FOREVER AND ALWAYS…
From the first time we met we could sense that this was something special. This was no ordinary relationship because we both had a feeling that this was going to be, forever and always.
We had booked a weekend away to Paris in January 2011 to celebrate Stephen’s birthday, but unbeknown to me, Stephen had already bought a ring and visited my parents’ house on New Year’s Eve to ask my Father for my hand in marriage.
We arrived in Paris on Thursday afternoon and on Friday evening on the Pont des Arts Bridge, with the Eiffel Tower lit up in the background, Stephen asked me to marry him. After a lot of emotions, a few tears and to Stephen what seemed like an eternity, of course I said yes!
Stephen had apparently tried on a couple of occasions during the day to ask the big question, but with so much to see in Paris and without knowing that he had a ring in his pocket, I hadn’t stood still long enough to give him the opportunity.
It was an amazing evening and a memory that will stay with me forever. We couldn’t wait to text and call everyone straight away that night, before celebrating in style with lots of cocktails in our hotel! I was so happy at the thought of spending the rest of my life with Stephen.
On our return we set about arranging our day as we couldn’t wait to get married and before we could blink, a list of every hotel within an hours’ drive from home was being put together.
We wanted somewhere that would enable us to have our wedding ceremony, daytime and evening function all under one roof and have the ability for our guests to stay the night if they wished.
On the way home from a weekend away we decided to drive to Peckforton Castle to have a look around. After being shown round by the owner and shedding a few tears in the Hexagonal Room and Wine Cellar, Stephen could tell straight away that I had fallen in love with the Castle and that this was where I wanted us to get married.
We had a meeting with the wedding co-ordinator and set the date for October 28th 2011 which gave us nine months to arrange everything.
Our first decision was to book a photographer, as the wedding lasts a day but the memories need to last a lifetime and we were extremely pleased to choose Adrian Leggett of Creative Weddings. After our visit to Adrian’s studio near Buxton, we decided on the Gold photography and videography package. Stephen and I were extremely impressed with Adrian’s happy and friendly personality, his great portfolio of photographs and his desire to learn the names of family and friends, which also impressed our parents and family on the day.
One of the other most important decisions was, of course, my wedding dress! I visited a few boutiques in the local area and ended up choosing the very first dress I tried on. It was a stunning creation by Mori Lee and as well as the design of the dress being perfect for me, I have to say the girls at J’adore Bridal Boutique in Timperley made my decision to buy the dress from them an easy one.
The bridesmaids dresses proved to be a little more tricky as I had two adult bridesmaids, one of whom would be eight months pregnant on the day of the wedding, an 11 year old bridesmaid and two flower girls. Some of the girls lived as far away as Devon and Dorset so it made choosing the perfect dress even more difficult. We decided in the end to get the dresses from Pearl Bridal Boutique in Sale. Each bridesmaid chose their own style of dress, including a maternity dress for Karen, but all the dresses were cut from the same material in the same colour so they had a similar look about them. All the girls looked beautiful in their dresses and it made it even better that each had a dress that suited their own style and shape.
The decision about our florist was an easy one. My work colleague’s lovely wife Luisa Pecchio has her own floristry business specialising in wedding flowers. I spent some time at her house discussing various options and decided in the end on a gorgeous combination of Cool Water roses and Lisianthus for my bouquet and the table centrepieces.
Entertainment was by Hipswing who provided the evening disco and we also decided on a live acoustic guitar and vocal duo called Anything Acoustic to play during the ceremony, drinks reception and in the early evening. Antonia and Karl certainly moved our family and friends to near tears with their emotional ceremony music and kept everyone in a fantastic mood throughout the afternoon.
My mum found The Cakery in Bunbury, which is a little village close to the Castle and after visiting Jennie and tasting some of her cakes, we chose a gorgeous 4-tier design with hand-crafted sugar flowers and different flavours on each level. On the day it surpassed our expectations and tasted absolutely delicious.
We arrived at the hotel the night before and the weather was rather grey, windy and wet, but this didn’t dampen our spirits as we were so excited about becoming Mr & Mrs Slade. A large number of our family and friends had also started to arrive from the four corners of the country and beyond and we soon settled down in the Brasserie for some food and a relaxing number of drinks which made everyone extremely merry and excited for the following day. It was lovely to see both our families getting to know each other and getting on so well.
I managed to get off to bed at a sensible time and lay in my bed gazing at my wedding dress hung up in the room, with thoughts of the following day filling my dreams.
The following day soon arrived and everyone woke to a gorgeous bright blue sky with hardly a cloud to be seen, which made everything that little bit more special for a fairytale castle wedding.
After having breakfast with my bridesmaid, Karen, we had our makeup done by Vanessa in Tranquility. All the girls had their hair done in my room and I could sense the growing buzz within the room, helped along with a glass or two of champagne! I don’t know who was more excited at this point – myself or Lorna who was one of my younger bridesmaids and Stephen’s niece.
Adrian and Linda arrived to start taking photographs and made everyone feel at ease. He got a few cheeky shots of me in my curlers and got some great shots of the flower girls and bridesmaids. Luisa arrived with the flowers and I couldn’t believe how gorgeous the bouquets looked.
When I was dressed and collecting my thoughts for the ceremony, my bridesmaid, Karen, gave me a little gift wrapped box from my soon-to-be husband – it was a Pandora bracelet with a charm related to our trip to Paris and a heart shaped charm to symbolise our wedding. It was absolutely gorgeous and sent me into floods of tears.
Then my Dad arrived all dressed up in his morning suit and as we both stood and looked at each other more tears of happiness flowed.
It was then time to go downstairs and we made our way to the Hexagonal Room. I had a little time to compose myself and I could hear Anything Acoustic playing Songbird by Eva Cassidy, signalling that it was time to walk down the aisle to become Mrs Slade!
The ceremony was perfect with some lovely readings from Rachel, Lorna and Danielle and after all the planning we were happily married and neither of us could take the smiles off our faces all day.
Afterwards, it was outside for photographs and not only was the sky a fantastic shade of blue, but it was also warm. Adrian started snapping away and produced an amazing set of photographs and a video we will cherish forever.
We had a brilliant Toastmaster and Master of Ceremonies called Ken Hollett, who made us feel completely at ease throughout the day and who was always there to help us with whatever we needed.
As the day passed, we enjoyed a stunning meal prepared by the castle, great speeches and then everyone danced the night away in the beautifully lit marquee.
After the emotions of not just the wedding, but the entire nine months preparation, we couldn’t wait to enjoy our honeymoon. We had booked 4 days in New York followed by 10 days at a gorgeous resort in Antigua.
Thank you to everyone who was involved in making our wedding exceptionally special and we are thoroughly looking forward to spending the rest of our lives together and can’t wait for our next big memorable moment – the birth of our daughter in August.
The Real life wedding suppliers list
Photography – Creative weddings www.creativeweddingsltd.co.uk
Videography – Creative Weddings www.creativeweddingsltd.co.uk
Flowers – Luisa Pecchio Flowers 07503 168 332
Venue – Peckforton Castle 01829 260 930
Cake – The Cakery 01829 260 279
Wedding Dress – J’adore Bridal Boutique 0161 980 0882
Bridesmaids Dresses – Pearl Bridal Boutique 0161 962 9419
Entertainment – Hipswing 01270 759 339
Toastmaster – Ken Hollett 01625 611 768
Chair covers – Events HQ 07892 710 565