Marry oaks: Hollyoaks cast members star in staged wedding for soap-obsessed couple
A Hollyoaks super fan has been surprised with a full-blown wedding on the Cheshire soap’s set yesterday [AUG 3], with cast members even donning their glad rags to play various roles in the ceremony.
Clare Trotter and her fiancé Nick Arkell, who get hitched officially on Saturday [AUG 5], were treated to a staged wedding in the show’s Dog in the Pond pub.
Show favourites such as vicar Joel Dexter, played by Rory Douglas-Speed, ‘married’ the couple, and Jack Osbourne (Jimmy McKenna) gave away the bride.
Other guests included Sienna Blake (Anna Passey), looking stunning in baby blue, Prince and Hunter McQueen, portrayed by Malique Thompson-Dwyer and Theo Graham, with Tegan Lomax, dressed in a long emerald gown, acting as Maid of Honour.
In full-blown soap style, the scripted occasion even came complete with a last minute declaration of love for dramatic effect from ‘best man’ Jesse Donavan, played by Luke Jerry.
And to top off their fictional big day, the happy couple, from Chester, posed up for photographs with their soap star wedding party.
Blushing bride Claire, 34, who watches the show religiously and was completely unaware of the surprise husband-to-be Nick had in store, said: “It’s still really surreal. I’m still in shock.
“We were greeted by Tegan when we got to the set and we’ve met characters like Joel, Jack, Jesse and Sienna, and we’ve seen Warren Fox.
“The set’s a lot smaller in real life compared to how it appears on TV.
“Nick’s definitely in the good books for this. He says he’s not really a fan but he knows more than he lets on.
“I’ve been a fan of the show since it started in the nineties, so right from the beginning.
“With it being in Chester everyone was watching it. I think it was the fact it was in Chester that was why I liked it so much.
“I’ve been a fan of characters like Tony from the start.
“Nick and I had just been talking about what we’d do if we got married a couple of years ago, but I didn’t think it would happen.”
The pair have been together since school, with Nick describing the way they got together as akin to something from a Hollyoaks script.
The couple say they had joked about getting married in the Dog in the Pond a couple of years ago after Claire declared she would love to get hitched on the set of her favourite show.
And after popping the question in September last year (2016), Nick got to work to see if he could make his fiancé’s unusual dream a reality.
Freelance web designer and travel broadcaster Paul, 35, said: “We met in school in a group of friends together. Claire was with a friend of mine at first – it sounds a bit like a Hollyoaks thing.
“A few years went by and we realised we quite liked each other. We got together in Sixth Form and have been together since.
“A couple of years ago we were discussing what would happen if we got married, and Claire said she’d like to get married on the Hollyoaks set in the pub.
“But neither of us thought that was going to happen.
“A few months after we got engaged I got in touch with Hollyoaks to see if we could make something happen, and to see if there was anything they could do to make Claire’s day – even just something like record a video for her to watch on our wedding.
“It’s been great, it’s all their doing. I hadn’t given them any guidelines but it was in line with what I was thinking it would be.
“When I’d spoken to them I hadn’t mentioned anything about her wanting it to be in the Dog in the Pond, but then today it was in there.”
And despite Claire apparently clicking on to Nick’s surprise at the last minute, they say the day has been absolutely perfect, with Claire even receiving star treatment with a dress from the Hollyoakscostume department.
Nick said: “Claire usually sleeps in the car while we were travelling, but it was quite annoying today because she wouldn’t sleep.
“She thought we were going to a spa. But two or three minutes before we got to the set the sat nav announced the road, and she knows where the show is filmed.
“But she keeps her mouth shut when it’s a surprise. When we got here, she said, ‘I knew it.’
And after being unaware himself of the surprises the Hollyoaks team had in store for the happy couple, Paul says he’ll definitely be joining his wife-to-be and tuning into the show each day from now on.
Paul said: “Claire’s more into it than myself, but I think I’ll definitely be watching more with her now.”