Jewish wedding in Brighton blighted by bomb scare

The bride was under the chupah when the alert was sounded and the call to evacuate the building came.


Gaby Rosehill's big day became even more dramatic than she could have imagined, when the ceremony was halted by a bombscare. The 29-year-old was standing under the chupah, having just circled round her husband-to-be, Dan, seven times at the ceremony in the Grand Hotel in Brighton on Sunday when the alert was sounded and the call to evacuate the building came.

The alarm was sounded because the nearby Brighton Centre, which was hosting the TUC conference, had received an anonymous bomb threat. The decision was subsequently made to clear not only that building, but also the neighbouring hotels.

Many brides might have fallen apart after seeing her best-laid plans appear to collapse, but Mrs Rosehill, from Leeds, kept her cool as the 218 guests fled for safety.

Mrs Rosehill explained: “We were just about to be named husband and wife when the alarm went off.

She added: “Speeches were abandoned and instruments belonging to the band were left behind as the building was evacuated.”

The party was forced to seek refuge in the nearby Hilton Hotel for five hours, while police and a bomb squad secured the area.

Mr Rosehill, 31, said he initially thought the alarm was a joke.

“The timing of it was just too comedic," he said. "But then people came running into the room to say 'get out' and I knew it was serious.

“I had to ask the rabbi ‘Is this divine intervention? Does God not want me to get married?’

“But he told me it was ‘just a test’ and we would get through it.”

Determined not to let the scare destroy their day, the couple decided the only thing to do was keep a stiff upper lip and carry on.

It was then that Mrs Rosehill said her wedding planners “really kicked into action" to create a new wedding on the spot.

“The Hilton was amazing. They provided us with rooms, food and even found us a sheet for a make- shift chuppah.

“My wedding planners were amazing too. They were the glue that held the whole thing together with grace and decorum. After the whole thing they had to have a little cry. They have done many Jewish weddings but none like that.

“Who else can say they walked down the aisle twice at their own wedding, stood under two chuppahs in two different hotels in the space of two hours?"

Reflecting on the drama while on the way to Gatwick airport for her honeymoon, the new Mrs Rosehill continued: “I can’t believe we were evacuated in a bomb threat that made national news.”

The couple said that being questioned by police in their yichud room was not what they expected on their special day, but  that it had proved they could cope with adversity – a must for any marriage.

"I've never been questioned by police before in my life. They were asking us if we had any jealous exes or people that would want to hurt us."

But she revealed: “Dan managed to laugh off the situation the whole way through."

Mr Rosehill said that he was moved when his friends became the pillars for a new chuppah, holding up each end of a sheet. 

"We didn't actually miss out on anything, our friends were amazing and partied the whole day with us in two different locations.”

Even the band sprang into action by using glasses and cocktail shakers as instruments “to keep the party going”.

After nearly five hours, the search for a bomb was called off and police decided  that the threat had been a hoax.

In a statement, police said: “Thorough searches took place with the assistance of specially trained police search advisers, local officers, police dogs and military ordnance disposal experts, in order to establish as soon as possible whether or not the call was a genuine one. Nothing untoward was found and the call is being regarded as a hoax.”

Mr Rosehill said: "We were allowed back to the Grand Hotel after 9pm. We had missed our starter and main course but got to have dessert. It just goes to show all you really need is love.

"I am looking forward to a well earned rest."

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