Trip down the aisle that was a walk in the park

AS wedding venues go, a bandstand in a windswept Yorkshire park may seem an odd choice.

Liz Gill and Guy Farmer in the Bandstand at Beaumont Park, Huddersfield.

But for one couple it was a dream come true, despite the occasional showers and swirling wind which blew over.

The weather may have been a little dreary and some guests may have felt the chill but the bride and bridegroom were all warmth and smiles as they wed in a park where both of them played as children.

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For generations Huddersfield’s splendid Victorian-era Beaumont Park has been a popular spot with courting couples and many a match has been made in its 130-year history.

Liz Gill and Guy Farmer in the Bandstand at Beaumont Park, Huddersfield.

But the park’s bandstand had never been used as a wedding venue until yesterday when childhood sweethearts Liz Gill and Guy Farmer made history as they tied the knot in the bandstand, which was recently re-built in a £200,000 Lottery-funded project.

The pair had to overcome a number of obstacles before they could use the bandstand but both were equally determined to see it through.

“We were both brought up in the Beaumont Park area and we used to date when we were 17,” said Liz, 44.

“We originally wanted to get married in church but the vicar would not marry us as we have been married before. It was Guy’s idea for the bandstand because Beaumont Park means such a lot to both of us.

“I grew up in the park – during summer holidays I would be in the park from 9am.

“It’s such a beautiful place, with wooded areas and an old railway line. It is an unbelievable place to play.”

They contacted the register office in Huddersfield but were told the bandstand did not have a marriage licence.

Eventually, with the help of register office staff, they obtained the necessary documents after paying fees of around £600.

After they dated briefly when they were 17, Liz and Guy went their separate ways and started a family each.

After they were divorced they were re-introduced by mutual friend Ian Bryson and romance blossomed.

They went out for a drink almost three years ago and have been a couple ever since. They even work together in Guy’s tools business.

The pair, who now live opposite Beaumont Park in Mrs Farmer’s childhood home, have thanked Mr Bryson – the obvious choice as best man – for bringing them back together after so many years.

Mr Farmer, 45, said the choice of the park’s bandstand as wedding venue seemed the “logical” thing to do.

“We both grew up in the park and my two children did too. It seems a logical step to want to get married here; it’s fabulous.

“As kids we would spend all the time in the park, sledging, riding bikes and playing football. We would make dens and play hide and seek. It’s a beautiful, romantic venue.”

The 175 guests enjoyed fizz and cakes and a 30-piece swing band from Kirklees Music School’s Dewsbury centre played a number of pieces which included Here Come the Girls when the bride arrived in a Jaguar car with her friends.

Members of the Friends of Beaumont Park were on hand to help serve tea, cakes, coffee and champagne.

The couple said they are delighted that other couples are due to follow suit and marry in the bandstand.

“There is already another wedding planned for August,” said Mrs Farmer. “We will get reimbursed some of the money we paid for the licence.”

The bride wore an elegant 1940s style wedding dress which was made by her husband’s nephew Adam Shaw, 31, who designs and makes dresses from his studio in Lindley, Huddersfield.

“He is amazingly talented,” she added. “He has sent some drawings to Kate Middleton and helped put a slant on my ideas for my own dress.”

Friends of Beaumont Park chairman Peter Turner, watching the ceremony in his anorak, declared the bandstand a “terrific” place to tie the knot.

“It’s typical weather for June in Huddersfield – unpredictable, but what’s new – we can cope. People have brought their brollies and we are used to the weather. People know it’s open-air so if they have not prepared they should have been!”

Mary Kenworthy, treasurer for the Friends group, said that staging a wedding in the bandstand had not proved easy.

“It is quite a logistical nightmare,” she said. “There’s no water or toilet facilities, unless you bring them. But the ceremony is only 20 minutes. The Friends thought it would be nice to serve bubbly and our member Kath Hill has made 160 buns.

“If this (wedding) was last week when it was lovely and warm it would have been super – when it’s changeable weather it’s a nightmare. We have already had a gazebo blow over.”