How did you meet?
Through friends. We had both had a really naff New Year (1996/97) and separately decided to visit our friends in London, who knew each other. We all went out for drinks and Jason and I hit it off! We didn’t see each other for six weeks (I went home to the Lake District and Jason returned to his RAF base). We met up again when I visited friends in London again and decided to give it a go. Distance was a problem at first, but then I got a job in London and moved home etc. Within three months, we decided to try living together.
Describe the marriage proposal.
Lying in bed one Saturday morning, discussing our future and he popped the question, simple as that. We eventually got engaged on New Year’s Day 1998.
How long did you spend preparing for the day and how was it?
We spent the best part of a year preparing for the big day. My mum and I visited the Olympia Wedding Show, which was really useful (lots of great ideas etc). Tried on a hundred dresses, but bought the first one that I’d tried on. Visited lots of venues, but settled on Armathwaite because the staff were wonderful. They organised the ceremony and wedding breakfast and evening reception, but were never over controlling, which I think is really important. On the whole, it was probably the most stressful time ever! I managed to take a holiday to Greece one month before the wedding, which I would advise any bride to do!
What type of wedding ceremony did you have and where?
A civil ceremony, which was brilliant because we made it really personal. We chose readings, poems and music which were very personal to us. While the venue was formal, the atmosphere was fairly informal – people were chatting and mixing really well and when I entered the ceremony room, I could feel the excitement and happiness of our friends and family. It was wonderful.
Where did you hold your reception and what was it like?
We had both the wedding breakfast at Armathwaite Hall and the evening reception. We were married at 1pm and had our meal at about 2.30/3pm, so by the time everyone had finished it must have been about 5pm. Everyone then moved into the lounge and bar for coffee and drinks and a good chat and before long, it was 7pm and the evening guests had started to arrive. The children weren’t bored as there was lots of space for them to run around and the hotel staff were very accommodating – games room etc. We decided on a fairly simple menu for the wedding breakfast and a buffet/canapés for the evening reception. The evening reception was a hoot! We had a live band and everyone was dancing all night – no one wanted the band to stop playing – but the Duty Manager was getting a little upset by about 12.30!!! Even they admitted it was a great night!
Thinking back to the ‘big day’ what things did you especially enjoy?
The atmosphere. Being with the people I love and seeing them enjoying themselves. Seeing people smiling and being genuinely happy. Feeling very, very special.
Is there anything you’d change, with hindsight?
Yes, the wedding cake! It was a chocolate cake with hand-crafted gerberas and other flowers, which were in my bouquet. It was quite small though and I was quite disappointed with it. I think after the big day you look back and see a hundred things you might have done differently, but then you also remember what a wonderful day you had.
What advice would you give to couples currently planning their wedding?
Consider every option for everything! Go with what you and your partner want and not what your family wants. Use the confetti wedding planner, I found it really helpful. Look at lots of magazines and keep cuttings of your favourite colours/flowers/dresses/ table decorations and keep everything in a file … and … ENJOY IT!!! because it goes by so quickly.