A blushing bride racing to her wedding venue during the Giro d’Italia was given a celebrity reception by crowds lining the route.
Larne woman Rachel Parrett and Australian groom James Popple even received a VIP police escort to ensure they arrived at Carrickfergus’ Clarion Hotel on time.
When the young couple booked their wedding day 14 months ago, no one knew that Northern Ireland would be brought to a standstill by road closures amidst one of cycling’s most famous races.
Father-of-the-bride Martin Parrett revealed that his daughter was initially concerned about the race’s impact on her big day. He told The Times: “My daughter found out around three weeks before the wedding. I got in touch with a police constable in Lisburn who was very helpful and got an escort arranged.It all went very smoothly, although we were held up a bit on the day as even the police were taking pictures!”
Flanked by a police escort and with thousands of people thronging the route, Martin says that the Giro ultimately enhanced the wedding day. He continued: “It was like a Royal wedding. Rachel felt really important. She was so excited and then when the sirens went on she was jumping around and waving at the crowd! It added to the atmosphere of the day and made it extra special.”
For the groom’s Australian relatives, the spectacle of the Giro made their visit to Northern Ireland particularly memorable. James’s grandmother Jean Popple, visiting from Sydney, told The Times: “It was so beautiful, so magical, and it all worked out so beautifully. We love your country!”
The groom’s Aunt Natasha added: “It’s absolutely fantastic-we are the envy of all our friends and family back home. When the race came along we all rushed outside so all the wedding guests were cheering on the riders going past!”
Reflecting on the day, police Constable Ricky Taylor said: “Helping people is the very basis of our job and it was great to get the opportunity to help this couple on their wedding day.”
The bride and groom are planning to honeymoon in Malaga.