SARA CROSS AND DANIEL NEEDLEMAN
SARA GREW up in Woodford Green, Essex, and Daniel grew up in nearby Gants Hill but moved to Arizona when he was 19. Sara is a secretary with a West End law firm and Daniel works as a systems administrator for an insurance broker in the City. He studied in the USA and has been working in IT since 2001 when he returned to England. They live in Loughton, Essex.
“We met through Sara’s cousin Adam, who is one of my best friends,” explains Daniel. “She sometimes said ‘hello’ if I was with Adam at a local pub and she would also occasionally come over to the flat that Adam and I owned. Things only moved forward when Sara came over one night after the double-whammy of being made redundant and splitting up with her boyfriend. I thought I should probably leave her alone, but Sara got my email address from her cousin. We started to email each other, which soon turned into phone calls, which soon turned into dating.”
“Sara and I got engaged in August 2005. I proposed at her aunt and uncle’s house on a Saturday afternoon at tea in front of some of her family. Unfortunately, it wasn’t as romantic as I would have liked but it was a surprise for Sara. Originally, I had an evening planned at Jamie Oliver’s restaurant. Sara had asked everyone she and I knew if I had decided on a date to propose. She struck gold when one of my mates told her when and I was going to do it. I didn’t want her to be expecting it, so I had to cancel the plans I had been making for four months.”
“We were married at Beehive Lane Synagogue, Ilford, followed by a reception at Stock Brook Manor,” says Daniel. “The first venue we booked was Orsett Hall in Essex, but two weeks before the wedding it burned down. The Essex fire-brigade website had real-time updates of the fire with pictures. We watched as 18 months of planning burned to the ground. We’d watched Weddings From Hell a few times and we couldn’t believe our wedding was an ideal candidate for the programme. There were lots of tears. But the management at Orsett Hall were wonderful. They managed to rearrange our reception at Stock Brook Manor, which was beautiful and the staff bent over backwards to accommodate us and all our demands. What could have been a memorable wedding for all the wrong reasons ended up being a memorable wedding for all the right reasons and a wonderful day. We can certainly look back on everything and laugh about it now.”
“We went to the Sandals Resort on St Lucia. We stayed for 10 nights and we couldn’t have asked for a better way to spend our honeymoon. We took a helicopter ride, walked into a volcano, snorkelled in coral reefs, went dolphin- and whale-watching, and enjoyed a candlelit dinner on the beach.”