How did you meet?
Richard and I met through a Christian website. We emailed for a few weeks, then met up for a meal and instantly hit it off.
Describe the marriage proposal.
He proposed five months later at a Christmas ball. We arranged the wedding for 13th October – just 10 months later.
How long did you spend preparing for the day and how was it?
We spent just under 10 months preparing for the day. It was just the right length of time for me – the wedding day was in sight but we had time to arrange things just how we wanted them. The Indian summer of early October 2001 continued on and on until it broke on Sat 13th October, our wedding day. After three days of final wedding preparations in scorching heat we had to locate our umbrellas and raincoats, but I’m pleased to say that nothing could dampen our spirits on that magical day.
What type of wedding ceremony did you have and where?
As practising Christians, it was important to us to get married in church. We chose a local Methodist church, which must have one of the friendliest congregations in the country. Everyone was excited for us and prepared to go the extra mile to help us out. Our ceremony was a fusion of traditional and modern styles of Christian worship and we really enjoyed it. We added our own personal touch by walking out of the church to a CD playing ‘May each day’ by Andy Williams.
Where did you hold your reception and what was it like?
We opted for a hotel-style reception as we had a lot of guests from out of town who needed somewhere to stay. In order to maintain part of the day for families and close friends only, we had a three-course lunch at noon, just before everyone got ready (though my sister and I had already been to the hairdressers in the morning). The lunch helped to set the atmosphere for the day and also forced me to sit down and relax for an hour! With the wedding ceremony scheduled for 3pm we just had enough time to enjoy our lunch, though I did skip dessert to begin putting on my make-up.
Richard is a transport enthusiast and we included his hobby by transporting guests to and from the church on a vintage double decker bus. This actually provided some of the best photo opportunities of the day. I travelled in the comfort of a white Mercedes, listening to Andy William’s ‘Moon River’ on the cassette player.
The ceremony and the photo session went smoothly, and we only got rained on once. The true downpour began as we were eating the reception meal at 6pm, but by then no one was bothered. After some great speeches, including one from the bride, the disco began at 9pm. It really took off, possibly because we decided that we didn’t want a buffet and so there was no awkward break for guests to fill their plates.
Is there anything you’d change, with hindsight?
Although everyone tells you to delegate, I would say, ‘Delegate with caution!’ I found that people don’t always follow the instructions you give them. For example, I asked a good friend to take a photo of each guest but we ended up with an envelope full of random shots of the wedding (most of which were duplicates of other photos taken). Although those photos were lovely, they weren’t what we wanted, and we don’t have a have a picture of everyone who came.
What advice would you give to couples currently planning their wedding?
Think about what you want from your day and go for it! Don’t be afraid to be different – lots of people (including a number of hotels we considered for our reception) told us that our pre-wedding lunch idea wouldn’t work, but it did. If you have a church ceremony have as much input as possible as far as music and readings go.
Save some money on your florist bill by having floating candles on the reception tables. Save money at an evening reception by not having a buffet; it also helps the party to swing if there is no break for serving food. Buy bridesmaid dresses at a high street store such as Monsoon. It tends to be cheaper than using a bridal shop and there is more chance that the bridesmaids will wear them again afterwards.Get the photographer to help you work out the timetable for your day. They are usually very experienced at judging how long certain parts of the wedding day will last. Also, think carefully about the photos you want and write a clear list (including people’s surnames and who they are, if they are your uncle, auntie, etc). Use ushers to ’round up’ subjects for photos.