Coleen and Stuart
How did you meet?
When I was 16, my parents moved house. It’s a typical boy next-door story… Stuart lived across the road from our new house, we became friendly, then one thing lead to another and we became boyfriend and girlfriend. I knew that he was the guy I would spend the rest of my life with.
Describe the marriage proposal.
After being a couple for over two years we decided to get engaged. Neither of us asked each other, it just sort of happened. Seven years on we were still engaged and living together and I felt it was time we got married, so I decided to ask him. One night while Stuart was in the shower I left a little poem, a bottle of Champagne, a single red rose and my engagement ring in it’s box on our table, shouting through to the bathroom, ‘I’m away to the shops’. When I walked out the door, I panicked and nearly ran back in and hid everything, but fortunately I didn’t. When I came back from the shops, Stuart was in the hall. He gave me a big cuddle and said, ‘Yes!’
How long did you spend preparing for the day and how was it?
I asked Stuart on a Tuesday in the middle of August 2000 and we got married on Saturday 1st June 2002. We didn’t tell anyone about the wedding until about a month after the proposal. By January 2001 we had started to book various things – the length of time it took us to plan the wedding day was about 18 months.
What type of wedding ceremony did you have and where?
We had a religious ceremony, held in the gardens at the Moorfield House Hotel, Blairgowrie, a lovely old-fashioned mansion house with beautiful grounds. I had four bridesmaids, a flowergirl and a pageboy. The service was very relaxed and informal, the kids didn’t have to be glued to the seats, which allowed them to come up to the altar and watch everything that was going on. It was a great day.
Where did you hold your reception and what was it like?
Our reception was also held at the Moorfield House Hotel, a ‘one location day,’ as it was referred to, which was so easy. There was no aggravation or stress, everyone was there and we didn’t have to worry about getting our guests from one location to another. We had a formal dinner at five o’clock for eighty day guests and a further hundred evening guests. It was excellent, everything went to plan and believe me, this wedding was planned with military precision, or so my friends said (for a while I was getting called Monica!). The food was fabulous, the speeches hilarious, the Belka Suite, which was where the meal was being served was gorgeous, although I did decorate most of it myself the evening before the wedding. My favours for the day guests were imported from America, and I made the favours for the evening guests myself. We received a gift from Australia – signature bears, a bride and a groom, which are set out for your guests to sign, it’s a lovely keepsake. There were rose petals and metallic confetti sprinkled around our centrepieces, the cake and the message book. Our centrepieces were fairly simple – we had glass dishes with floating candles and lily pads plus a cluster of bridal balloons, it was very effective.
Is there anything you’d change, with hindsight?
What I would change couldn’t actually be helped on the day. I had a very bad case of flu, and I got a coldsore. Never in my life have I had a coldsore, but two days before the wedding I got one. Everyone says it was down to stress, the flu was also blamed by stress. Stuart had a black eye, which I wouldn’t actually have changed – watching the video, the rumours that went around as to how he got a black eye are so funny. By the time our evening guests arrived there were about eight different stories. In actual fact he had been out for a couple of drinks with his best man and his usher the night before to write his speech. He got as far as writing ‘Good Afternoon Ladies & Gentlemen’ before all three ended up drunk, and Stuart fell off the sofa and hit his face on our luggage which was packed ready for our honeymoon. He hit it so hard that the case opened! Stuart has never had a black eye before so it also made good material for his unwritten speech.
What advice would you give to couples currently planning their wedding?
Book things as soon as you can. We booked our venue eighteen months beforehand and our original date was 18th May 2002, this would have been our 11th anniversary. This date was already booked but we had our heart set on the Moorfield House Hotel so we had to change our dates. As it turned out we had our stag night and hen nights on our anniversary. My hen night was in Glasgow, about eighty miles from our home in Dundee. There were about thirty mad females all up for a laugh. If it was something I had do again, I would still go away but only with a handful of people – trying to please thirty women wasn’t easy! Various people wanted to go to different places, we kept losing one another and it only made for a stressful night. The quiet night I had at home with my mum, aunts and work colleagues was great, we went out for a meal and then onto a few pubs, it was a great night, much more relaxed.
Is there any other detail that you would like to share?
Trying to please everyone is hard and the help and support I got from my mum and dad was brilliant. My cousin Addie and my friend Judith were also a great help and I presented them with bouquets as a thank you. If people are offering to help in anyway, accept it, as it’s a stressful enough time and any help is greatly appreciated, even if you are very picky about your attention to detail.
Most importantly, try to remember that it does pass so quickly that you’ll forget most things, so definitely get a video. We also had a second, reportage photographer, who went about taking un-posed, candid shots, very few of our guests even noticed she was there. Put disposable cameras on your tables, we had seven cameras. Unfortunately we only got five back, but they were an brilliant way of seeing what was going on on your guests’ tables.
On your wedding day itself, enjoy…you won’t be doing this again, hopefully.