In toon for the big wedding: TV stars descend on Newcastle as beaming Declan Donnelly arrives alongside best man Ant McPartlin as he prepares to wed his agent fiancee Ali Astall at local church


They have been best friends for over three decades, so it was only natural that Declan Donnelly had Ant McPartlin by his side on his big day.

The TV duo arrived at the St. Mary’s cathedral in Newcastle on Saturday afternoon ahead of his marriage to his longtime agent Ali Astall.

The beaming groom couldn’t hide his glee as he whizzed up to St. Michael’s Church in his hometown in a supercar from his own personal fleet.

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Ecstatic: They have been best friends for over three decades, so it was only natural that Declan Donnelly had Ant McPartlin by his side on his big day
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Ecstatic: They have been best friends for over three decades, so it was only natural that Declan Donnelly had Ant McPartlin by his side on his big day
Blushing bride: Ali Astall followed soon after Declan and looked stunning in a classic white silk gown with a veil flowing from her perfectly coiffed locks
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Blushing bride: Ali Astall followed soon after Declan and looked stunning in a classic white silk gown with a veil flowing from her perfectly coiffed locks

The pals instantly went into showman mode, waving and greeting locals and fans who had lined up outside the church to see him arrive.

Dec and Ant weren’t the only star attractions to descend on Newcastle for the Geordie royal wedding of course.

Just moments before the presenter’s flash arrival, the likes of Holly Willoughby, Tess Daly and husband Vernon Kay, Phillip Schofield, Paddy McGuiness and comic Leigh Francis – best known as alter-ego Keith Lemon – all turned out in their finery.
Earlier in the day, the beloved TV presenter – one half of Ant & Dec – took to the duo’s Twitter account to joke: ‘Morning! I know I’ve got somewhere to be today but I can’t for the life of me remember where…’

The 39-year-old Geordie will marry his partner and agent in a local ceremony held in his hometown of Newcastle-upon-Tyne.

The couple will exchange vows at St. Michael’s Church in the centre of the city and his older brother – Father Dermott Donnelly – will oversee the proceedings and is said to have carefully selected suitable hymns and prayers.

Dec’s long-standing presenting partner Anthony McPartlin will act as his best man, returning the favour for his 2006 wedding to Lisa Armstrong, and is expected to deliver an ‘hilarious speech’.
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Big day: The duo were in their usual playful mood as they arrived at St Michael’s Church dressed in matching blue suits
Stylish arrival: The pair were driven to the church by Ant in a supercar from the groom’s private collection
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Stylish arrival: The pair were driven to the church by Ant in a supercar from the groom’s private collection
Smartening up his act: Dec, always a fan of a tailored suit, looked especially dapper on his big day, wearing a similar blue suit to his groomsmen along with a grey waistcoat and navy polka dot tie
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Smartening up his act: Dec, always a fan of a tailored suit, looked especially dapper on his big day, wearing a similar blue suit to his groomsmen along with a grey waistcoat and navy polka dot tie
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Always a showman: Dec and Ant couldn’t resist playing up to the crowd, taking time to wander among the throng of fans who had gathered outside the church and personally greet them
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Always a showman: Dec and Ant couldn’t resist playing up to the crowd, taking time to wander among the throng of fans who had gathered outside the church and personally greet them
Big names in town: Married TV couple Vernon Kay and Tess Daly chatted with guests outside of the church, while the Family Fortunes host also gave onlookers a wave
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Big names in town: Married TV couple Vernon Kay and Tess Daly chatted with guests outside of the church, while the Family Fortunes host also gave onlookers a wave
Star attractions: Tess stunned in a long purple dress and trimmed hat while Holly Willoughby looked effortlessly chic as she arrived wearing a pleated floral dress and net fascinator
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Star attractions: Tess stunned in a long purple dress and trimmed hat while Holly Willoughby looked effortlessly chic as she arrived wearing a pleated floral dress and net fascinator
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Star attractions: Tess stunned in a long purple dress and trimmed hat while Holly Willoughby looked effortlessly chic as she arrived wearing a pleated floral dress and net fascinator
Time to shine: Dec’s ushers, who include TV star Jonathon Wilkes (L), were seen laughing together as they pulled up at the churc
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Time to shine: Dec’s ushers, who include TV star Jonathon Wilkes (L), were seen laughing together as they pulled up at the churc
TV legend: Phillip Schofield was among the starry congregation, looking dapper in a linen suit as he snapped the groom arriving
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TV legend: Phillip Schofield was among the starry congregation, looking dapper in a linen suit as he snapped the groom arriving
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TV legend: Phillip Schofield was among the starry congregation, looking dapper in a linen suit as he snapped the groom arriving
Keeping it in the family: The TV presenter’s older brother – Father Dermott Donnelly – will officiate his and Ali’s marriage and has carefully selected the hymns and prayers
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Keeping it in the family: The TV presenter’s older brother – Father Dermott Donnelly – will officiate his and Ali’s marriage and has carefully selected the hymns and prayers

Dec’s close friends and ITV’s presenting elite are expected to witness the couple tie the knot with This Morning duo Phillip Schofield and Holly Willoughby as well as Tess Daly, Vernon Kay, Fearne Cotton, Leigh Francis (Keith Lemon) and Paddy McGuinness included on the confirmed guest list.

One of Dec’s exes – former Pussycat Doll Ashley Roberts who enjoyed a brief fling with him in 2013 – has confirmed her attendance.

She said: ‘I’m going this weekend. I’m happy for him and Ali. They’re great. He’s such a good friend of mine. I want him to be happy.’

Hello there! Father Dermot waved at onlookers as he was among the first to arrive at the stunning church on Saturday afternoon
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Hello there! Father Dermot waved at onlookers as he was among the first to arrive at the stunning church on Saturday afternoon
Eager beavers: Fans of Declan have gathered outside of the church hoping to catch a glimpse of the TV presenter and his blushing bride
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Eager beavers: Fans of Declan have gathered outside of the church hoping to catch a glimpse of the TV presenter and his blushing bride

Simon Cowell – who is the groom’s Britain’s Got Talent boss – is unable to make it but has sent him his best wishes.

‘I don’t know if I can go but I’ve been invited. I’m very happy for him,’ he said.

A friend of the couple told The Sun: ‘It’s a lovely group of people who have been close to Dec and Ali for years. It felt right for him to go back to Newcastle because Dec is such a proud Geordie.

‘The fact that he’s waited so long to marry shows how serious he is about marriage vows, but he has absolutely no doubts that Ali is The One.’
Boys in blue: The ushers all looked dapper in royal blue suits, complete with a white rose boutonnière
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Boys in blue: The ushers all looked dapper in royal blue suits, complete with a white rose boutonnière
Excited: The groom started his wedding day in a playful mood and took to Twitterto share his excitement with fans ahead of the nuptials
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Excited: The groom started his wedding day in a playful mood and took to Twitterto share his excitement with fans ahead of the nuptials
‘I want him to be happy’: Former Pussycat Doll Ashley Roberts – who enjoyed a brief fling with the lovable Geordie in 2013 – has confirmed her attendance
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‘I want him to be happy’: Former Pussycat Doll Ashley Roberts – who enjoyed a brief fling with the lovable Geordie in 2013 – has confirmed her attendance
‘The One’: Dec has been dating Ali since 2013 and the pair became engaged on November 13 2014
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‘The One’: Dec has been dating Ali since 2013 and the pair became engaged on November 13 2014

The modest ceremony will also be attended by the pair’s close friends and family and Dec is expected to dedicate a heartfelt tribute to his late father Alphonsus who died in 2011, aged, 78, after losing his battle with cancer.

He will be sorely missed from his son’s big day and Dec has previously admitted that having his father watch him tie the knot was something he’d always wished for.

‘There is always someone you are going to miss and for me it’s my dad. I always hoped he would see me marry, but these things happen, I know he’s proud of me,’ he said earlier in the year.

The big day comes nine months after Dec proposed to Ali on November 13 2014 in Australia – ahead of the I’m A Celebrity… Get Me Out of Here! series, just a year after confirming their relationship.

At the time, he told the Mirror: ‘There was no special reason to propose in Australia. It just seemed the right time. So yeah, I just did it. It’s so nice. I’ve had an amazing year.’
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‘She is the one I’m going to marry’: Dec is said to have told friends he wanted to make his long-standing manager Ali his wife shortly after confirming their relationship in 2013
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‘She is the one I’m going to marry’: Dec is said to have told friends he wanted to make his long-standing manager Ali his wife shortly after confirming their relationship in 2013

Ali has worked as Ant and Dec’s manager for over ten years but it wasn’t until 2013 that they confirmed their romantic involvement with one another.

‘She’s the one I’m going to marry,’ the former Byker Grove child star is said to have told friends at the time.

They first enjoyed a short-lived romance in 2006 and they maintained a close friendship throughout Dec’s two-year relationship with Sky Sports presenter Georgie Thompson which ended in 2011.

Prior to that, Dec was with actress Claire Buckland for 11 years and the couple split in 2003.
Returning the favour: Anthony McPartlin (left) will be Dec’s best man as he was in at his wedding to Lisa Armstrong (second left) in 2006
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Returning the favour: Anthony McPartlin (left) will be Dec’s best man as he was in at his wedding to Lisa Armstrong (second left) in 2006