Love at first sight


“What a perfect end to a wonderful wedding, which we had waited so long for”.

 Colin and I met when I was in my late teens and he was in his early twenties.  We originally met as part of larger groups of boys and girls out on the town at the weekends, but it was not long before we found out there was a mutual attraction.

   I was a nursery nurse at the time. Colin was recuperating after complicated knee surgery.  As Colin could not dance very much, we talked a lot and got to know each other quite well.  We soon realised that there was far more to our relationship than just friendship, even though our personalities are quite different.  As time progressed, I began to think that a proposal and a ring might be nice.  However, Colin is not the type of person to be rushed.  Everything comes to him – or her who waits.  On Christmas Day 2006, we became engaged, much to the relief and joy of both families.

   We set up home together and started planning the big day.  I wanted a traditional church wedding so that our family and friends could share the moment we became one.  In the following years, our working lives had altered.  I was working in a shop in Warrington that supplied formal wear for weddings and special occasions.  Colin had forged a new career as a team manager in a giant food warehouse in nearby St. Helens.  However, our plans came to a halt when we found out that we were expecting our first child.  Our beautiful daughter, Molly, was born 26th January 2009.  We decided to arrange our wedding at St. Benedict’s R.C. Church, Warrington.  We approached the lay minister, David Boyle, to see if he could officiate.  He said yes and the date was fixed for 16th July 2010.

   Planning went into overdrive.  We booked the reception at the Paddington House Hotel in The invitations were ordered and sent out.  We wanted close family members and friends at the church service to keep a feeling of intimacy.  Other members of family and friends would join us for the evening reception.  To our great delight, all the church invitations were accepted, so we knew that the people dearest to us would be there.

   The dress of my dreams was a mix of floaty material, sparkles and a large Cinderella-like skirt.  The bridesmaids chose their dresses and the suits were ordered from Groom Hire.  The flowers and cake were ordered, we were ready.

   I spent the eve of my wedding with my mother.  The next day, I got ready with my bridesmaids, Molly and my mother.  We had make- up to apply and fancy hairstyles to tease.  I had needed help with fastening the back of my dress, which was intricately laced.  As the preparations were taking place, Steve from Premier Photographics, was snapping my progress from chaos to as near to perfection as we could all manage.  Meanwhile, Colin was at his parents’ house with his three best men. They had spent the eve of the wedding having some friendly drinks before the big day. 

   Finally, the time had come.  The guests were waiting at the church along with Colin and his best men.    My car arrived to pick my mother and me up.  I was transported to church in the beautiful grey Bentley from Bentleys 1 Car Hire, to my surprise and delight, I found that my employer, Neil Shaw, was the driver. 

   The church was decorated in lovely yellow flowers, the music played quietly as I walked to the altar on the arm of my mother, to stand by the side of the man I loved.  As service progressed, I lost count of the number of times Minister David said Colin and Jenny.  It sounded so right.  My mother-in-law read a passage from the Bible followed by a psalm.  Colin’s eldest nephew and niece, Conor and Chloe, both read bidding prayers.  At last, my mother gave my hand to Colin.  After years of waiting and planning, we made our vows to one another and exchanged rings.  Colin’s ring had special sentimental value as it had been his paternal grandfather’s wedding ring.  We kissed at the altar to the loud clapping from the congregation.  Tears were shed, and smiles were exchanged between family and friends.  We signed the register in the beautiful Lady Chapel.  Everyone was invited to gather around to witness the event.  It had been both intimate and inclusive.  Afterwards, we walked out of the church into the sunshine.  Steve took photos of everyone individually, in family groups, groups of friends and every other conceivable combination.  It was then off to the Paddington House Hotel, where more photographs in the lovely garden were taken.  We had a short break before going into the reception to catch up with family and friends.

                                                    The speeches were made after we had enjoyed our meal.  There were tearful speeches from my mum, my sister and me.  The surprise of the day came when the best man, Peter, made his speech.  He had been nervous all day, but when he stood up, it became obvious how nervous he was.  He started and stopped, and then he tried again.  Finally, Peter threw away his speech and toasted us whilst telling us how much he loved us both, amidst tears and nervous giggles that he could not control.  He got a cheer for his valiant effort.  Colin closed the speeches by thanking everyone who had been part of our day and presented both mums with bouquets as a thank you for putting up with everything over the last few months.   We were joined by more family and friends for the evening. There was lots of chatting, laughing and reminiscing.  Colin and I had our first dance as a married couple.  Shortly afterwards, I threw my bouquet to the unmarried female guests. Peter had not understood the “female” bit and was in the front row of the crowd, he was quickly evicted by the girls!

   The cutting of the cake was one of the highlights of the night. It was far more beautiful than I could have imagined or wished for.  The cake was four tiers of ivory icing, lemon roses and handmade sugar butterflies.  It had discreet and dazzling jewelled bands around each tier. 

   Our perfect day came to an end.  The next morning at breakfast, we were greeted by family and friends who had stayed overnight at the hotel.  It wasn’t long before Molly appeared with “Auntie Manda”,  ready for a new day.  It was the first full day when we could call ourselves Mr and Mrs McGowan.

   What a perfect end to wonderful wedding which we had waited so long for.

Suppliers list for Love at first sight

  • Cars – Bentley 1 – 0844 9800096
  • Dress – Cloud 9 – 01925 651101
  • Menswear – Groom – 01925 658889
  • Venue – Paddington House hotel – 01925 816767
  • Photography – Premier Photography – 07742 097188

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