I’ll never forget the day Ian proposed to me. We had just arrived on holiday last year in Portugal. We were shown around the apartment by a lovely lady called Jane. As we walked into the dining room I didn’t even notice the huge spray of red roses on the table which Ian had organised for our arrival. Next to it sat a bottle of champagne on ice. Jane said ‘And these are for you from your lovely man’. ‘Oooooh’ I said, ‘they’re gorgeous now get that bottle open now’!
Ian came out of the kitchen with not two, but four champagne glasses. “I thought the kids could join us in a glass,” he said. They’re only 10 and 11 years old I thought, but went with it because it was only a little drop. Ian handed them both a glass and then he handed mine to me. “Here’s a special glass for mummy”. I took the glass and was just about to drink it when I noticed something sparkly at the bottom; it was only a diamond ring! “Will you marry me?” he said. “Only if you get down on one knee,” I replied! Of course he did, and I said yes!
Two years earlier my beautiful mum was diagnosed with ovarian cancer and she was going through chemotherapy. Whilst both sets of parents were still around we decided that I didn’t want a long engagement so not long after we got back we set the date for 11th March 2017. I knew it wasn’t long to plan a wedding but with both of us being in the hospitality/wedding industry we had lots of contacts and lots of offers to help.
We decided that we would get married at Vale Royal Abbey where both Ian and I work. Initially we were against having our wedding at our place of work and we looked around at several other venues. Although there were some beautiful venues around the Cheshire area, we kept comparing them to the Abbey and its beautiful surroundings; it’s an amazing wedding venue in a fabulous setting so it seemed the natural choice.
I wanted my mum to choose my dress with me because it was such a special occasion and I valued her opinion more than anything. The dress we chose was the third one I tried on and we both loved it. Besides mum was getting really tired as she’d just had chemo and I didn’t want to drag her all over the place and end up spoilt for choice.
I took the week off work before the wedding for all the last minute preparations but instead of relaxing and doing all my last minute bits I ended up going backwards and forwards to the hospital as my mum was taken very poorly and had to be admitted. The doctors were saying that mum may not be able to leave the hospital and attend the wedding. I was devastated. I remember having a spray tan and bursting into tears on some unsuspecting 20 year old whilst standing there stark naked! I was a mess. Two days before the wedding though mum was allowed out but she was very weak and had lost a lot of weight. We were all really happy though that she was allowed out and the preparations carried on.
I had four beautiful bridesmaids including my two daughters. My best friend Debbie took care of everything for me on the day – she was amazing and I didn’t have to think of anything. Debbie also made all my wedding stationery including invites, place settings and table plan.
When my mum and dad arrived it was very emotional and a lot of tears were shed. We all had our hair and makeup done by the lovely Jenn Newman (Love That Look) and she did a fantastic job. I had chosen a Rolls Royce Silver Cloud to collect us and I arrived with both my mum and dad by my side.
The day was absolutely amazing from start to finish. All of our children, family and friends in one place but most of all both of our parents and that meant everything to both of us. I left the dressing of the room to Caroline from Fresh Floral Design in Hartford and Adele Atkinson Venue Dresser because I trusted them completely and they knew exactly what I wanted. When I entered the Great Hall it was picture perfect. It was full of wild flowers and pastel colours – there was nothing I would have changed and the amount of compliments I received afterwards reflected how much effort and love had been put into making it special. The Great Hall looked absolutely spectacular and so bright and airy which was another reason why we decided on the Abbey in the end.
The service was full of tears and laughter. Our photographer Jess caught so many ‘perfect moments’ for us even when she was being dragged around like a rag doll on a golf buggy for photographs at the lake! The Abbey is a photographers dream with its beautiful romantic backdrop and we were delighted with the photographs – especially the ones taken by the lake.
Mum lasted until after the wedding breakfast when my dad had to take her home – she was exhausted.
We honeymooned in New York which was brilliant; there was snow which made it extra special! I rang my mum every day whilst we were away and she was always cheerful and positive. As much as I loved our time away I couldn’t wait to get back to see her. She had been taken into hospital again. We landed back on the Monday afternoon and as jet lag took over I crashed out. The following day my dad took me to the hospital so see mum. It was then that I found out that two days before I was due to get married they were told that there was nothing more the doctors could do and she didn’t have long left.
They had known for almost two weeks but kept it from me. She had put on such a brave face at my wedding and I will be forever grateful to both her and my dad.
As I walked in to see her she had this beautiful smile on her face and I gave her the biggest hug – she was so frail. Mum managed to fight for almost another three months but on the 3rd June she was just too weak and her body finally gave up. The most important thing to me was to have her at my wedding and she was. This made my wedding day special beyond belief.
From proposal to exchanging our vows we had seven months to plan our wedding but we did it. The food and service were amazing as always; and Fred Jones, Vale Royal Abbey’s Toastmaster made sure everything ran smoothly.
Our wedding day was perfect in every way – I married the love of my life (even though he spends most of his time in the dog house) and I will be forever grateful that my beautiful, brave and selfless mum was there to share it with me.