Oh baby! Couple tie the knot at their daughter's christening
GUESTS at a christening were left speechless when the service turned into a surprise wedding ceremony.
Stephen Dooley and Kelly Lacey had invited about 130 family and friends to see their five-month-old daughter Millie, christened.
But just as those who had filed into Hanley's Sacred Heart Catholic Church thought proceedings were coming to an end, the day took an unexpected twist.
Father Peter Weatherby, who was one of a handful of people in on the surprise, joked how it would have been nice if the couple could get married there and then, and asked if there were any best men or spare rings available.
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And when Stephen's three best men, who were also in on the surprise, produced two rings, the wedding ceremony was officially underway, leaving the majority of the church speechless.
Only eight people in the building – including the bride, groom and vicar – knew about the wedding.
Stephen's mum and dad, Ann and Tony Dooley, from Porthill, had no idea they were about to watch their youngest son get married when they turned up for the christening at 1pm on Saturday.
Ann, aged 60, said: "I couldn't believe it. We had no idea. It was a lovely service."
Tony, aged 70, said: "I think I'm still in shock."
Stephen's brother Neil Dooley, aged 38, from Porthill, said: "I thought they were joking at first, but then I realised they actually were going to get married."
Stephen and Kelly, who have been together for seven years and had been engaged for the past three, said they were delighted with how well their surprise big day went.
The couple, from Hillport Avenue, Porthill, had been secretly planning their wedding for eight weeks.
Kelly, a 30-year-old PA at The Co-operative Funeral Care, said she wasn't too fussed not to be wearing a traditional wedding dress.
She said: "We've been together for seven years and engaged for three years but it seemed like we would never get round to getting married.
"We had been saving some money but then Millie came along and that took up quite a bit of our money.
"We spoke to the Father at the church about the possibility of getting married after the christening and he was very excited and agreed."
Stephen, a 32-year-old builder at Alton Towers, said it had been hard work keeping the big day a secret.
He said: "My three best men have known about it for a week because I let it slip on a night out and Kelly's mum and best friend knew about it because they had helped her out with the planning.
"Everyone who we would want at our wedding was going to be at the baptism, so we thought we would save everyone the hassle of having to go to both and combine the two."
After the service, the couple headed off to the Polite Vicar, in Newcastle, to celebrate.
There was no traditional first dance, but best men Andy Woolridge, Kev Lunt and Courtney Watling all got up to say a few words.
And a half-and-half cake was produced, with a teddy one side to celebrate Millie's big day, and a horse shoe and bell on the other for Stephen and Kelly's landmark.