Gloucestershire Echo Win a Wedding couple unveiled
"WE'RE gobsmacked!" Indeed, lucky couple Amber Palmer and Mark Cooke could barely get the words out after discovering they'd won an all-expenses paid wedding, worth £15,000.
"It means everything to me", said groom-to-be Mark, after hearing how he and fiancée Amber had secured the public vote ahead of nine other contestants in the Echo Win A Dream Wedding competition, in association with Hatherley Manor Hotel.
The couple, from Wyman's Brook, have been together for two-and-a-half years, met through Mark's mother, and fomented their relationship over Facebook.
Ecstatic Amber said that without the win there was no way they would have been able to afford to get married in the foreseeable future.
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Friends and family had canvassed the local area with leaflets, posters and doorstep pitches to ensure Mark and Amber got their wish.
The couple got engaged in February after Mark, 20, proposed to Amber, 34, over a special Valentine's date night.
Best friend Nikki Jones said she had "never seen Amber so happy".
"They're brilliant together," she said. "We had the ring at our house for a while, and that night we were waiting for a phone call, but it was taking ages and ages. We were wondering whether he'd backed out."
Nigel Black, Echo marketing manager, said more than 35,000 votes had been cast across the competition, and 23 couples initially registered in the hope of securing their dreamed-for wedding.
Echo editor Kevan Blackadder said: "It's very clear that all the couples are made for each other, and we've got some wonderful weddings to look forward to in Gloucestershire."
Steve Trowbridge, Hatherley Manor Hotel manager, said he was "looking forward to throwing a fantastic bash." for the lucky winners. As part of their wedding package, Amber and Mark will hold their celebration at Hatherley Manor, complete with red carpet on arrival, an elegant three-course meal, ending the night in the hotel's bridal suite.
And to make the wedding a truly glamorous success, dress, bridal makeover, flowers and photography will all be supplied by local businesses.
Sponsors include The Flower Studio, Slaters groomswear, Vicki Haines Photography, Cake & Sugarcraft Boutique, A Perfect Day, Chapelle Jewellery, Magdeline Chapter, Montpellier Chapter and Charmaine's Foods Ltd.
But the nine other couples wouldn't leave empty-handed, added Nigel, with competition sponsors offering special wedding-day offers for all the Win A Wedding contestants.
* The Citizen Win a Wedding winners will be announced at a ceremony tonight.