Making a wave ... Cunard’s first wedding couple say “I do”
Cunard's firtst couple ever to be married at sea arrive back in Southampton today after their historic adventure.
Denise Holding and Barry Maloney tied to knot on April 29 on an Atlantic crossing between Southampton and New York.
The couple, who run the Accrington Riding Centre in Lancashire, have been together 28 years but it was the opportunity to wed aboard their favourite ship that made up their minds to marry.
Barry and Denise Maloney with Captain Kevin Oprey at the couple’s wedding on Queen Mary 2
Barry said: ‘‘What better venue than Queen Mary 2! We have been on board many, many times and for us both the service and the quality are excellent. We are well looked-after and with the glamour and nostalgia, it couldn’t be a better venue.
“The best part is, you don’t just have the wedding day - you have the rest of the voyage to enjoy and the destination, which for us is New York.
“You have the excitement and the build-up of the wedding and it’s not over when the ceremony has finished as you are still on board with your friends and family.”
Barry and Denise Maloney at the entrance to the Britannia Restaurant on their wedding day
The couple set sail on April 27 and enjoyed a round trip voyage from Southampton to New York and home again, arriving back in Southampton today (May 11).
The wedding service was conducted by Captain Kevin Oprey, and attended by bridesmaids Lesley Walton and Jocelyn Hargreaves from the couple’s riding school, as well as members of the ship’s crew, who they know well from previous Cunard voyages.
After the ceremony, Captain Oprey invited the couple up to the bridge to sound the ship’s whistle, which can be heard 10 miles away. Wedding bells, Queen Mary 2-style!
Denise said of the couple’s big day: “It was perfection from the start, from having printed invites – even though we didn’t have many guests – to the room which looked spectacular. As soon as I walked in, I saw the beautiful flowers and my bridal bouquet was gorgeous. It was lovely to be escorted from the stateroom by the Bell Boy - as he took my arm, I felt really relaxed.
“We felt so special all day long and everybody who dealt with us was very professional. Looking back we would do it all over again. It was magical.
“Having our photos taken around the ship made us feel like celebrities, especially when other guests on board kept congratulating and applauding us everywhere we went. It was like fairytale; one year on from the Royal Wedding we had our own Royal Wedding at sea.”
Barry commented: “On the wedding day I was so nervous I couldn’t put on my boutonniere so the florist, Mikee, helped me to pin it on my jacket. Cunard went above and beyond to make our day special and romantic. Everything had been thought about from the ceremony to the wedding cake presented on a beautiful silver cake stand with decorative knife. We wouldn’t have done it on any other ship, everyone should experience Cunard White Star Service at least once in their lifetime.”
Asked if there was one thing in particular that made them feel special on the day, Denise replied:
“The Captain. When I walked up to the altar he put me straight at ease and talked me through the ceremony really well to help me to deliver my words correctly. He was so gracious.”
Barry said: “The highlight of the day for us, being the first wedding couple to be married on any Cunard ship, was the opportunity to view the Bridge and blow the whistle at noon. I even got to sit in the Captain’s seat! That will stick in our minds forever - it was priceless.”
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