FORGET the big white dress and suit, a fun-loving couple will be in Lycra and bike shoes for their big day after opting to get married in the middle of Britain’s biggest cycling festival.
Gary Watson, 44, and Lisa Russell, 41, will exchange vows on Sunday, on the same day as tackling the Prudential RideLondon-Surrey 100.
Having first met while travelling around Australia in 1996, the pair are no strangers to racking up the miles on the bike. Iceland and Norway are just two of the places they have cycled through.
However, the idea for this weekend’s special day came through a friend, who joked they should get hitched during the ride if they were successful in getting a place.
Rather than back out when their places were confirmed, Gary and Lisa duly forged ahead with plans and booked Richmond Park’s Pembroke Lodge as a convenient detour.
“It’s all a bit silly really,” said Lisa. “We were joking with our friends that we would get married while riding around London if we got a place.
“I don’t really care about my hair being a mess on the day, I’m the sort of person who is happy with it in a pony tail.
“It will be a case of doing it as quick as possible and then getting back on the bike and finishing the 100-mile challenge.
“I will be more nervous on the day about seeing our five-year-old daughter Betsy at the ceremony waiting with our rings.
“I think our friends are going to meet up on Box Hill with some champagne. Knowing us, we will finish and then just want to go to the pub with friends and family.”
The pair will set off from the Olympic Park with thousands of other amateur riders, enjoying traffic-free roads past some of the capital’s landmarks and into the Surrey countryside before finishing on The Mall.
Graphic designer Gary and Lisa, assistant director and expedition leader at The Ultimate Travel Company, are not making it all about themselves either.
They will also be raising money in memory of their friend’s daughter, Isla Cecil, who died, aged 15 months, in November 2012 from a rare brain tumour.
“Since then, her parents and family have been an inspiration in the work they have been doing,” Lisa added.
“They have taken her name and memory and made it into something positive and it is such a beautiful thing to see.”
Prudential are proud to sponsor Prudential RideLondon, the UK’s biggest cycling festival on August 9 & 10. Visit www.ridewithprudential.co.uk