Couple who live 7,000 miles apart decide to marry after just 11 days together
Cristian Paredes met Rebekah Clayton by chance on a cruise ship and after their 11th day together, the couple decided they couldn’t live without each other
Image: PA Real Life)
A couple who live 7,000 miles apart and met by chance on a cruise have decided to get married after knowing each other for just 11 days.
Rebekah Clayton, 27, and Argentinian Cristian Paredes, 29, refused to let a small thing like distance stand in the way of their love story.
Cristian was working in the gift shop on board a Norwegian cruise ship when he met Rebekah in October 2022.
After a whirlwind holiday romance on the high seas, the couple were forced to say goodbye when Rebekah’s holiday came to an end.
But they were able to meet up again just a few months later when the ship docked in Southampton. And after spending their 11th day together, they decided never to part ways again.
Unable to bear being apart, Cristian, from Cordoba in Argentina, made the move to Chesterfield, Derbyshire, to be with Rebekah – and now the pair’s road to the aisle is being documented in the new series of 90 Day Fiance UK on discovery+.
PA Real Life)
But the lovers are on a tight deadline to get hitched, with just three months left before Cristian’s visa expires. If they don’t make it to the registry office, he will have no choice but to return to South America.
Rebekah, who works in telecommunications and is also a belly dancer, said: « I’m very unlucky in love, I just meet the wrong guys all the time but from the first moment I met Cristian, we had an instant connection.
« We’ve had a lot of bumps in our journey, and at first my family weren’t happy about our relationship. But we want to make it work and I just knew we had to at least try after the cruise ended. »
For Rebekah, the trip to Norway was a long-awaited family trip away with her grandparents after it was postponed multiple times due to the Covid pandemic. However, the family getaway took a change of course when she bumped into Cristian on the second day of the cruise.
Rebekah said: « We had just crossed the Arctic Circle so the sea was really rocky and I was really sick. My nan suggested that we go find some fizzy drinks from the shop to keep my sugar levels up so we went into the gift shop and she made a beeline for Cristian to ask where the drinks were.
« Cristian said they didn’t serve drinks but he rang round reception to find out which bars were open. It felt like the moment was in slow motion and there was an instant spark. »
James Rudland/PA Real Life)
Cristian added: « For me, the first thing I noticed was Rebekah’s eyes, she has blue eyes, and she was very beautiful. I thought she might be interested in me, because after that she would come into the store asking for ridiculous items that we clearly don’t have but I had to be careful because fraternising with guests was not allowed and I didn’t want to approach her for her to then complain because then I would be dropped off at the next port just because I got the wrong message. »
Unbeknownst to Cristian, Rebekah was also working up the courage to tell him how she felt. After spending most of her 10-day holiday in the gift shop, the pair exchanged numbers before Rebekah disembarked.
She said: « My grandparents knew something was going on, but they encouraged it because they thought Cristian seemed nice. We didn’t know how everything was going to pan out because Cristian was still working onboard but we knew we wanted to try and make it work because we had a connection. »
It was difficult for the pair to keep in touch, with Cristian unable to use his phone during his long shifts but she took the opportunity to see him again in January 2023, when the cruise arrived in Southampton. With just a day to spend together before Cristian’s flight home to Argentina, Rebekah picked him up from the dock and drove him to the airport.
It wasn’t long after he touched down back home that the pair were already hatching a plan to be together once again, with them deciding the best decision would be for Cristian to set up life in the UK.
Rebekah said: « My family weren’t all very happy about it except for my grandparents who had no issue at all, but they were the only ones who had met him. Everybody was just looking out for my best interest but Cristian’s very charming so the moment he met everybody, he won them over. »
In March 2023, after having spent just 11 days together, Cristian travelled more than 7,000 miles to move across the world to be with Rebekah. But his visa restrictions mean they’ll have to tie the knot within six months of him being in the country in order for him to stay – so they even had to book a wedding date before he arrived.
« It’s felt a lot less romantic than a normal engagement or wedding planning because normally you’d wait longer in the relationship before getting married but there have been a lot of documents, » Rebekah said.
Originally planning a June wedding, the couple has postponed their nuptials due to ‘bumps’ in their journey and their road to the aisle is being captured on camera in the new series of 90 Day Fiance UK on discovery+. Cristian said: « This relationship is a leap of faith – resigning my job, leaving my home town to move to an unknown place with unknown people is a leap of faith.
« And for Rebekah too, to have somebody move in with her that she doesn’t fully know yet. » The couple now have just three months left to tie the knot before Cristian’s visa expires.
Rebekah said: « We’d originally booked a date in June on his visa application but there’s been a lot of bumps in our journey. It’s not as easy as it sounds and we want to make sure we’re ready before taking such a big step. I don’t want to give too much away, you’ll have to watch the show to find out. »
The new series of 90 Day Fiance UK is available to stream exclusively on discovery+ from Sunday July 16.