How did you meet?
I used to be the manager of a pub. One day, this girl fainted from heat (and drink!) and I took her outside to sit quietly for a while! We then actually started seeing each other after meeting again at a party where Grace reckons I winked at her and she came over to chat to me.
Describe the marriage proposal.
I got up early on Sunday, 14th February 1999 (St Valentine’s Day), made her a breakfast of freshly-squeezed orange juice, smoked salmon on brown bread, fresh fruit salad and loads of other tasty things, served on a tray with a single red rose and a little box, which she thought contained the earrings she’d asked for. I got down on bended knee when she opened the box, looked disappointed for a brief moment then realised what was happening and then I proposed and she accepted!
How long did you spend preparing for the day and how was it?
We spent from February until October preparing for the day and made a small database and several spreadsheets in Excel to keep all the info together. Grace also made a folder in which to keep all correspondence and brochures together. The actual day went really smoothly. I don’t think anyone felt lost or did not know what was happening.
What type of wedding ceremony did you have and where?
We had the legally obligatory civic ceremony in the main town hall of Brussels, right in the Grand Place in the town centre.
Where did you hold your reception and what was it like?
We held the reception in an old chateau by a lake near where we live. The food was perfect and we had a good DJ, everyone mixed well and we had no drunken fights or anything! We danced the night away and made sure everyone had a Belgian chocolate to take with them to help them remember the day.
Thinking back to the ‘big day’ what things did you especially enjoy?
I think that what made it so special was the people that came – old friends and family I had not seen for a long time. It was great having things organised so well and not having to worry about anything. I especially enjoyed getting married in such style in the Grand Place.
Is there anything you’d change, with hindsight?
Not really, maybe to have saved for a bit longer. Then I could have invited more of my friends and relatives.
What advice would you give to couples currently planning their wedding?
Try to stay within budget. Remember to cater for children and don’t forget the thank-you cards. Try to personalise at least part of the wedding and don’t let others take control – pay for it yourself if you have too! Don’t invite anyone you do not want to, it is really your day and no one else’s.