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Forget the Bahamas - let’s get married on Lowestoft seafront

PUBLISHED: 06:30 05 August 2011

Groom, Ben Bradford (left) with his bride Laura and their bestman Glen Chalis (centre) who comes from Kirkley.

Picture: James Bass

Groom, Ben Bradford (left) with his bride Laura and their bestman Glen Chalis (centre) who comes from Kirkley. Picture: James Bass

Archant Norfolk Photographic © 2011

For some couples it’s an historic country church; for others it’s the sun-kissed Carribean.

But for Ben and Laura Bradford there was nowhere more perfect for their big day than Lowestoft seafront.

The happy couple tied the knot on Monday with a white wedding service at Hotel Victoria, having travelled from their home in Stourbridge, West Midlands, along with many of their friends and relatives.

However, they are no strangers to the Sunrise Coast – and now consider it their second home.

Ben’s family holidays here every year and it was on Lowestoft’s South Beach that he first met his best 
friend-turned-best man Glen Challis. Ben met Lowestoft lad Glen in the early 1990s when their families rented beach huts next to each other. They forged a life-long friendship and are now as close as ever.

When 24-year-old Glen heard that Laura had accepted Ben’s proposal, he expected an invite to a wedding in Birmginham. Instead, he found himself planning a wedding in his own hometown.

“It’s a privilege,” said Glen, of Newark Road, Kirkley. “We have a few highlights of the year here in Lowestoft – things like the air festival – but this is definitely my highlight. It’s just brilliant. I’m really pleased they chose Lowestoft.”

The Bradford family own a caravan at Pakefield and spend almost every weekend from March to November on the east coast. Laura, 23, first started visiting with Ben five years ago.

“It’s fantastic for us because we love it here,” said the new Mrs Bradford (nee Price), a hairdresser.

“And we couldn’t have asked for better weather.”

Ben, an electrician, who is also 23, said he and his family had become very fond of the area. He said: “It’s like our second home...I’ve been coming here for 20 years. It’s where me and Glen met so it means a lot.”

Arranging a wedding some 200 miles from home meant much of the organising was done on the phone and by email. But everything went to plan, according to Ben’s parents Colin and Sue.

“I think having it here was a joint decision by the whole family,” said Sue. “It’s always been a second home to us and we’ve got family and friends in Norwich and Acle. We’re here all the time – it’s lovely to get away from it all.”

Colin said north Suffolk coast was the ideal place to escape to: “It’s the calm and the quiet we love. We’ve 
got quite a hectic life in the West Midlands and over the years Lowestoft has become our little haven,” he said.

“Glen has become like our third son. He even made a joke about being part of the family in his wedding speech.”

Glen, a joiner, also bought the newlyweds a miniature model of a beach hut – to remind them of where their lasting friendship began all those years ago.

After the reception, Ben and Laura flew out for their honeymoon in Cancun, Mexico.

But will they chose to settle down in Lowestoft when they return?

“Maybe,” said Ben. “We like the slower pace of life here. We’ll have to wait and see.”


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