Wedding Valley: Greater Manchester couple tie the knot in front of the cameras for reality TV show

Greater Manchester couple Georgie and John agreed to let the cameras for reality TV programme Wedding Valley follow them on their big day.
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For many people organising a wedding would be stressful enough without the added pressure of a TV camera crew following them around as they tied the knot - but that’s exactly what one Greater Manchester couple did.

Georgie and John allowed the team making reality television programme Wedding Valley to follow them on their big day as they became Mr and Mrs Gillbanks.

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The couple, from Astley in Wigan borough, were one of a number of newlyweds getting hitched in the Ribble Valley, a UK wedding hotspot, who were filmed for the programme which showcases the area’s independent businesses hoping to thrive as the number of brides and grooms heading their way continues to grow.

Georgie and John spoke about what it was like allowing the cameras in for their big day and the prospect of being on the nation’s TV screens for the third episode of the programme - as well as the emotional personal circumstances which led their wedding to be postponed a couple of times.

How did Georgie and John end up appearing on Wedding Valley?

Georgie, 31, and 38-year-old John said they were approached by one of their suppliers who was appearing on the show and asked if they would be involved as well.

Georgie said: “Everything was really rushed, it was something we didn’t have a lot of time to think about. We were asked if we would be filmed and we thought: ‘why not?’

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“We only found out within about a month of the wedding. We said that as long as it didn’t disrupt the wedding then there was no harm at all in it. Throughout the process we were wondering if we were doing the right thing, and to be honest my sister, mum and a few bridesmaids were a bit concerned about what we were going to look like. Yoyu never know how you will come across on TV.”

Although they gave the go-ahead Georgie and John admit they reacted somewhat differently when it came down to it and the crew was actually there on the wedding day.

Georgie and John Gillbanks getting married at their wedding which will be shown on reality TV show Wedding Valley. Photo: UKTVGeorgie and John Gillbanks getting married at their wedding which will be shown on reality TV show Wedding Valley. Photo: UKTV
Georgie and John Gillbanks getting married at their wedding which will be shown on reality TV show Wedding Valley. Photo: UKTV

Georgie said: “We didn’t know what to expect. My first interaction was when my bridal party had just sat down to eat our breakfast. We were there in our pyjamas and the crew walked in with the camera and started filming and asking us questions.

“It was a bit bizarre and it took a moment to get used to the camera being there. After about 10 minutes I settled down, and after getting ready when we were actually getting married we didn’t really notice them at all.

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“We then went to see them for the interviews a few months later. I found it all quite natural but John struggled to get comfortable when they were filming him on the day and at the intevriew, he struggled with where to look and how to look behind the camera.”

What does the episode of Wedding Valley that Georgie and John are in show?

Georgie and John tied the knot at Mitton Hall in Clitheroe and theirs was one of 1,500 weddings that took place at venues across the Ribble Valley in 2022. It was only the second venue they saw but they fell in love almost instantly with its combination of historic and modern features and the beautiful views across the gardens to the river.

Their florist initially approached them about being on the show but the baker who created their cake, Leanne, was also involved with the programme and features in Georgie and John’s episode. The programme also shows wedding manager Lesley-Anne pulling out all the stops to ensure the couple have their perfect day, which includes a surprise for animal-mad Georgie from her new husband in the shape of two alpacas.

Georgie and John with their daughters and the two alpacas which were a wedding day surprise for herGeorgie and John with their daughters and the two alpacas which were a wedding day surprise for her
Georgie and John with their daughters and the two alpacas which were a wedding day surprise for her

Filming for the couple only began last May before their wedding in June so many of the preparations couldn’t actually be captured on camera, although Georgie said they squeezed in as much as they could. However, the cake, a traditional three-tier white creation with gold J and G letters on it, was definitely a last-minute job, with a design being finalised less than a fortnight before the big day.

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Georgie said: “I had gone on my hen do so I was on a sun lounger in Ibiza relaxing with all my friends when I got a message saying we needed to pick our cake now.

“Leanne was just fantastic. I sent her back a few different pictures saying what I liked and what flavours and she said she would sort it. On the day we didn’t know what it would look like, we just trusted Leanne that she would get it right.”

A wedding delayed by a terrifying health scare for Georgie and John’s daughter

Georgie and John originally got engaged in 2019. They had met when Georgie had got a job in John’s local pub where he played on the football team. After a few months of him unsucessfully asking her out they finally went on a date and are now married 13 years on.

The couple had planned to get married in June 2020 but in March the national lockdown due to the Covid-19 pandemic came along and John shifted it to a date the following year.

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Then, in November 2020, Georgie and John received the devastating news that their daughter Nyla, who was just five at the time, had aplastic anaemia, a rare and serious medical condition that means the bone marrow is unable to produce enough blood cells to allow the body to work as it should.

Nyla had to have reglar platelet and blood transfusions and the family was then told she would have to have a bone marrow transplant, which was done in February 2021 after a donor match was found. She had to spend five weeks in hospital but thankfully the operation went well and two years on she has made a good recovery.

Georgie and John on their wedding day at Mitton Hall in ClitheroeGeorgie and John on their wedding day at Mitton Hall in Clitheroe
Georgie and John on their wedding day at Mitton Hall in Clitheroe

Georgie said: “We just knew we couldn’t rush into getting married in June 2021. Nyla lost her hair to chemo, which is hard for a young girl, so we put it back. It wasn’t that long to wait in the grand scheme of things.

“We booked in for the year after and prayed nothing else would get in our way. Luckily it all worked out and it was a big celebration that we had come out the other side of everything that had happened. It was basically a big party.

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“We also changed our honeymoon plans. The idea was that John and I were going to New York but with Nyla’s illness and Covid we hadn’t been away for a couple of years so we had a big family holiday in Turkey. I’m really glad we did that because it was amazing.”

Georgie admits that with the wedding and filming taking place in June 2022 they had almost forgotten about being on TV when they recently got the phone call to say their episode would be on the screen in April.

The couple were wondering whether or not to look at the episodes which have already been screened and admitted to a few nerves about how they would come across on the television. Georgie said: “It might give us an idea of how we’re going to look. Fingers crossed it will have been worth it.”

Georgie and John are on Wedding Valley on UKTV’s W channel on Wednesday 26 April at 9pm. The show runs at that time every week following the Ribble Valley’s wedding businesses and the couples tying the knot and there are 10 episodes in total.

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