A PREGNANT woman turned down the chance to be her best friend’s bridesmaid – only to go into labour on her way to the ceremony.

Staff at the King’s Hotel, in Darlington, rushed outside with huge sheets and towels after hearing Amanda Hutchinson’s waters had broken minutes before the ceremony was due to start on Saturday.

The bride, Amanda Vasey, 37, said one of her favourite pictures from her big day is of herself and her new husband Steve, 35, alongside their friends with their newborn daughter.

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Best man Gareth Hutchinson was excused speech duties as he rushed to hospital to be with his wife as she gave birth.

Mrs Hutchinson gave birth to a 7lb 9oz daughter after a short labour.

The new arrival has yet to be named, although her parents have reportedly discussed calling her Amanda after her mother and the bride.

Mrs Vasey said: “I had just finished getting dressed when Gareth ran into the room and told me Amanda had gone into labour.

“At first I didn’t believe him, because he had been so nervous about his speech that, he had joked about spilling water on the floor and saying his wife’s waters had broken to get out of doing it.

“But then I saw that he was serious and my mum and bridesmaids ran down to help.”

The new mum apologised to her friend and cried when the bride visited her in hospital after the ceremony.

Mrs Vasey said: “She kept saying sorry she had ruined the day and all that, but she hadn’t ruined it, it’s a special blessing that the baby was born on the day Steven and I got married, now we’ll always remember her birthday too.”

Johnathon Cairns, operations manager at the hotel, who was looking after the wedding party, said: “We are delighted that the Amanda and Steven’s wedding day was made even more special by the safe arrival of Gareth and Amanda’s beautiful baby girl.

“It is probably the best excuse we have seen from a best man to get out of doing a speech.”

The drama was captured by wedding photographer Kane Young, who said it was one of the most unusual weddings he had worked at.

Mr Young, who is based in Hartlepool, said: “The bride and groom were over the moon and could not wait to go and see the baby.”

His website can be found at kaneyoungphotography.com