Paul and I first met at Young Farmers in 1992. It wasn’t love at first sight however, and we didn’t really hit it off until 1994 when we started chatting. Then the following week he asked me out, and as the saying goes, the rest is history….
We bought our first house in 1999. It was a complete wreck, so there was a major programme of building on the agenda. But mid way through completion, the surrounding land was swamped with Foot and Mouth disease, and Paul consequently lost his job. Needless to say, all work on the house ceased. But finally, with only a brief delay, we set a new deadline of Christmas 2002 for completion.
On the Saturday before Christmas we were both painting the stairs, me at the top and Paul at the bottom, and he shouted up “Em do you fancy getting married? I think we should.” Not the most romantic of proposals! but he’s not the type to get down on bended knee!! The very next day we went to see a friend who’s a jeweller and ordered a ring which we chose together. A few days later, on Christmas Eve, we went to my parents for dinner where he asked my mum and dad for permission to marry me.
We had originally planned our wedding for May 2005, to give us time to build up our savings after finishing the house. Then a bomb shell came with the news that my Auntie Kath, to whom I am very close, told me that she had cancer. After some discussion, Paul and I decided that we wanted to have her there so we would bring it forward to 1st May 2004, and we would make our budget stretch. Overnight, I became a DIY bride! My mum and I attended flower arranging classes at our local church, my Mum enrolled in cake icing classes, and she was already a whizz at sewing so she made the bridesmaid dresses. We made the invitations ourselves too. Of course, it was really hard work doing everything ourselves, but we had everything just as we wanted, and it was incredibly satisfying when our guests complimented us on how nice every thing looked! Sadly, my Aunt died 8 weeks before the wedding, she just didn’t quite make it, but we contented ourselves by believing that she was there in spirit.
We had a traditional church service in St Mary’s, my local village church as I had attended Sunday school there as a child, and was in the church choir for ten years. The service was conducted by the Rector who I’ve known since childhood. As my parents’ house backs onto the church, I walked out of our back door straight into the church yard, which was especially lovely as so many people from the village had come to watch.
Our reception was held at the Grange Hotel at Grange over Sands in Cumbria. We were incredibly lucky with the date, the 1st May was one of the last free dates they had for 2004! And the staff were incredibly helpful. We had 150 guests to the church and the reception and I bought decorations from Confetti for all my tables…pink hearts and silver stars, and ivory favour boxes with pink gingham ribbon, they looked beautiful! We named all out tables after Simpson characters as Paul is a Simpsons fanatic! And we thought it would be fun and a little different. We even had a Homer Simpson cake!
I don’t think there is anything I would change about our day. Everything just as we wanted, our parents were fantastic and helped us financially, but didn’t interfere. Aunt Kath was very missed however, but Paul and I stole a few moments together away from everyone to ponder the day and to take a moment to think about her. In memory, the following day I took bouquets from the wedding party for her, my grand parents and Paul’s grandfather.
I enjoyed every single minute of the day, it was such a wonderful day but for us, but it was the small personal touches that made everything so special.