A BRIDE had a very special guest with an important role to play at her big day on Saturday.
Miss Alex Wells, 28, loves 17-year-old thoroughbred horse, Toffee, so much that she appointed her one of her bridesmaids.
Miss Wells, who married Mr Graham Sales at All Saints’ Church, Coddington, competes on Toffee in horse trekking — orienteering on horseback.
The couple live in Elsecar, Yorkshire, but Miss Wells was brought up in Coddington.
Her parents, Mrs Sue Wells, 59, who runs after-school classes at Coddington Primary School, and Mr Geoff Wells, 65, still live in the village.
Alex went to the village primary school and The Grove School, Balderton.
“Toffee is part of the family,” she said.
“She is so important to me I even asked her if I could get married.”
Poppy was brought down from Elsecar by one of Miss Wells’ fellow competitors, Izzy France, who acted as her groom.
“There are two grooms at this wedding,” said Miss Wells.
Toffee was outside the church for the wedding photographs.
The couple, who have been together five years, met through their work in the steel industry as metallurgists — engineers trained in the extraction, refining and fabrication of metals.
Mr Sales, 29, said: “Alex goes to see Toffee twice a day and will spend weekends with her so I am always competing with her for attention.
“I am definitely behind Toffee in the pecking order.”
When the couple exchanged rings during the wedding rehearsal Miss Wells said: “All that I have, I give to you, excluding Toffee.”
The couple stuck to the script during the real service.
Lianna Bourne, 28, of Kilmarnock, Scotland, who competed with Miss Wells for Team GB at junior level, was also a bridesmaid.
She wore a purple dress that matched Toffee’s headdress.
“Toffee definitely took longer than me to get ready,” she said.
“She was definitely in the spotlight.”
The Rev David Anderton, who led the service, said he had never seen anything like it in ten years as a man of the cloth.
“I have never seen any animal of any sort being a bridesmaid,” he said.
“When Alex first asked me the question I thought she was going to ask whether Toffee could come down the aisle.
“That could have been difficult, but we were happy to have her in the churchyard.”