“A dream come true”
We catch up with our wedding winners ahead of their big day this week
Images: Emma Joanne/Shotgun Weddings
Eagle-eyed DIVA readers might remember that around this time last year, we teamed up with Shotgun Weddings to offer you the chance to win your dream wedding, worth £15,000. The only condition for entry? That the couple loves one another – furiously.
We had hundreds of entries, and the judging process was intensely difficult. But the winners were a couple who moved Team DIVA to tears with their heart-wrenching story.
“At the age of 34, my wife died suddenly from meningitis from a simple ear infection,” Emma Soutan told us in her entry. “That day, my world changed. I was a young widow, single parent to a three-year-old, desperately sad, scared and lonely.
“My family encouraged me to ‘get out there and meet someone’, so nearly two years later I apprehensively joined a dating site. Carly87 from Devon winked at me. How could anything come from it? Devon is 250 miles away from Kent!
“We connected straight away, and eventually we decided to meet. That day was full of feelings and emotions. I was scared – what if I got hurt again? Could I cope with another loss?
“The moment I first saw her, my heart started beating again. We fell in love there and then. That day, I got my life back, and after terrible sadness, found my happy ever after.”
Emma and Carly have been busy bees, planning their wedding, but they found time to check in with us to let us know how the prep is coming along for their big day this month, and to share some stunning snaps from their recent shoot with award-winning photographer Emma Joanne from Shotgun Weddings.
Emma and Carly
“2018 has been an amazing year for us. We welcomed in the year hearing the best news – us winning DIVA magazine’s Win Your Dream Wedding competition. Three months later, our beautiful baby girl joined us and made us a very happy family of four.
“This November, we are getting married with our nearest and dearest watching us promise the rest of our lives together. For us, getting married means legally joining our family together and visibly showing the world that we are each other’s soul mates.
“We have had the joy of planning our dream wedding with some fabulous vendors. They have made every step of the way so easy and we have been pampered from start to finish.
“We have planned some amazing surprises for our guests, helped along by a groundbreaking band. We are so excited to round off OUR year by raising a glass and having a dance – or two!”
The photographer's story
“I met with the DIVA wedding winners Emma and Carly recently over coffee before we embarked on their engagement shoot, bouncing around different locations in Brighton, all with the emphasis of having fun and creating some EPIC images!
“We started off at the Brighton Royal Pavilion where the couple are due to be wed, capturing the iconic palace as a backdrop to the lucky winners’ shoot. We then ventured down towards the Palace Pier, stopping along the way at the many quirky spots in Brighton I know so well.
“My approach with any of my couples is to take the emphasis off being photographed, which I find relaxes anyone who may be a little camera shy or not used to being photographed by a professional photographer.
“What transpired for me as a result of our shoot is a lovely set of images that represent Emma and Carly as a fun-loving couple in love – pre-wedding – which is always a good time to shoot. The girls now have some great portraits of themselves before they wed, but they have also had the opportunity to work with me, which will make the process of being photographed more familiar on their wedding day.
“I am now even more excited to be capturing Emma and Carly’s day following the fun we had on their engagement shoot, and cannot wait for November to come around!”
Find out more about Shotgun Weddings at shotgunweddings.co.
This article appears in the November 2018 issue of DIVA magazine. See more pictures in the issue, on sale now at the links below. We'll be at Emma and Carly's wedding on Thursday 8 November so follow DIVA on social media for a front row seat!
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