A couple who began dating because of their love for Second World War history tied the knot at a 1940s-themed event’s first-ever wedding.
Mark and Stéphanie Cass said “I do” at Historic Dockyard Chatham’s Salute to the 40s weekend – the annual vintage festival they met at seven years ago.
The pair first locked eyes in front of the Commissioner’s House during a Salute to the 40s weekend in 2016.
Mark, who lives in Westcliff-On-Sea, Essex, has been visiting since the 2011 event, whereas Stéphanie, from Jonsered in Sweden, first visited in 2015.
It was a year later in 2016, when the pair met for the first time while posing for a photo with the Facebook group 1940’s World.
The group was created by Lee Grimsey who was the best man at the wedding.
The second time they met each other was six months later at Vera Lynn’s 100th celebration concert at the London Palladium. Six weeks later they became a long-distance couple.
Stéphanie said: “We do several 1940s events every year as reenactors, both as walking civilians, military personnel and with static military displays focusing on the American forces during the Second World War.
“During the Covid-19 pandemic, we were separated first for four months and then another six months without being able to see each other. Not knowing when we were going to be able to see each other again was the hardest part.”
When the couple did eventually see each other, they sat in quarantine for two weeks at home and had their own little three-day Second World War event in their back garden. Mark and Stéphanie even pitched up two military tents and camped outside.
When asked about why they decided to get married at the dockyard Stéphanie answered: “Well, first of all – can you imagine a more romantic place to become husband and wife than the place where you first met seven years ago?
“Over the years we’ve had so many people following us on social media and our vintage long-distance love story, both through our regular routine with video calls, constant flying and 1940s events but also through the tough time during lockdown and Covid-19, and we’ve been told that our relationship has given people back their trust in love.
“And what is so wonderful about getting married at the event is that anyone who wanted to come along to our special day could do so! We want to celebrate the love!”
Stéphanie explained that the Salute to the 40s event was the couple’s first gateway into the “wonderful world of vintage events and the 1940s’ community”.
She said: “In a way we get to say thank you to The Historic Dockyard Chatham too by having our wedding there.”
Two days before the wedding the pair held a small ceremony in Sweden so Stéphanie’s entire Swedish family could take part in the celebration.
Following this, her 10-year-old son flew to the UK to take part in the vintage celebrations, as did her father, who walked her down the aisle.
Throughout their whole relationship, the couple have lived almost 1,000 miles away from one another.
Stéphanie added: “It made sense to have parts of the wedding in Sweden and parts in England as we’re a bi-national couple and will continue to be after the big day.
“Being bi-national is important to us. My ring is from England while Mark’s ring is from Sweden.”
The pair’s marriage was blessed on Saturday, September 9, on the lawn in front of the Commissioner’s House.