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Couple says 'I do' in Dubai hotel lobby

Laptop helped broadcast live ceremony to family in London after airspace closure led to a change in travel plans

Sean Murtagh and Natalie Mead
Image Credit: Pankaj Sharma/Gulf News
Sean Murtagh, 24 and Natalie Mead, 30 exchanged vows at an impromptu wedding ceremony at the Millennium Airport Hotel in Dubai after being grounded as a result of a volcanic ash.

Dubai: A glittering wedding ceremony in Dubai has emerged out of the volcanic ash from Iceland's erupting volcano.

The guests were stranded passengers, the groom's suit was borrowed and the service was broadcast live over the internet to family and friends in the UK.  

Sean Murtagh, 24, and Natalie Mead, 30, tied the knot at the Millennium Airport Hotel in front of dozens of passengers who were also stuck in the UAE and unable to get home.

The bride walked down a makeshift red carpet in the hotel's lobby while the assembled guests hummed The Bridal Chorus.

Two mannequins represented Sean and Natalie in west London, where hundreds of guests attended a reception at The Ealing Trail Finders Rugby Club.

A laptop broadcast the ceremony to London and the hotel donated floral decorations, balloons and a wedding cake.

Sean said: "The hotel laid on flowers and a red carpet for us. It has been just amazing; a real whirlwind.

"We were receiving congratulations from people we had never met before. We did not think anything like this was possible but thanks to our fellow stranded passengers we managed to get a hold of internet technology, a suit and music.
"The hotel staff and management at the Millennium Airport Hotel have also been unbelievably generous and forgiving of our logistical nightmares with Skype.

"It has been a bit stressful for my family back in the UK but they managed to get everyone together. It has just been a wonderful effort from everyone in Dubai and London. It has been amazing and it is one day we cannot forget whether we want to or not!"

Sean, from England, and Natalie, from Australia, married in Brisbane on March 27 in front of Natalie's friends and family.

They were due to hold a copycat ceremony in London on Saturday. But the couple got stranded in the UAE following the closure of airspace in several countries across Europe.

Natalie said: "Passengers stranded in the hotel were getting excited for the first time in days when they heard about our wedding; some even helped me with my hair and make-up. It was also great to see everyone in the UK on our wedding day, even if it was via webcam.

"It has been an amazing day and we are just so grateful for everything that everyone has done for us. It is definitely a story to tell the grandchildren. There was no way we were going to let this volcano stop us [from] getting married."