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Britain's youngest bridegroom

He may be too young to drive, drink alcohol or vote, but 16-year-old Leslie Coneley is old enough to wed his childhood sweetheart.

The teenager has become Britain's youngest groom after marrying just 18 days after his 16th birthday.

Leslie married long term girlfriend Bonnie Buckland, 17, at a lavish ceremony in Swindon, Wiltshire on August 7.
Britain's youngest groom: Leslie Coneley, 16, and bride Bonnie Buckland, 17, on their wedding day at Christchurch, Swindon

No expenses were spared at the wedding, which saw Bonnie arrive in a white horse-drawn carriage wearing a £1,800 dress.

After a ceremony at Christ Church in Old Town, the couple held a reception for 450 guests at the the Hilton in Swindon, which was paid for by their families.

Leslie told the Daily Mirror: 'All my mates are a long way from settling down. But there are people who get married at 40 and end up divorced, so why can't there be people who get married at 16 and stay together for life?

'So what if I'm Britain's youngest groom? Age is just a number.

'I don't think I'll be missing out on anything. If anything, growing up will be even more special because Bonnie and I will be able to share all our experiences.'

Leslie started dating Bonnie when he was 12, and the couple now live together in a room at the home of the bride's brother Paul.

Bonnie has given up her job as a nail technician so that she can be a traditional housewife.
Fairytale wedding: Bonnie arrives for her wedding day in a white horse-drawn carriage

She said: 'I've always dreamed of having a fairytale wedding, although I never thought I'd find my Prince Charming so soon!

'I couldn't be happier. Despite his age, Leslie is really responsible and serious about making our marriage work, the best husband a girl could wish for.

'We want to be a traditional married couple, that's why I've given up my job as a nail technician - even though I'd only done it for three months - to become a housewife.

'Leslie wants to be the breadwinner, so he's started working with my brother decorating houses so he can bring in the money.

'Being with Leslie makes me really happy. I know some people will say we're too young but I think we went into marriage with a better attitude than a lot of older people do.'
The blushing bride: Bonnie arrives with her Dad Paul

Amateur boxer Leslie, who has won three Golden Gloves titles and will be competing in the European championships next year, hopes to compete in the 2012 Olympics.

The couple needed their parents' permission to marry because they were under 18 and their families were happy to give their blessing.

Leslie's mum Kelly, 32, said: 'When they told us they wanted to get married I wasn't surprised because I could see how into each other they were. But I did want them to wait a bit, at least until Leslie was old enough to drive.

'Then we saw how determined they were and we didn't want to stand in their way. So we helped them in any way we could.'

The bride's mum, Susie, 40, said: 'You've got to know Bonnie and Leslie to know how grounded they are.

'There are so many teenagers who don't know what they want in life and they're just out drinking, doing drugs and running the streets. I'm proud Bonnie and Leslie aren't like that and they know what they want. Their marriage will last.'


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