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Last Updated:  Saturday, 22 February, 2003, 10:27 GMT
Cerys arrives for wedding on tractor
Nick Parry
BBC Where I Live reporter

Cerys Matthews and Seth Riddle
Cerys Matthews and Seth Riddle leave the chapel
Singer Cerys Matthews arrived for her wedding, country style, on the back of a vintage 1930s tractor.

With her proud father Phillip sat beside her, the bride, dressed in white, was greeted outside the small west Wales chapel by hundreds of well wishers.

Dozens of guests, dressed as 1930s gangsters and molls, had already entered the building for Matthews' wedding to Nashville record producer Seth Riddle.

As she was arriving, Matthews said to the photographers: "get a picture of my dad, he's better looking than Bob Dylan!"

The service started shortly after 1500GMT and was broadcast on a loudspeaker to the crowd, who stood outside on a windy but sunny afternoon.

He {the groom} seemed a bit shaky, but he had some breakfast and then went for a long walk to look at the sheep
Rob Ward, Haverfordwest

Welcoming both those inside and out, the minister officiating at the service, Geoffrey Eynon, said it would be a memorable day.

"This ceremony is the most important event in Wales today, so I hope this will be a very happy and memorable day for everyone."

The groom took his wedding vows in English and Cerys made hers in Welsh.

Mr Eynon then said Cerys had an important message for both those inside and outside the church.

"After spending time in Nashville and visiting places of worship and seeing those places full of young people, to then come back to Wales, she is sad to see our chapels empty, with no people attending."

Cerys looked the part on her big day
Cerys looked the part on her big day

He added: "Can I, on Cerys' behalf, give you a challenge that you all turn back to the church? We need our young people. If you do that today this will be a day for us all to remember."

After the service, Matthews left on the vintage tractor with her new husband by her side, signing a couple of autographs as she went and waving at the crowd.

Many of those who turned up to wish Matthews well had travelled from across west Wales.

Rob Ward had caught the bus from Haverfordwest and met the groom earlier in the morning, at the Square and Compass pub.

"He seemed a bit shaky, but he had some breakfast and then went for a long walk to look at the sheep," he said. "But he seemed a really nice guy."

Matthews wedding carriage, a 1939 Standard Fordson tractor, was driven by Stephen Phillips, who owns a haulage business in nearby Croesgoch.

"Phillip, the bride's father, has a vintage tractor, only we had one with a trailer that was suitable," said Mr Phillips.

Bob Dylan
Bob Dylan: Friend of groom

"I picked them up from the house, which is approximately two-and-a-half miles away and it took us about 25 minutes to get here.

"There were a lot of people cheering as we went through Trefine and a lot on the main road, which was nice."

The Jones family had also travelled from Haverfordwest for the occasion.

Eleven-year-old Joshua Jones said he was a big fan of Cerys.

"I have got most of her records and all the songs are really good."

It was earlier rumoured that a star-studded congregation - including Tom Jones, Shirley Bassey - may fill the tiny chapel.

Nashville romance

On Friday, wearing dark sunglasses as she hurried into the building, Matthews said she was looking forward to the service but was not giving anything away.

Matthews, 33, met her American-born future husband while recording her new solo album in a studio used by Bob Dylan in Nashville, Tennessee.

Her parents Pauline and former Swansea-based doctor Philip live in the Fishguard area.

Matthews has been working on her new folk-influenced album, called Cock-a-Hoop, in the US.

The solo venture marks a new career direction for the singer who was the face of the hugely-successful pop and rock band Catatonia, which was formed in the early 1990s.

The band, who are expected to travel to Pembrokeshire for the wedding, finally split in September 2001.



BBC Wales' Lowri Pugh
"Cerys looked every inch the traditional blushing bride"

In pictures: Cerys wedding
22 Feb 03 |  Photo Gallery
Cerys admitted to rehab centre
26 Jul 01 |  Entertainment
Cerys returns with solo album
30 Jan 03 |  Wales
Cerys set for karaoke return
18 Aug 02 |  Wales
Cerys's chapel wedding date
03 Feb 03 |  Wales

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