How did you meet?
We met in the dark! We’re both musicians and had been booked to do the same job, which was in the backing orchestra for a stage production. For the duration of the week, we were working together, sitting next to each other in the orchestra pit with a microphone placed between us (for amplification of the orchestra). This meant we were unable to talk to each other, so all communication had to be done by writing messages. By the end of the week, I had fallen in love with him without actually speaking a word to him – I was really surprised to find out he had a strong Brummie accent!
Describe the marriage proposal.
I was off work sick and in bed with a horrible streaming cold and had been for two days. Gary was a little later home than expected (I later found out that he had gone to visit my father to ask for my hand in marriage) and when he arrived home from work, he came up to see how I was. I must have looked absolutely terrible after two days in bed, but he went down on one knee and asked if I would marry him. I, of course, said yes! (It was the nicest cold I have ever had!).
How long did you spend preparing for the day and how was it?
Gary proposed at the beginning of March and we were married on the 19 November, with a church blessing and reception on the 20 November last year – so that’s about eight months! Virtually all preparations went smoothly and I did most or the organising myself and thoroughly enjoyed it! Only flies in the ointment were one or two stroppy relatives on my husband’s side (‘We don’t think your wedding’s worth coming to!’) – still there was more food for everyone else!)
What type of wedding ceremony did you have and where?
We had two wedding ceremonies! The first was a small register office wedding at Uxbridge register office with immediate family and a couple of best friends (the witnesses were both fathers) on Friday afternoon. The next day, we had a church blessing – a full white wedding at St Andrew’s church in Uxbridge.
Where did you hold your reception and what was it like?
Reception for the Friday was a ‘Sainsbury’s ready buffet’ at my father’s house with immediate family – it was quite quiet (because there was a much bigger do the next day) but very homely. My brothers and sisters had decorated the house with balloons and one of my sisters baked a wedding cake for us. On the big day, which was the Saturday, we had a sit-down dinner reception for 80 at the Exclesior Hotel in Heathrow. The hotel staff were wonderfully professional and all our needs were taken care of – there was even an incident during the evening where my cousin Jane, a wee bit inebriated, had spilt her trousers dancing . She sat in the ladies loo while one member of staff sewed up her trousers for her and another went to get her a gin and tonic! The hotel had thought of everything we might need and more besides, from being greeted at the reception with a red carpet and glass of Champagne, through to making sure all our presents were safe overnight – I really couldn’t fault the hotel at all, they made our wedding perfect for us!
Thinking back to the ‘big day’ what things did you especially enjoy?
Our blessing service was wonderful – a saxophone-playing vicar friend of ours conducted the service and made all aspects of the service very personal to both of us. We did not hire any cars – my Uncle Jim, the recent and very proud owner of an F-reg Mercedes, offered to drive for us and did a fantastic job – I wouldn’t have thought that my uncle would be able to get a wedding dress with a niece in it neatly folded into the back of his car, but he did and did it well! We were also planning to have a close friend of my husbands play the Trumpet Voluntary on his trumpet. Unfortunately, he very sadly died a couple of months before the big day. Two days before the wedding, another trumpet-playing friend realised that we had chosen the Trumpet Voluntary, but it was just being played on the organ and he offered to play for us. I didn’t know this until I walked down the aisle – to the sound of a very strong and very good trumpeter. Also, unknown to me, my mother had arranged for balloons to be tied to all the ends of the pews, so the church looked fantastic as I walked down the aisle. The best bits were all the personal touches from all our friends and relations there.
Is there anything you’d change, with hindsight?
Probably not (except maybe some of my husband’s family!)
What advice would you give to couples currently planning their wedding?
It’s a blank canvas – go for it! But since the very best bits were the personalised bits – if people want to help, let them!