Bride Katie Hardy had no idea the ‘Back For Good’ singer was about to walk in on her big day after friends kept the secret for eight long months.
Even groom Stephen Hardy was kept in the dark, having booked a local Robbie Williams tribute act to fill in at the reception at the Three Nuns pub in Loughborough, Leicestershire, on Saturday.
But when the tribute singer finished his last number, Barlow walked on to the dance floor, belting out Take That’s 2006 hit ‘Rule The World’, to the complete shock of the wedding party.
Katie Hardy said: “The real Gary Barlow walked in, and I just couldn’t believe it. It was just the icing on the cake, I was speechless.”
The 33-year-old has been a Take That fan since she was eight, seeing the group and Williams perform many times.
She even has the names of the original band members tattooed on her arm.
But unknown to the care worker, friends and other die-hard fans put the couple’s names forward after Barlow launched a Twitter competition in January, vowing to sing at his most dedicated followers’ weddings.
The group got over 9m to the star, and Barlow’s management were in touch just days later.
One more wedding down ! Xx— Gary Barlow (@GaryBarlow) August 29, 2015
Friends of Hardy managed to then keep their secret for the next few months, as did Barlow.
She was part of the audience on ITV’s The Jonathan Ross Show, when show guest Barlow teased her, telling Hardy he did not think hers was one of the weddings he was singing at.
Stephen Hardy, speaking as he packed for the honeymoon to Gran Canaria, said: “I had no idea. That’s why I arranged for Tony Lewis, the Robbie tribute, to make a surprise appearance, and then made a fool of myself by singing a bit of Robbie myself before Tony took over.”
The 43-year-old, who tied the knot with his wife at Loughborough Register Office, added: “It was amazing. It made the day even more perfect than it had already been.”
The couple, who have three children, Kymberlee, Ben, and Jessica, said Barlow arrived without fuss and no security, just his personal assistant and driver.
“Afterwards, he stayed on for the wedding photos,” said Mrs Hardy.