DREAMS came true for the lucky winners of The Northern Echo’s Win a Wedding competition as they tied the knot this weekend.

After five years together, Julie Bond and Darren Hird said “I do” during a ceremony at The Croft Hotel, near Darlington, on Saturday.

The emotional day saw Mrs Hird’s three daughters accompany her down the aisle as bridesmaids, while her 10-year-old son, Harrison, gave a small reading.

The couple were nominated by Mrs Hird’s father, John Prest. Speaking after the ceremony he said: “I am a very proud father, and I am over the moon.

“I want to thank The Northern Echo, its sponsors, and the readers who voted because without them, this wouldn’t have come together.”

The couple, from Darlington, saw off dozens of other hopefuls to win the once-in-a-lifetime prize, which included a three-course wedding breakfast and drinks for 50 people at the hotel, as well as an evening function for 80 guests with a buffet and disco.

Also included was a bridal gown from Happily Ever After, hair and make-up by the Hair Sanctuary, suits from Affleck and Moffatt and a cake worth £450 by Sadie May Cakes.

They also had a £2,000 photography package provided by Valentina Wedding Photography, wedding stationary from JR Wedding Supplies, flowers from Flowers by Nattrass, while hen and stag days at York Racecourse rounded off the couple’s prize.

Mr and Mrs Hird thanked all the wedding suppliers for making their big day run as smoothly as possible.

“It has been absolutely fantastic,” said Mr Hird.

This year's competition will be launched later this month.