just six weeks before the big day.

"I was devastated when nanny said she couldn't come," Chloe said.

"I knew how much she wanted to see the dress and I was hoping her mobility would improve."

But after her initial disappointment, Chloe decided to devise a plan which meant she could share her special day with them.

After a couple of emails to the regional director of the nursing home, they were granted permission to hold a short afternoon tea in the garden.

The staff at the nursing home kept the whole event a secret to ensure that Norman and Shirley were surprised.

Chloe in the garden of Hartismere Place Care Home. (SWNS)
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On August 7, the couple arrived in full wedding attire, surprising the grandparents to a memorable wedding reception and a lovely afternoon tea in the grounds of the home.

After an emotional reunion, with tears all round, the foursome drank prosecco under a beautifully decorated pergola and sipped champagne, served by the 'wonderful' nursing home staff, while looking over pictures from the first big day.

Chloe's grandad, Norman, who had worked as a herdsman and served in the Army, said: “It was a wonderful surprise."

After a two hours of tea and lots of chats in the garden, Chloe and Reece left her delighted grandparents, in the capable hands of nursing home staff.

"It was lovely showing my nanny the dress," she said.

"Nanny enjoyed looking through the various pictures at the wedding, and asked if she could see every outfit.

"It was a hard decision for grandad to not come due to nanny's mobility, but I'm happy I was able to bring the wedding to them.

"My grandparents love Reece so it was great to show off my new husband as well.

"I did ask nanny if she had any advice on marriage.

"She said: 'Stick together and enjoy every minute.'"

During the union, the nursing home staff invited the other residents over to join in and celebrate with the happy couple.

“They started clapping when they saw us - it was lovely," Chloe said.

“I’m sure that a lot of the residents have missed their grandchildren’s wedding due to medical issues.

“I’m happy I could bring a little light.”

Chloe spoke of the moment that Shirley touched her wedding dress.

“Nanny couldn’t keep her hands off the dress," she said.

“She said: ‘You look like a princess, I’m so proud of you'.

“I noticed her tear up a couple times during our afternoon tea.

“I think seeing her granddaughter married and in love was quite overwhelming.

“She’s always wanted us to be happy and loved.

“I’m so happy I could share that with her.”

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