In a UK first, a loved-up couple from Derby have tied the knot in a dream, crowd-sourced wedding ceremony in Cyprus after capturing the hearts of the online community.
Natalie Bilston and Kriss Aixill, who received thousands of votes, likes, and comments along their social media journey, were chosen by Thomson’s Facebook community to hand over some of their biggest wedding planning decisions for their special day.
Over a 10 week period, Thomson’s Facebook community decided that Natalie would wear a dress with a sweetheart neckline and her bridesmaids would be in a one shoulder style. They also selected a driving experience for the stag do, and a boat trip for the hen party. The final elements of the wedding were the coral colour scheme and a beach theme, with John Legend’s ‘All of Me’ chosen for the first dance.
All of this became a reality as Kriss and Natalie’s intimate wedding took place at the Thomson Platinum Athena Beach Hotel in Paphos, Cyprus. The happy couple, surrounded by their closest friends and family, enjoyed a beach-side ceremony, sunset cocktail reception and steak and seafood wedding breakfast, followed by traditional Greek dancing.
Bride and groom Natalie and Kriss, who met in Canada on an army exercise, got engaged after a hot, dusty and emotional tour of Iraq. During their stint in the army they didn’t have the time to get married, and since leaving they hadn’t been able to afford to, despite trying to save up. Following their wedding ceremony Natalie said:
“The wedding was an absolute dream come true. Being from Cornwall originally, I’d always dreamed of getting married by a beach and the setting yesterday couldn’t have been more perfect. The crowd-sourced elements were exactly what we’d have chosen ourselves and yesterday was the perfect end to an exciting couple of months. It’s definitely something we’ll treasure forever.”
Kriss said of their wedding: “We’re so grateful to Thomson and to the Facebook community for all they’ve contributed to what was truly the best day of our lives.”
Jeremy Ellis, Marketing and Digital Director for Thomson and First Choice said: “With the average cost of a UK wedding around £20,000 compared to £8,000 for a ceremony overseas, it is no surprise that one in five weddings now takes place abroad. We are thrilled to have been able to offer our planning expertise in Cyprus, as well as the input of our Facebook community, to make Kriss and Natalie’s wedding dream a reality.
“Crowd-sourcing a wedding was a first for the UK, a first for Thomson and a first for the holiday industry. In the digital age we live in, and with the growing use of digital and social media channels as a source of wedding inspiration, we thought it would be great to invite the Facebook community to make some of the biggest wedding decisions – resulting in a fantastic destination wedding, for a fantastic couple.”
Check out Kriss and Natalie’s wedding planning journey on the Thomson blog: www.thomson.co.uk/blog