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Alderney is perfect for couple’s speedy wedding

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WHEN Brian and Lara Farrell decided to get married they did not want to hang about.

They wanted the dress, vows and honeymoon all done in a week – and on a shoestring budget. Alderney ticked all the boxes.

Lara, a 28-year-old legal researcher from Portsmouth, proposed to Brian, 30, a primary school teacher from Ireland, on St Patrick’s Day, their five-year anniversary.

‘To get one up on me, he said “let’s do it next week”.

‘Then we set about researching where was the quickest place to get married in Europe,’ she said.

‘In the UK, Guernsey and Jersey you need to give the registrar 28 days’ notice before you get married.

‘Denmark is known as the Las Vegas of Europe and really promotes its quickie weddings, but there was a lot of paperwork involved and it cost quite a bit.

‘We’d never heard of this place called Alderney, but we found that you only needed to be resident on the island for five days to get married.’

Lara’s maiden name is also Farrell, saving even more effort.

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With her dress from eBay packed, she and Brian booked the Victoria Hotel and set off for Alderney.

In accordance with the law, they were on the island for three days, which they spent tramping around, and then gave the registrar notice – only one clear day is required – and got married on the fifth day of their stay.

Staff at the Victoria pulled out all the stops to make their wedding, if brief, very memorable.

After a breakfast and a gift basket of Alderney goodies, manager Ally Wray marched Lara up the aisle – in this case a sun-soaked Victoria Street – and into the courthouse, arriving a traditional few minutes late.

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‘Ally acted as ring-bearer, bridesmaid, confetti thrower and witness,’ said Lara. ‘She and everyone else was lovely. Our photographer, Jake Woodnutt, was the other witness and the Greffier married us.

‘It was all over in about four minutes. It was very brief, but really, really exciting. I still got jittery, even though it was so short and simple, with hardly any people there.

‘Back at the Victoria we shared a bottle of Prosecco and we got on the plane about half an hour later.’

They enjoyed a ‘honeymoon cruise’ on the boat from Guernsey to Portsmouth.

Lara insisted they were not in trouble with their nearest and dearest when they broke the news.

‘We just wanted to shock people. My mum loved it and thought it was very “us”. My nanny was a bit grumpy but she came round in the end. We’ll have a big wedding party next summer.’

They are planning a return visit to Alderney. ‘We’re definitely going to come back. It’s so beautiful and it gives us a very specific reason to revisit. We walked round the whole island. We had never heard of Alderney before but I would absolutely recommend it for a shotgun wedding.’

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