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Couple celebrate entire wedding ceremony on train from Paddington to Swansea

Couple celebrate entire wedding ceremony on train from Paddington to Swansea

A couple who met on a train, commuted by train to date each other and shared their first kiss on a train have tied the knot in a very similar fashion.

Leah, 38, and Vince Smith, 39, held their entire wedding on board a special Great Western Railway (GWR) train on Friday, which set off from London Paddington station and took the wedding party all the way to Swansea.

“It’s been amazing. GWR has been so fantastic and everything they’ve done, the set-up, is brilliant. It’s like a dream come true,” Mr Smith told the PA news agency.

The journey encompassed all the usual matrimonial traditions – from the wedding vows and family photos to a three-course meal with speeches – after the locomotive played a pivotal part in their relationship.

The couple, from Farncombe near Guildford, Surrey, first met in 2016 on board a GWR train from Wokingham to Reading as they travelled for their first date together, had their first kiss on a train, and used the service to visit and date each other.

The pair, who have been together for eight years, wanted to feature a small nod to the train operator when tying the knot so they contacted the social media team at GWR to see if they could provide a centrepiece for their wedding table.

“GWR got back to us really quickly and .. you could see that they were trying to push for something special for us, and obviously it eventually manifested into this amazing day,” Mr Smith said.

Starting on Friday morning, Ms Smith had her hair and make-up done in the Queen Victoria’s lounge on platform one at Paddington station while Mr Smith got ready at the old GWR boardroom at the station.

“I think that part is quite special because it is a section of Paddington that remained after Second World War bombing,” he said.

The train set off from London Paddington station and took the wedding party all the way to Swansea (GWR/PA)
The train set off from London Paddington station and took the wedding party all the way to Swansea (GWR/PA)

“I boarded the train and then obviously got set up with the minister and everything in the front carriage waiting for Leah to come on board,” Mr Smith said.

Ms Smith said: “When everyone was on the train I walked down the platform with my dad and my two eldest kids, and there were loads of people clapping and cheering, and it was very surreal.”

From there, the ceremony unfolded in front of 14 guests and the couple exchanged the rings as the train made its way towards Reading.

“We were wobbling all over the place while the ceremony was taking place but it was funny,” Mr Smith said.

Ms Smith’s father, who was a signalman on GWR’s sister network South Western Railway for 51 years, gave his daughter away along with the couple’s son.

The journey encompassed all the usual matrimonial traditions (GWR/PA)
The journey encompassed all the usual matrimonial traditions (GWR/PA)

She said their families thought the train ceremony was a “fantastic” idea, adding: “My dad, in particular, was very, very excited about it, as you can imagine.”

Traditional wedding photos followed, as well as a three-course meal in a Pullman dining car along with speeches and a champagne toast as the train passed through Berkshire, Wiltshire and Somerset.

The wedding guests departed the train at Cardiff while the newly-weds travelled on to Swansea, where GWR arranged a hotel for them to stay for the night.

For the couple, there is a “sentimental” aspect of holding their wedding on a train given it has played a pivotal role in their relationship.

Explaining their first date, Ms Smith said: “We went for a coffee and then a pizza, and just got on really, really well. On the way back, Vince was getting off at Wokingham.

The couple have been together for eight years (GWR/PA)
The couple have been together for eight years (GWR/PA)

“He went to leave and then ran back and kissed me. I knew from that first date we had something special.”

Mr Smith added: “On top of that, Leah’s dad has been in the industry for 50 years so she’s always had a place in her life for trains and always has journeys aboard on trains, and it’s been the same since we’ve been together.

“Whenever we have a holiday, the first thing we always look out for is steam train routes or picturesque train journeys, so it’s always been an important aspect of our activities.”

The couple’s honeymoon plans are not train-centric but they hope to stay on a refurbished steam train carriage for a couple of nights this year.