Surprise! Groom proposes and marries new wife on the SAME day

Family at wedding

Rory and Marion Jackson with their children Isla, 4, and Louie, 6. Picture: Sharon Cudworth Photography and Holly Hambling Photography - Credit: Sharon Cudworth Photography and Holly Hambling Photography

An unsuspecting bride was presented with four wedding dresses and given just two hours to get ready for her big day after a surprise proposal.

Groom Rory Jackson, from Pinewood, on the outskirts of Ipswich, secretly planned his wedding to long-term girlfriend Marion Summers for nearly two years - organising everything from the reception to the outfits, with a little help from her mum and dad.

Surprise wedding proposal

Rory Jackson, from Pinewood, proposes to unsuspecting wife-to-be Marion at Fynn Valley. Picture: Sharon Cudworth Photography and Holly Hambling Photography - Credit: Sharon Cudworth Photography and Holly Hambling Photography

And Marion knew nothing until they arrived at Fynn Valley on a Sunday morning for what was supposed to be a birthday lunch only to be greeted by 50 of their closest friends and family

"As we pulled up, I started thinking 'something is going down here'," said Marion, 41. "I thought it would be a party, and as I walked in they all shouted 'surprise'."

But there were more surprises to come.

"I saw someone hand him a microphone and suddenly he got down on one knee. I thought it might be a proposal and that he was making it a joint birthday and engagement but when I said 'yes' he told me we were getting married in two hours."

Marion, who works for Willis in Ipswich, continued: "I was in shock but I was really happy because all I wanted was to get married to Rory."

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The unsuspecting bride did have one question for her future husband. "I asked him if I had a dress, and he said I had four to pick from."

Rory, also 41, admits finding the dresses was one of the most challenging aspects of organising a secret wedding.

Kissing bride and groom

Bride Marion Summers was incredibly proud of her new husband. Picture: Sharon Cudworth Photography and Holly Hambling Photography - Credit: Sharon Cudworth Photography and Holly Hambling Photography

He said: "Every time I phoned somewhere they said I was completely mad, that I couldn't do it, that dresses have to measured and adjusted. But I wasn't deterred and eventually I got through to someone who could help."

Rory came across Just a Day Bridalwear, in Norwich Road, who agreed to sell him four dresses while offering a refund on the three unworn outfits.

His future mother-in-law went along to help him choose four suitable options, conscious of not only Marion's tastes and size but also how easy they may be to alter.

"Two of the dresses I discounted straight away, one was too big and it would have been hard to do anything with so that swayed it for me," said the bride.

wedding couple

Happy couple Marion and Rory Jackson are waiting to have their wedding made legal. Picture: Sharon Cudworth Photography and Holly Hambling Photography - Credit: Sharon Cudworth Photography and Holly Hambling Photography

"Mum had her sewing machine in the room and she only had to alter the length."

Rory had, with the help of the team at Fynn Valley, plus support from a close network of friends and relatives, organised everything including flowers and a cake while his sister, a teacher, officiated on the day.

Rory, who works for Axa, and son Louie, six, had matching suits and he picked out a dress for daughter Isla that was similar to her mum's because he knew they liked to match.

"When we went for the suit-fitting I told Louie that if mum asked where we had been he had to tell her we had been to see a man about a dog," laughed Rory.

Brother and sister at wedding

Isla, 4, and brother Louie, 6, had no idea their parents were about to tie the knot after their dad's surprise proposal. Picture: Sharon Cudworth Photography and Holly Hambling Photography - Credit: Sharon Cudworth Photography and Holly Hambling Photography

"Marion's mum played dress up with Isla at her house and got her to put on loads of Princess dresses and then the bridesmaid dress, so we knew it fitted but if she went home and told Marion they could say it was just a game."

"I was amazed by all of it," said Marion. Although she did admit she is looking forward to organising another party to celebrate again in the new year after they make the marriage legal with an official celebrant. 

Wedding

Just a Day Bridalwear in Norwich Road, Ipswich helped Rory choose four dresses for his future bride - and one fitted like a glove. Picture: Sharon Cudworth Photography and Holly Hambling Photography - Credit: Sharon Cudworth Photography and Holly Hambling Photography

The couple have been together more than a decade and had debated marriage in the past.

Rory said: "Our commitment is evident by the fact we have kids together, but Marion wanted to get married so she would have the same name as the kids."

After seeing all of their siblings marry, Rory decided the time was right and in February 2020, he started planning his epic surprise.

He said: "Marion always feels unloved on her birthday because it is so close to Christmas so I thought I would do something special."

But as the big day drew nearer, he realised lockdown would hamper his grand plan so he pulled the plug and delayed for a year, surprising her instead on her 41st birthday at the start of the month.

His new wife was impressed but said: "I didn't know he was such a good liar."