A Boston father had an emotional birthday gift when his daughter showed up to a family party in her wedding dress and got married.
Boston United legend Chris Cook, who turned 56 on Saturday, joined daughter Hayley and her partner Ben Webster in their 30th birthday celebrations at the Tetley Brewery in Leeds that very same day.
However, he, along with every other guest at the party, was surprised when asked to open a set of double doors close by for his own birthday present and there stood Hayley in a beautiful wedding dress.
Unbeknown to everyone the pair had been planning a surprise wedding and nobody knew about it.
Hayley, whose birthday is on Sunday (May 27) and Ben, whose birthday was on May 4, had given the impression it was all planned as 30th birthday celebrations with dad Chris ‘tagged to the side’.
It was a formal party, they sent invites saying it was retro theme and the dress code was formal wear.
Guests were invited to the main room, before dad was asked to open the doors for his present.
Chris, who runs Chris Cook Print in Boston with brother Glen, said: “When I was stood there and the doors were closed, I thought what the heck? Is the present so big it can’t fit through the door?
“There was a rumour they had got me a puppy, I’m not sure where that came from.”
“The door opened and she was stood in this gorgeous wedding dress.
“I burst into tears, she burst into tears - so did my wife and other people in the room. They were all gobsmacked!”
“I didn’t realise they were getting married there and then, but then I walked her down the aisle.”
“It was great, something different. A great surprise for everybody really. Everything went really well and it was a different way of approaching a wedding.
“Mrs Cook is still emotional, as am I. We were talking to Radio Lincolnshire and we burst into tears again.”
Chris added that Ben was a ‘lovely lad’ and that they had already been ribbing him for the past five years about getting married.
Hayley and Ben met in 2007 at Lincoln University. They have been together about nine years.
They both now live and work in Leeds, Hayley as a Corporate Communications Manager at Leeds Trinity University and Ben as a Digital Designer at Puregym.
Hayley told The Standard the wedding was a ‘huge success and said the couple ‘loved every second of it’.
“Dad’s reaction was just as I’d expected - I definitely thought he would cry!
“And everyone else’s was incredible - far more expressive and emotional than I’d anticipated.
“I thought people would be excited but I didn’t expect the uproar and cheering, it was amazing.”
She said the pair had wanted to get married for a while but did not want anything traditional.
“We came up with the idea of having a surprise wedding a couple of years ago, but we didn’t actually think we’d be able to pull it off!
“But the closer we got to our 30ths, the more we wanted to do something really spectacular.
“I would say we started organising it properly about a year ago.”
She admitted it had been difficult keeping the wedding a secret - particularly as people kept asked when they were getting married.
”We just decided to throw people off the scent by telling them we probably wouldn’t get married, and that we were both okay with that.
“People had actually stopped asking us - so I’m sure it was an even bigger surprise.”
The pair are looking to have a honeymoon later in the year, and are now back at work.