How did you meet?
John and I met in the kitchen at work in Oct 1995. It was the perfect starting place for us as we are both food freaks! I left four years ago but he’s still there now and has become a fairly big cheese. Our first conversation was about parachuting mice. We knew it was serious from then on!
Describe the marriage proposal.
I was born in Scotland and, although I left when I was eight years old, I still feel a strong pull to the country and I get a pining to go there every year or so. John took me on a surprise week in the highlands in September 1999 where we had beautiful sunshine for most of the week. We stayed in some gorgeous country houses and manors and did lots of walking and exploring in the hills and heather. In the valley of Glencoe, beside a huge waterfall John seemed a bit restless, pacing around. When he came close and we had a kiss and a hug I could feel
his heart thumping. I asked if he was planning to throw me over the mountain (ha ha!) but when he dropped to his knees my first thought was that he was ill. I didn’t have time to worry though as he looked up, handed me a wild thistle and asked me to be his wife. It was a complete surprise but I didn’t hesitate for second. I had known for years that this was the man for me.
How long did you spend preparing for the day and how was it?
On our return we thought about stopping at Gretna Green to ‘do the deed’ but I knew this would cause a riot as all our family and friends would like to see us married and they wouldn’t want to miss a good party! We bought a beautiful aqua marine ring, flashed it at our families and started to check out reception venues. The church was already decided as we had fallen in love with it when we came to see our house for the first time in July 98. It’s an old 14th century church in a leafy lane in our village, just five minutes from our house. John and his brother, the best man, were able to walk there for the wedding. We had a few fraught moments with the planning – mainly because I think the females can’t help but become very picky about every detail and the men aren’t really interested in that – all they want to do is marry you!
I had a lot of nightmares leading up to the wedding, the worst of which was when my dress turned green and I reached my groom at the front of the altar only to discover he had turned into Jim Davidson! Horror of horrors!
What type of wedding ceremony did you have and where?
I hired an International Highlander bagpiper for the church ceremony of course. It was beautiful – he played Highland Cathedral as my entrance music and really woke up the sleepy village. My five year old pageboy who is also my nephew and godson, Joseph, has never seen a piper in the full regalia and he asked his dad ‘Why has that man got a gorilla on his head’.
We had two priests – the Church of England and Catholic to do the blessing and keep my Irish parents happy. It was lovely. The ceremony was my favourite bit of the whole day. John held my hand all the way through. I don’t know how I managed not to cry. You can see my lower lip shaking throughout the vows on the video!
Where did you hold your reception and what was it like?
We chose a small private cottage for our reception in the end and although I worried it would be too small for our 60 guests, it was perfect. It was very intimate and informal, just what we needed to wind down after all the fuss. John and I couldn’t wait to get away to be honest. We were ready to leave about 7pm but managed to hang on until 1am after plenty of dancing!
Is there anything you’d change, with hindsight?
I wouldn’t have spent so much on flowers for the church because no one really notices them in the end. I’d have put some more make-up on after we’d driven from the church to the cottage in our convertible car as I look a bit washed out on the photos after that time. I hardly wore any make-up at all as I don’t usually and I wanted to be myself, as natural as possible. I would have been more careful with my dress in the garden in the evening – it had about a foot of mud on it and it’s costing a fortune to clean!
What advice would you give to couples currently planning their wedding?
Remember each other! You and your relationship and your future with your husband is all that matters and it’s all you’ll have after the big day. Take time out together and try to forget about the wedding as often as you can in the build up. It does all get a bit much but, though the planning is well worth it, don’t forget to have fun and be yourselves (not some scary robotic psychotic Stepford Wife – like I was a few times! Thankfully John has a great sense of humour). Everyone tells you it goes too fast and that’s what I’ll tell you too. Try to talk to everyone – I regret not speaking more to a few people who were there – you don’t get the chance again to have all your favourite friends and family in one place. Make the most of it and don’t drink too much!