Guests to a christening had an extra reason to celebrate when they discovered on arrival they would also be watching the girl’s parents getting married.
Craig and Claire Pickering (nee Kelly), met on separate nights out with friends in Douglas three years ago, and were keen to leave the church as a family, including with the same surname.
The couple, who live in Douglas, married at St Paul’s Church, in Foxdale, before their one-year-old daughter Amelia’s christening.
Claire, who gains a step-son – Craig’s five-year-old son Aidan – explained: ‘We decided to keep it a secret so that we could organise the day that we wanted for us and our children and we wanted it to be a day for us all to be united as one family.
‘We knew that our families would be delighted with the news and they are all very supportive so we had no worries that there were going to be any negative reactions from them.’
She admitted that it was ‘ridiculously hard’ to keep the wedding a secret, adding: ‘I spent months sneaking in and out of bridal/flower shops etc hoping that I hadn’t been seen.’
Claire said: ‘The reaction at the church was by all accounts amazing and I’m only sorry I wasn’t there to see it.
‘When the news was announced by the vicar the congregation burst into a round of cheers and applause.
’Everyone was delighted with the news although shocked that we had managed to pull it off!
‘Both of our families were over the moon and said afterwards that it had been a fabulous surprise.’
Following the service, they held their reception at the Sefton Hotel, Douglas, and then enjoyed their honeymoon in St Lucia.