Alexander O’Neal performs live on stage as Clacton couple become the first-ever to tie the knot at Princes Theatre
- Credit: Archant
Wedding venues are steadily becoming more and more unusual. Medieval castles, football pitches, shopping aisles and in mid-air while bungee jumping are now familiar settings for tying the knot.
But Essex couple Craig Wiggins and Katrina Blackwell have taken it one stage further by getting married in Clacton’s Princes Theatre – the first ever wedding at the venue.
And to make the day even more dramatic, the celebration was advertised as a joint-birthday party for the 230 guests.
“We kept it a secret for almost a year. Nobody knew anything about it, except for two members of staff and some close friends,” said Mr Wiggins, 50, a director of MRL Productions which has worked with the theatre for the last decade.
It was only at the very last minute while Katrina was in the dressing room of the theatre that their parents discovered they were there for a grander occasion.
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And after the ceremony, legendary American rhythm and blues singer Alexander O’Neal performed a full set live on stage.
“It surpassed all of our expectations and it was one of the best days of my life,” Mr Wiggins added.
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“According to all the guests, Alex sounded just like he did in the 1980s, which was really cool.
“Everyone in the audience thought it was just going to be a joint-birthday party, and there were rumours Alex might perform at some point, but everyone was really shocked when he did as they thought it might have been a bluff.”
Mr Wiggins has two children with 40-year-old Katrina – Milla, 10 and Herbie, four.
It was the first full wedding – ceremony and reception – that the Princes, run by Tendring District Council (TDC), had hosted and it is hoped that more will follow.
Mr Wiggins added: “I know the theatre very well and we needed somewhere which could hold 200-plus guests.
“My company liaised closely with the theatre to organise the lighting, sound and special effects and it was just a fantastic venue which lived up to our dreams.”
Mick Skeels, cabinet member for leisure at TDC, said it was appropriate that the first full wedding at the theatre was such a “special occasion”.
He said: “I think quite a lot of people got a surprise – but it was a nice surprise.
“The theatre looked unbelievable and from what I am told it was an evening to remember for all who were there.”
Anyone interested in finding out more information about staging their wedding at the Princes Theatre should call Melissa Leek on 01255 686026.