How did you meet?
We met on a blind date set up by a friend of mine. I telephoned Caren. It was the same day Princess Diana had died in Paris, so this took up most of the conversation. We arranged to meet outside the cathedral in Bath. I liked Caren the first time I saw her. The second date was going to the cinema to watch ‘The Full Monty’.
Describe the marriage proposal.
Our marriage proposal wasn’t the most romantic. My fault really. We had talked about it. I think I was scared, as I was taking on two children from Caren’s previous marriage. My friends had got engaged and I took Caren out for a meal on her birthday. She thought I was going to propose, but I didn’t give it any thought. About a week later, she told me what she thought I was going to do, and then she asked me. I waited a couple of days, and said yes.
How long did you spend preparing for the day and how was it?
We spent about a year preparing for the wedding. The preparation was OK. We looked at several venues to hold the evening party. In the end, we chose the Parkside Hotel in Bristol, who also threw in the bridal suite as part of the package. Money was tight, so we planned to have the church wedding late in the day, in order to go straight into the evening party. We basically booked everything up front, and budgeted on paying for everything up to the wedding day. Luckily, on the day, it had all been paid for, except for the spending money for the honeymoon.
What type of wedding ceremony did you have and where?
The wedding took place at a Church of England in Kingswood, Bristol. It was a traditional wedding ceremony with about 100 guests.
Where did you hold your reception and what was it like?
The reception was held at the Parkside Hotel with a hired disco. The food was a buffet and was excellent. The tables were round and it was a cheery, cosy atmosphere. The bridal suite was lovely. The hotel staff were very nice to us – they didn’t even let my best man and dad up into our room to mess the bed up!
Thinking back to the ‘big day’ what things did you especially enjoy?
The whole day was great. It’s like a rollercoaster ride. I enjoyed the whole ceremony in the church, although I was a bit nervous. The evening too was great and it was lovely having all my friends and relatives there.
Is there anything you’d change, with hindsight?
The only thing I would change would be my speech. I did not write anything down and there were a lot of Caren’s relatives I did not thank, although I thanked them personally afterwards.
What advice would you give to couples currently planning their wedding?
Have a wedding you can afford. Our wedding came to about £3000 in total, which we paid over the course of the year. We did put one or two minor expenses on the credit card, which we regret now. Plan the day carefully – just remember it is your day!! Try and get someone to video the occasion, we did and it’s worth it.
Intimate weddings are characterised by their smaller number of guests, and the overall, more low-key celebration atmosphere. Imagine a cosy sit-down dinner with only your closest family and friends, or…