Best selling crime writer Peter James has described his epic three-week wedding celebration which started with a ceremony at Borde Hill Gardens.
Peter, 67, and wife Lara, 36, were married at the end of July at Jeremy’s Restaurant in the gardens, in Haywards Heath, followed by a blessing in France with 60 family and friends.
They honeymooned in France and Italy, before returning to their home, near Henfield, for a big garden party with more than 300 guests.
The theme was ‘Mexican Day of the Dead’. They chose this after being inspired by their trip to Mexico the previous year when they were made aware of traditional The Day of the Dead celebrations in the country which involve colourfully dressed skeletons.
“I’ve got ‘dead’ in the title of every book so we thought it would be appropriate.
“We had stilt walkers dressed as skeletons, a skeletal bride and groom, a glitter ball skull for the dance floor and skulls on the tables.”
Celebrity guests to the party included presenter and comedian Les Dennis and Holby City actress Tina Hobley.
And they were well entertained.
“There was a huge firework display but I wanted explosions more than fireworks.
“We had someone who does them. He came over and asked me if I would like to scare the hell out of everyone and I said ‘yes’, and he said ‘just push this button’.
“I pushed it and there was a huge explosion. Everyone dropped their drink, they thought the whole fireworks display had gone up at once.
“It was really good fun.”
Instead of a best man, Peter had four ‘good men’ and they all dressed like the Good Fellas with blacks suits and red socks.
Peter met Lara while skiing with a friend in Courcheval, France, in 2013.
Lara and her friends jumped into the same gondola ski lift as him.
They got chatting and realised they were all from Sussex. Then they spent the next few days skiing together.
In October that year she attended one of his book events and their romance quickly blossomed.
Peter proposed to Lara when they were staying at the Four Seasons hotel, in Los Angeles.
“I hadn’t planned it.
“I wasn’t sure when would be the right moment to ask her. I just knew I wanted to ask her.
“We were sat out on a terrace and I just asked her and she said ‘of course I will’.”
They bought her ring in New York.
Peter invited the High Sheriffs of East and West Sussex to host a fund raiser in the marque afterwards and they raised more than £10,000 for Sussex hospices.
On October 8, Peter will see his first ghost story in 20 years, be published.
The book, called ‘House on Cold Hill’, is based in a fictitious village in West Sussex and was inspired by his experience of living in a haunted house in Ditchling in the 80s and 90s.
He said there were many on strange goings-on in the house from the day he moved in with his then wife.
One bizarre occurrence was when he left his book on a table in the atrium and later found the book had gone up in flames.
He discovered a glass object had magnified the sunlight but he did not believe that was the soul cause.