How did you meet?
Richard and I met through mutual friends in September 1993 although it wasn’t until December of that year that we started going out! I liked him and he liked me but we were both too shy to do anything about it. We just cast furtive glances at each other until my friend stepped in and played matchmaker!
Describe the marriage proposal.
It was on Christmas Eve 2001. I was going to the midnight service at my local church and Richard walked me there. As we got to the bottom of the steps he told me he felt really guilty as he hadn’t bought me a Christmas present. I didn’t believe him as I had seen him put three gifts all wrapped up under the tree earlier in the day and he’s a terror for pretending he’s forgotten occasions. As we got to the top of the steps he repeated that he hadn’t bought me a Christmas pressie as he was going to marry me instead and produced a beautiful diamond ring from his pocket. It turned out he had taken one of my rings to get the size and so it fitted perfectly. I walked into the church beaming from ear to ear and showed my mum, who was already there. She just smiled and said ‘So he’s done it then.’ Richard had asked my dad’s permission earlier in the day and shown them all the ring, so I was the last to know. The church he proposed at was where my parents married 33 years ago and where we were married in September 2003 so this made it extra special.
How long did you spend preparing for the day and how was it?
We planned the wedding for 21 months and it all went amazingly smoothly. We tried to get as many friends and family involved as possible which was lovely. Mum is a dressmaker so my outfit and the bridesmaids were all bespoke and looked fantastic. The wedding cake was made by a friend of the family who made my christening cake all those years ago. My husband-to-be printed the invitations and my cousin designed them. Even the flowers in the church and at the reception were done by friends!
What type of wedding ceremony did you have and where?
We had a traditional church service which was conducted by the local minister. It was at St Andrew’s United Reformed Church in Hampstead, which is my parents’ local church and where I went to Sunday school for years.
Where did you hold the reception and what was it like?
Our reception was held at the Metropolitan Police Sports Club in Bushey, Herts. They were absolutely fantastic – nothing was too much trouble. We had 130 guests for the meal, which was a buffet served at the tables, and another 20 or so in the evening. The day went so smoothly – I would recommend them for any event.
Is there anything you’d like to change, with hindsight?
The only thing I wish I had done was to give the photographer a detailed list of particular shots we would like. I didn’t do this and subsequently there are quite a few people who slipped through the net and who I don’t have any photographs of. We had reportage style photographs as I don’t really like the formal ones and this meant that even some of our family and extended families weren’t in the official shots. Luckily we had an overload of disposable cameras, my cousin who is an amateur photographer and took lots of shots, plus two videos, so I think we covered everything!!
What advice would you give to couples currently planning their wedding?
Take your time making decisions and don’t let anyone put you off doing what you want. This is your day and should be a reflection of your personalities. Everyone who came to our weddding said that it was very ‘us’ – traditional but informal and fun. Also, try to remember that it is only one day, so if things go wrong don’t panic; think of all the years ahead you have to make up for it.