How did you meet?
Bill and I worked for the NHS. There was a monthly managers meeting which, on this occasion was chaired by our new divisional manager. It turns out this chap thought we all needed a stern lecture about standards, in particular punctuality. As he finished, Bill walked in! He couldn’t fail to make an impression!
Describe the marriage proposal.
I had just returned from a holiday to Egypt with my sister. Bill was working the night I came home so to make up he took me out to dinner and listened patiently as I went on about what it was like. We got talking about some gold earrings I had bought there and how I should get them valued (jewellery being much cheaper out there). Bill was quite insistant we did this soon and I couldn’t work out why until he blurted out ‘well we could have a look at rings then’!
How long did you spend preparing for the day and how was it?
We were engaged for four years but things kept cropping up that blew any savings we had for the wedding. In the end at Christmas, Bill said in passing to me when I mentioned setting a date ‘you’ll never get round to sorting our wedding out’. I didn’t say anything at the time but inside I thought, ‘I’ll show you!’. I bought a dress in the January sales and phoned the vicar the following week. Having got a few costings, I set a date for September and told Bill on valentine’s day. He was surprised but thrilled. We did do a lot ourselves to keep costs down and that was hard work but it was a fantastic day that we made our own. Everyone keeps telling me how brilliant it was!
What type of wedding ceremony did you have and where?
Our wedding was held at The Royal Air Force Chapel in Biggin Hill. This was special to me as my late father served in the RAF in World War 2. Although he did not serve at Biggin Hill, when I was little, he took me to the air shows there every summer. Neither Bill nor I had a particular affiliation to a local church although I wanted a Christian wedding. I heard through a friend of someone else who married there and made enquiries. After providing evidence of my father’s service record, I was given permission. It was quite complicated as the parish priest from where we lived had to conduct the service but as he did not have security clearance from the ministry of defence to conduct marriages at the chapel. We had to have the local priest from Biggin Hill act as registrar. We therefore had two priests officiate at our wedding!
Where did you hold your reception and what was it like?
We wanted a relaxed affair that people would feel happy at, whatever their age or background. We hired the local village hall and had a free bar with a buffet we had prepared. We decorated the hall ourselves with friends the night before and it looked fabulous. Because a lot of our friends had children, we organised a crèche for the duration of the wedding and a couple of hours after. This gave guests time to relax a bit before worrying about the little ones. Those who made use of this have said this was a godsend; apparently, the kids had as good a time as the adults!
Is there anything you’d change, with hindsight?
The day went so fast I wish we’d had a video done to see it again, perhaps things we might have missed. We really struggled at times doing so much ourselves although it made things more ‘us’. I would take up more offers of help and allow more time to plan/prepare.Say YES PLEESE! to friends who offer to help! People don’t mind unless you ask too much of them. Don’t forget the post wedding plans like who takes care of clearing up or getting things returned to the rightful places.
What advice would you give to couples currently planning their wedding?
The day is one big adrenaline high, you are with all the people you love, you are in your best gear and everyone is saying great things about you both. WHO COULD NOT ENJOY THAT!