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Church offers free weddings to help beat the crunch

Stag night plans and wedding day dreams may be on hold across the UK as the credit crunch continues to bite, but one British church is offering relief to cash-strapped couples.

St Hild and St Helen's church in Dawdon, County Durham, is allowing people to tie the knot for free - and has already won approval from one happy pair of newlyweds.

Alan Davison and partner Donna Swinney were the first to take advantage of the offer - which even allows couples to borrow wedding dresses and suits to help save on costs.

The duo could not afford a conventional wedding after Mr Davison was made redundant last year, but the church helped get their plans back on track.

Ms Swinney said: "It's absolutely fantastic what they're doing.

"There are so many people out there who won't be getting married because it's so expensive."

The news comes after Chiara Cavaglieri, writing for the Independent, said couples can still enjoy their big day without breaking the bank.

She claimed that by substituting expensive wedding cakes and sit-down meals for chocolate fountains and buffets, people can make substantial savings without compromising on style.ADNFCR-2122-ID-19164800-ADNFCR