Highlands Inn chef Garry Harnblow won a prize to create a perfect red carpet wedding and then proposed to his girlfriend Vikki Foster at the exact spot they will marry.
The Uckfield couple entered the competition together but weren’t engaged at the time. Then Garry was so blown away by the venue – Bannatyne Spa Hotel in Hastings – that he proposed to Vikki while visiting the hotel to discuss their prize.
The 36-year-old got down on bended knee in the hotel’s summerhouse where the ceremony will take place on Saturday, July 13, 2019.
The couple found out about the competition while enjoying a spa day at the Hastings hotel.
Prize is worth £7,500
The prize is worth £7,500 and includes a wedding breakfast; a glass of Prosecco on arrival, and for the toast; half a bottle of house wine per guest, wedding room hire, an evening buffet and the services of a toast master.
One night’s accommodation in the hotel’s luxury bridal suite is also part of the package.
Garry, head chef at the Highlands Inn in Uckfield, East Sussex, met Vikki through mutual friend Dan Booth while on a night out four years ago.
Garry said: “We thought we probably would get married at some stage, but at the time we heard we had won the competition I had not even proposed.
“We could not believe our luck and were in total shock when we learnt we were the wedding day winners.
“We were invited to the hotel to find out all the details and I could not resist proposing to Vikki while we were there as the wonderful setting was so amazing and romantic.”
Vikki, 30, a customer services adviser at a health insurance company, said: “Winning this competition is like a dream come true. We had talked about getting married sometime in the future, but without this fabulous prize it would have been a long way off to give us time to save up.
“It was a magical moment while Garry proposed to me in the gorgeous summerhouse, where we will actually get married.”
One of the guests of honour at the wedding will be the couple’s son Alfie, born in September 2016, who will be a page boy and Dan, who introduced them, will be best man.
James Mackay, the hotel and spa’s general manager, said: “It was really touching that Garry was so impressed with the hotel that he felt it not only the perfect place to get married, but also the ideal location to propose to Vikki.
“My team are dedicated to creating a fairy-tale day for all our wedding couples and are delighted to be doing this for such lovely competition winners.”
Vikki and Garry will tie the knot in front of 100 family and friends followed by a day-time reception. There also will be an evening do for 150 guests.
Vikki still has to choose her dress, but the wedding’s colour theme will be rose gold and dusty pink with a traditional, vintage feel.