A bride celebrated her wedding with six-foot replicas of characters from her toy box as larger-than-life Sylvanian Families mascots joined in the party.

Natalie Eels, 32, tied the knot with groom Matthew Warburton at a stately home - and guests at the party were astonished when they were joined by characters from the iconic toy series, furry animal figurines reproducing scenes from Britain in the 1950s.

Primary school teacher Natalie treasured her Sylvanian Families collection throughout her childhood and saved the dainty animal toys to pass on to her one-year-old daughter, Phoebe.

Her dad even built her a special dolls house for her Sylvanians to live in - and took them sailing during family holidays in Christchurch, Dorset.

When she suggested the idea to hubby Matthew, 33, he loved the thought of keeping the furry guests a secret to surprise the children who would be at the wedding.

Natalie said: “I never thought that I would be married with my own little girl in attendance.

“Now that she’s here, our wedding is all about making her day as special as possible.

“The introduction of Sylvanian Families characters was so significant as everybody knows how much I loved them as a little girl and I am sure that Phoebe will go on to love them, too.”

The couple agreed to keep the four Sylvanian Families mascots a surprise, and Natalie was looking forward to telling her pupils about the unusual guests, as many of children still collect the reissued retro toys.

Natalie added: “When I was small, my Dad built me a doll's house and I played with them for hours.

“On Sundays, I was allowed to go to the toy shop and collect more.

“My favourites were the duck and otter families, but my favourite piece in the collection is my Sylvanian Families canal boat.

“It's beautiful and currently waiting in my parent's loft for my daughter Phoebe to be old enough to play with it.”

The canal boat is now 26 years old, and Natalie searched in her parents’ attic to brush the dust off it ahead of the big day.

She said: “I remember trying to create a river and sailing my otter family along on their canal boat.

“They scrubbed the decks with their miniature mops and slept in tiny bunk beds. I can also remember my Mum inviting her clients children over to play, who were often boys, and dreading them messing up my collection.

“It really annoyed me when they used to try and change their clothes and rearrange my Sylvanian Families furniture.

"If I was good, my dad used to take me to the local toy shop and I would be allowed one more character or piece of furniture to add to my collection.

“My absolute favourite piece of furniture was the old fashioned TV set that had different pictures you could change over the channel with.

“The baby ducks and baby rabbits were my most precious characters and I used to love tucking them into their cots with blankets and bottles. My best friend Amy had the beautiful windmill which I was always very envious of.

“I begged my parents for one but they surprised me with the canal boat which I loved even more.”

The ceremony was held at Bowood House, Wilts, close to Natalie’s home in Chippenham.

The stately home was decked out in blue and silver decorations and 120 guests joined the party after the ceremony.

Natalie said: “I told Matt about my Sylvanian Families canal boat and he thought it was fantastic, and said how lovely it would be for all the children on our wedding day.

“He wanted to try to keep it a surprise from our guests - he said they wouldn’t be able to believe their eyes.”

The wedding package was the coveted prize of a Sylvanian Families competition, and the characters joined in the couple’s first dance, to Whenever You Call by Mariah Carey.