Julie and Steve’s Real Life Shorrocks Hill Wedding

Julie and Steve

19/08/2005 – Shorrocks Hill Country Club, Formby, Merseyside

Real life wedding


How and when did you meet?

We met through work. I am a hospital social worker; Steve is a senior staff nurse. A diabetes registrar, also called Steve, played cupid; he thought that my Steve and I were already an item. Within a few minutes we had exchanged phone numbers – I was going through some difficult family stuff at the time, and romance was not on my agenda! I made the first call and left a message asking Steve if he would like to take out a leggy brunette! His reply was “Which leggy brunette?” He has a dry, wry sense of humour. We made arrangements for our first date the following day- two days after ‘Cupid Steve’ had done his job! I was just thinking that I have someone to go out with, get away from the family stuff and was just looking for some short term fun – here we are four and a half years later. Steve supported me through ill health and the {heavy} family stuff, he did not run a mile – he stayed with me through thick and thin. This is a second marriage for both of us; our only regret is that we didn’t meet each other much earlier.

How old are you both?

45 and 49.

Where, when and how did he (or you!) propose?

It was not a romantic proposal; as I was putting the fire on one morning, he just said “Jul, do you fancy getting married?” to which I replied “And they say romance is dead!” However, I agreed! We chose the ring together, a heart-shaped diamond on a white gold band, then we went for a romantic meal, where Steve tried a bit harder and had put the ring on the side of my plate, then asked me “So, will you marry me?” We went on a holiday to Corfu not long after where we went on a sunset cruise, so he was forgiven for the casual first proposal!

Did you have hen and stag celebrations?

My hen night was a “Glam Rock” cruise on one of the Mersey ferries. There were 18 in my party, 17 women and I male colleague who dressed as a ‘70s pimp! He wore one of my ‘girls on tour’ badges. Some of my party were in fancy dress, others weren’t. There was a live ‘70s band and a ‘70s disco on board. It was a sold-out cruise and there were 3 hen nights on board. The DJ was brilliant and really made a fuss of the brides-to-be. It was a three and a half hour cruise up and down the Mersey, I was so busying partying I forgot to take in the waterfront historic buildings!

– Did your groom help you with the wedding planning?

By saying “Yeah whatever” a lot! He helped with the final choice of invitations and with choosing the vows and words for the exchanging of rings. He also helped with the music choices. We worked together well on the latter as we both have very different music tastes but we were able to compromise on the whole wedding really so that we reflected both of our personalities; having said that, he was happy to leave most of the planning to me.

Did you use confetti to plan your wedding? If so, how did the website help you?

I used Confetti for favours and little touches- see below.

Do you have a confetti web page?

I have to log in to use your site so I presume so?

Did you buy any confetti products for your wedding? If so, did you visit a store, buy online or by mail order?

Yes I did. I bought quite a few things: favour bags, love hearts, reply slips, a love hearts banner ( which went missing after the wedding day- because we hadn’t specified we wanted to keep it, the young staff just saw it as a banner (not knowing it cost £30) and threw it away! I also bought a love hearts guest book, wedding trivia chocolate and disposable cameras. I bought everything online.

Tell us about your outfit, and where you bought it.

I wore a strapless latte (coffee-coloured) taffeta A-line dress, with mink closed, pointed toe kitten-heel shoes with ankle straps. I wore coffee-coloured eye shadow, mascara and lipstick and a smattering of beige Leichner foundation. I had a tiara especially made by www.mythreewishes.co.uk It was an alice band style tiara with a fuchsia pink flower made from skeleton leaves with five paua shells (see theme) silver pearls, amethyst crystals and silver fern leaves(see theme). The tiara was made in Reading and I bought jewellery from high street jewellers in Southport- the necklace, bracelet, and long earrings were silver pearls with silver fern leaves. When my tiara arrived, it was as though the jewellery and tiara had been bought as a set. The tiara and jewellery are beautiful and so well matched, it is hard to believe one was made down South and the rest bought here in the North! I bought my wedding outfit from Monsoon.

Did you have bridesmaids? If so, who did you choose and what did they wear?

I had a matron of honour cum best woman and another best woman! They are my two closest girlfriends who have been on several ‘journeys’ with me. My matron of honour, (Breege) (who doesn’t do dresses!) wore a cocktail style dress from Principles with spaghetti/shoestring straps. The dress had a coffee-coloured background with a paisley design in pinks, purples, browns and greens. She made her own hair accessory with the help of her local florist. She wore an alice band with a flower accessory. Breege also wore a purple satin wrap from Coast at Debenhams. Her shoes were Pewter toe post kitten heels from Oasis. My other friend, Carol wore her own pretty linen dress with a bold flower print and coral mules.

Who did your groom choose for his best man and ushers, and what did they wear?

My ‘husband’ chose his niece’s partner for best man, Andy – who did a fantastic job! We chose the Ushers together; they were Breege’s two oldest sons (Matthew 19 and Conor 17.) We had asked her youngest son, Liam (9) to be a pageboy and until two days before the wedding he wasn’t keen! A days notice to agree was a bit short notice for us to do anything about that so we compromised and said that he could help his brothers and be a mini usher/ring bearer! We gave Liam the ring bearer job as well as filling up confetti cones, helping his brothers give out order of service cards and confetti cones post ceremony. Andy wore a black hired suit and white shirt from a local store in Stockport; he bought a silver tie. The two older ushers wore trendy black short sleeved shirts from River Island, silver ties from Tie rack and their own black trousers. Liam wore a trendy coffee-coloured shirt from Next, his own tie and his own black trousers.

Did you have a civil or religious ceremony?

Civil; we chose our vows from a Confetti book and I read a very poignant poem mid ceremony which was from the same book.

Where did you hold your ceremony?

Shorrocks Hill Country Club, Formby, Merseyside.

Where did you hold your reception?

As above.

Did you have any special wedding transport?

Yes, I arrived in a new metallic blue high top camper van(see theme.)

How many guests did you invite to your wedding, and did you have a separate evening guest list?

For the daytime ceremony, we had only immediate families and very close friends or those who had been good to either or both of us over the years; people we love and who are important in our lives. Given my family history of the past few years, it was lovely for me to have them there and to draw a line under what had gone on. My 21 year old son, Ben gave me away; he wore his own very smart charcoal suit with grey shirt and charcoal skinny tie – Steve (my husband) said he looked as though he should have a part in Reservoir Dogs! I think his outfit came from Burton’s. We had about 40 guests in the day and yes, we had a separate evening guest list, about another 40 were invited.

Did your reception have a particular theme in terms of colour or style?

Our whole day had New Zealand touches as we are planning to emigrate within the next 6 months, hence me arriving in the camper! The paua shells in my tiara are a very New Zealand thing, they wash up on NZ shores (like an abalone.) In New Zealand you see paua shell jewellery all over the place and other crafts made from paua too, as well as stationary. The silver fern leaf also incorporated into my jewellery and tiara is the NZ emblem. The 2 older ushers were in black and silver as these are the NZ colours. The colour theme for my outfit, Breege’s and my husband’s was coffee and cream. We had four tables for the daytime reception which we named after the four main NZ cities: Wellington, Auckland, Christchurch and Dunedin. Wellington was the top table as Wellington is the capital.

How did you incorporate this in to your table settings?

We used little mini camper vans for table name holders and we used NZ produce and wines.

Did you give your guests favours?

Yes, we gave the men a lottery ticket and wedding trivia chocolate. The ladies had a little heart favour bag (from Confetti) with a packet of love hearts, a Victorian lavender soap from Past Times (for a bit of ‘olde England!’) and a paua shell kiwi.

Describe your flowers (bouquets and table decorations). Who was your florist?

I had a hand-held funky bouquet of pink gerberas (my favourite flower) with deep red NZ flax (phormium) which had been thinned and stripped with aspidistra and bear grass. The bouquet was the type that you cradle rather than hold as you would a posy. I had seven gerberas (I thought I’d ordered 6!) and Breege had three. The best man and groom had cream rose buttonholes, my son, ushers and two sets of parents had pink rose buttonholes; all buttonholes had NZ flax incorporated into them. Although I was pleased with the flowers, I was disappointed in the service that I got from the florist. I had ordered them from a florist local to my mum and not to me; the florist van was having difficulty finding my flat and was cutting things fine resulting in the flowers having to be delivered to the venue! As we were just using four tables during the day, I bought 4 fuchsia pink gerberas which venue staff just lay singularly on each table. The day reception was held in a contemporary restaurant, so everything fitted perfectly.

What did you choose to have on your menu? Did you have an outside caterer or did your venue handle the catering?

The venue handled the catering- extremely well. My chef/function officer’s brief was ‘New Zealand, relaxed, informal and summer.’ He (Chris Kirwan) got it spot on! As mentioned above, we used NZ produce and wines, NZ steak, lamb, fish, fruit, vegetables. We had mini pavlovas for dessert, NZ exotic fruit salad using kiwi fruit as we had done in the salads earlier.

What did you choose for your wedding cake?

We chose a two-tier fruit cake; the two tiers were a pair of suitcases with models of the bride and groom sitting on the top one! The bottom tier was a larger suitcase, the top, a smaller one. There was a luggage label which said ‘Mr. and Mrs. Gregory destination New Zealand.’ A Cake company in Southport called Cake Creations made it.

Did you have any entertainment during the day or evening?

No, we made our own disc of music with the tracks to be played whilst guest were waiting for our arrival and the music that I arrived to, signing the register, and post ceremony. We left to “Crazy little thing called Love”. During the daytime reception we played a mixture of pop, classical and NZ tracks. In the evening we used the venue’s DJ.

Did you have a gift list? If so, who did you have your list with?

Yes, with Trailfinders- an independent travel company.
We asked for Trailfinders Travel Voucher contributions to assist with our emigration plans.

Where did you spend your first night and honeymoon? Who did you book your honeymoon with?

We spent our first night in our flat. We booked our honeymoon accommodation with Trailfinders and booked our flights online. We spent 6 nights in a five-star hotel in Rome “Aldrovandi Palace Hotel” and we received five-star service; the staff really made a fuss as we were newly weds. We could not have chosen a more romantic city for our honeymoon.

What was your most memorable moment of the day?

I don’t have one memorable moment. The whole day was memorable- it was just perfect! Individual memorable moments are my son giving me away (we had been estranged for 4 years) and as he gave me away, Steve whispering 3 words to me “You look gorgeous.” My son in the evening telling me I looked beautiful. Liam, the mini usher, reading the Irish blessing as a surprise (not a dry eye in the house!) My son in the evening telling me that I looked beautiful and that he was “So proud” of me, we then stood on the dance floor and hugged for a good five minutes! And obviously becoming Mrs. Gregory!

Did you experience any ‘nightmare’ moments in the run up to your wedding or on the day?

No, not really, the only hiccough which was on the day was with the florist delivery van getting lost!

Is there anything you would do differently, or any advice you would give to other brides?

Yes, you can have a lovely wedding that doesn’t cost the earth. Ours, with everything, cost just £3,000. It’s about you and your fiancé getting married and having a lovely ceremony and day -it’s not a show! (Jordan take note!) I planned my wedding single-handedly in the space of 6 months and I had the wedding that I wanted and everything just fell into place. I was also calm all the way through. I could have got really stressed over the florist business but chose to focus on how everything else had gone so smoothly.

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