The virgin bride

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The Independent Online

Alexandra Gardner, 23, a social worker, married Phil Sayer, 25, a builder, in 2005

We'd been going out for four years and had an agreement that we would wait till we got married before having sex – we have both been Christians since our early teens. It wasn't easy – in fact, it was horrendous – but it's about self-control and respecting what you believe in.

Dad surprised me with a Ferrari he had hired for the day to take me to the church. It's a Methodist church that I've been going to for the past 20 years and it was my uncle who married us, because he's the pastor there.

Sex was always at the back of my mind and I had a few comments from some of our friends – "Wink wink, nudge nudge, we know what you'll be doing tonight." It was funny.

The reception was at Chipping village hall in Lancashire, where we had a meal and there were Haribo sweets on the tables.

When we got back to the hotel I felt like a little girl. It wasn't a massive worry, but it was something we were both aware of.

Was it what I expected? The first time it's a bit like, "Oh." But because you are in a relationship that you know is for the long term, things come with time and you can relax and try different things.