A couple born within minutes of each other celebrated their wedding at a Shropshire hotel on their 30th birthdays.
Ben Ellis was born on October 5, 1989, at 6.30am and Célestine Onomo was born on the same date at 7.45am in France – just 15 minutes apart without the time difference!
27 years later the pair would meet on the internet dating site Tinder and on October 5, 2019, as they celebrated their 30th birthdays, the pair said ‘I do’ at The Wroxeter Hotel.
The couple, who now live in Bristol, chose The Wroxeter as their wedding venue before they even got engaged when they read about a package offer and thought it too good to be true.
Célestine, who is from near Versailles and Ben, who was born in Shrewsbury and grew up in Tilstock, met face-to-face for the first time at a Thai restaurant in Southampton.
Ben said: “We both said we were born in October and then at the beginning of the month and then we realised it was the same day. I do not think either of us believed each other and we checked each other’s ID to make sure.”
Célestine, who moved to the UK to study for a masters, added: “We met after about three weeks of talking and when I first met him, I felt reassured, which is important.
“I would not say it was love at first sight but I felt so comfortable when we started talking.”
Célestine almost didn’t make their first date as her flight was delayed from France and redirected to Birmingham instead of Southampton due to fog. She managed to get the last space on a bus for the journey south to arrive at the restaurant on time.
“I managed to overcome all that to get there, despite the elements against me,” she said.
The pair booked The Wroxeter in May, 2018, and then got engaged in the June.
“It did raise a few eyebrows to book the venue first but we knew we wanted that venue and they had October 5, our birthdays, available so it was perfect. Ben will never forget our anniversary, ” said Célestine. “I have always been drawn to Britain and have always been in love with it and the English accent and I always wanted to marry an English guy.”
The couple said they loved the feel of the Wroxeter.
“We always wanted to get married outside, have a hog roast and no difference between day and evening guests,” she said. “In France, you cannot get married outside.”
The couple used The Wroxeter’s Woodland area for their wedding ceremony before holding their reception in the tipi. A disco was held in the Eyton suite inside the main hotel in the evening.
“We also had a fire pit with marshmallows and pretzels and an afternoon tea for our reception. We sampled the afternoon tea before the wedding and it was so good. All our guests were really positive and some of our guests from France had never tasted an afternoon tea before,” said Célestine.
“Nothing was too much hassle for the staff at the Wroxeter and I have never heard them say no. They tailored the package for us and we had guests coming from different countries with different levels of expectations so the staff were very flexible with everything.
“They really did their best to make sure it was the most perfect day and I do not even have to recommend them as I think my guests would go without me saying so.”
The couple did share birthday presents as they celebrated their wedding.
Ben, a research and development engineer, gave Célestine a ‘wedding survival kit’ the night before the big day, containing items such as chocolate, plasters, a bath bomb and things to help her sleep.
He also gave her a pearl necklace to wear on the day, while Célestine gave Ben an engraved watch with the name ‘Benestine’ – a combination of their names said by Ben’s mother by mistake!
The couple used both French and English to celebrate their wedding.
“I have learnt a bit of French,” said Ben. “I did half my speech in French with the help of Célestine’s sister.”
Célestine said the couple plan to return to the Wroxeter for their first wedding anniversary and 31st birthdays.
“We’re hoping to get back for an afternoon tea. It’s such a lovely place,” she said.
Hannah Hall, of The Wroxeter, said: “We are delighted that Célestine and Ben chose to hold their wonderful wedding with us and share their 30th birthdays here too.
“It was a fantastic day and we were delighted to help them in every way we could. “We look forward to celebrating their first wedding anniversary and 31st birthdays with them next year.”