Dad, you made my Oulton Broad and Pakefield wedding day extra special...

A WEDDING is always a special day for the father of the bride.

But the wedding of the Rev Ian Bentley's daughter Hannah was even more touching – as he conducted the service after giving her away.

Mr Bentley walked his 21-year-old daughter down the aisle at St Mark's Church in Oulton Broad on Saturday and after former curate Helen Jary asked for him to come forward, he then conducted the rest of the service as Hannah, of Oulton Broad, married Sam Betts, of Pakefield.

Mr Bentley said he had great pride in conducting the ceremony and that he had a particularly close relationship with his daughter, who spent the beginning of her life in an incubator.

'I'm not overly emotional but our father and daughter relationship is quite strong, especially as she was premature so I've been quite protective,' he said.

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He added: 'The service is powerful and all couples mean what they say, but they are two committed Christian people making their vows before God and they really mean it, making the power of their words even stronger.'

Hannah, who was born weighing just 4lb in Germany, said she was really happy that her father had agreed to conduct the service.

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'I asked a few years ago if he would, but he said he didn't want to, he wanted to just be my dad. But when I got engaged last year he liked the idea,' she said.

Before the service, Hannah was driven to the church in luxury style – appropriately in a Bentley – and the wedding was also a marriage of two Lowestoft church dynasties, as Sam's dad Mike is the leader of Lowestoft Community Church.

The ceremony itself was a real family affair too, with Hannah's brother Tim, 19, playing Igiorni by Luduvico Einaudi as she walked down the aisle, while Mr Betts gave a talk, and the two mums Caroline Bentley and Sue Betts both gave lessons.

Sam, 25, said: 'I think it is nice to have everybody involved. I think it makes the day even more special.'

The service also included a dance from six girls from Oulton Broad's Venue of Performing Arts and the reception was held in Earsham, where Hannah grew up.

The couple met through church and started dating in 2007 and Sam, 25, proposed in Barcelona last year. Their honeymoon is being spent in Egypt.

When they return, they will move into their new home together in Carlton Colville, with Sam starting as head of RE at Bungay High School in September and former Bungay High School pupil Hannah starting her third year of teacher training at UCS Suffolk.

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