Our hitchhike to happiness: Students who took part in charity trek eight years ago dressed as bride and groom fall in love and marry for real

‘Our hitchhike to happiness’: Students who took part in charity trek eight years ago dressed as bride and groom fall in love and marry for real

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UPDATED:

08:31 GMT, 27 July 2012

They barely knew each other when they embarked on a charity hitchhike to Paris dressed as a bride and groom.

But eight years later, Sam Lloyd and Adrian Bowers have tied the knot for real after love blossomed on the two-day trip.

The couple were both second year students at the University of Bath when they took part in the 2004 Paris Hitch, where participants race to the French capital without spending any money.

The couple have been inseparable ever since and have now walked down the aisle in real wedding outfits in front of 120 guests.

From hitchhikers to hitched: Sam Lloyd and Adrian Bowers hitchhiked to Paris for charity while at university and then fell in love for real and got married

From hitchhikers to hitched: Sam Lloyd and Adrian Bowers hitchhiked to Paris for charity while at university and then fell in love for real and got married

From hitchhikers to hitched: Sam Lloyd and Adrian Bowers hitchhiked to Paris for charity while at university, left, and then fell in love for real and got married, right

Delighted
Sam, 28, said: 'Everyone says it's a true love story. It's very
romantic – I just wish he'd have kissed me when we were on top of the
Eiffel Tower.

'It was a fantastic wedding and my dress was a lot nicer than the one I wore the first time.'

The Paris Hitch race rules state that men and women must travel in pairs for safety reasons so Sam plucked up the courage to ask Adrian, whom she had admired from afar.

She said: 'Adrian was in the same halls of residence as me on the floor above. I didn't really know him but we had some mutual friends and I'd always liked him so I thought I'd ask him to do the hitch with me.

Trying their luck: The couple were both students at the University of Bath when they took part in the 2004 Paris Hitch, where participants race to the French capital without spending any money

Trying their luck: The couple were both students at the University of Bath when they took part in the 2004 Paris Hitch, where participants race to the French capital without spending any money

Trying their luck: The couple were both students at the University of Bath when they took part in the 2004 Paris Hitch, where participants race to the French capital without spending any money

They made it! /07/26/article-2179281-143986E9000005DC-359_634x447.jpg

Remember Paris The couple have now walked down the aisle for real in front of 120 guests

'We explained what we were doing and, intrigued, most people then offered us the lift – we travelled with a variety of people from stone cutters heading to Stonehenge, the head of IBM, and numerous man-in-vans.'

Their eye-catching outfits helped them blag a free lift on a cross-channel ferry – where the captain even offered them a free meal.

/07/26/article-2179281-14398711000005DC-61_634x331.jpg” width=”634″ height=”331″ alt=”Picture perfect: Twenty-eight-year-old Sam said it had been obvious the pair liked each other but neither wanted to make the first move during the hitchhike ” class=”blkBorder” />

Picture perfect: Twenty-eight-year-old Sam said it had been obvious the pair liked each other but neither wanted to make the first move during the hitchhike

Checkmate: In the end it was Adrian who plucked up enough courage to write that they should get married again some day in Sam's birthday card

Checkmate: In the end it was Adrian who plucked up enough courage to write that they should get married again some day in Sam's birthday card

'We spent the rest of the day enjoying the sunshine under the Eiffel tower, taking a trip down the Seine, getting to know each other better and then had dinner in a little French restaurant in the evening.

'It was obvious that we liked each other but neither of us wanted to make the first move.'

The couple didn't win the challenge but raised 200 for charity – and they grew closer after returning to the UK.

Sam said: 'After being back a few days Adrian made a lovely two-minute compilation video of the trip. He set it to the song You look beautiful tonight and it looked like a real wedding video.

Happily ever after: The couple tied the knot in Maidstone, Kent but live and work in London

Happily ever after: The couple tied the knot in Maidstone, Kent but live and work in London

The future: The happy couple are planning to relocate to New York later this year

The future: The happy couple are planning to relocate to New York later this year

'I still wasn't sure he liked me until the next weekend when it was my birthday and he wrote in my card, “I couldn't wish to be married to a more lovely, fun girl in the whole world… maybe we should do it again one day”.'

Sam and Adrian both graduated in 2007 – Sam with a 2:1 in International Management with Modern Languages and Adrian with a 1st in Mathematics.

They have been together ever since and now live in London, where Adrian works as a risk manager and Sam a sustainability manager.

Adrian proposed while the couple were on holiday in Mauritius and they have now tied the knot for real in front of delighted family and friends in Maidstone.

The couple are planning to relocate to New York later this year.