After 18 months of dating, Maryanne and Tommy decided to tie the knot. Not everyone was happy for them. Fortunately, the couple did not let any criticism stop them from taking this important step towards their future.
In July 1995, Maryanne and Tommy Pilling got married at St Mary’s Church in Shoeburyness, Essex. They were believed to be the first Down Syndrome couple to get married.
It's been 23 years since then and this couple is still going strong. In addition, they have also gained quite a reputation on social media over the years. The pair often shares updates about their life on their Facebook page, which was set up by Maryanne’s sister, Lindi Newman.
Lindi has always been a fan of the couple's relationship. She revealed that the first time her sister met Tommy, she came home with "the biggest smile on her face." Maryanne talked about him non-stop and her excitement was pretty obvious.
Lindi said that after dating for 18 months, Tommy visited Maryanne's mom to ask her permission before he proposed to her daughter. At the time, the lovestruck young man had a toy ring from a vending machine.
Maryanne's mom did not hesitate to give the couple her blessing and, to ensure it was done properly, she took Tommy to a jewelry store so he could purchase a proper ring.
Maryanne's mom was pretty excited to watch her daughter get married to the love of her life. However, she also got major flak for allowing them to get married, even though she kept insisting that it was the couple's decision.
"It was a beautiful day," Lindi said when describing the wedding. The couple had the best time. Even though many people disapproved, there were those who celebrated with the couple and supported their decision.
Tommy and Maryanne never really had it easy. Lindi explained that people would often stare at them and wrongly assume that the pair couldn't possibly make a marriage work.
For their loved ones and supporters, the couple was an inspiration. Parents with Down kids became hopeful that their children would someday find love like Tommy and Maryanne found in each other.
"I love my husband," Maryanne said. Getting married 23 years ago was a decision she never regretted.