Jennifer Ashburner and Mark Paul know pretty much all there is to know about each other.
“There is something just so special about having been with someone for so long,” says Jennifer.
“We’re not just husband and wife, we’re best friends.”
The couple met when they were both in college, aged 15, and the childhood sweethearts got together a year later.
“We have basically grown up and matured together,” adds Jennifer, a public health associate for the NHS, who grew up in Equador.
Two months before Jennifer’s birthday the couple took a trip to Center Parcs in Nottingham.
There, sans engagement ring, Mark a company director at TBM Marketing, proposed.
“No ring, just a proposal,” says Jennifer, “I got the ring on my birthday but it was worth the wait.”
On October 5, the pair were married at Samlesbury Hall, near Preston.
As a nod to Jennifer’s Equadorian heritage, her cousin read a speech in Spanish during the ceremony and the father of the bride tackled his in English and Spanish.
“Mark had arranged for a harpist and pianist to play at the weddings,” says Jennifer, “it was like a fairytale.”
Though it had been raining the entire week and morning of the wedding, the weather held out long enough for the newlyweds to have their photographs taken and for all to arrive without an umbrella.
Friends and family who had travelled from exotic locations such as Australia, Equador and the United States, mingled alongside the hall’s alleged ghosts as the couple had exclusive use of the hall, its grounds and gardens.
“It was absolutely breathtaking, as soon as we drove up and saw the hall we knew we had found a very special place.
“Words cannot describe how perfect our day was,” says the new Mrs Paul.
“After 16 years we are finally husband and wife.”