I remember the day I met Neil for the first time at work. He was sat in the ambulance station office, feet up on the desk and his arms folded. Little did I know that in five years time, I would marry him! Over the years, Neil and I became good friends. It was during this time that I began to learn just how incredible he is. Neil had been contemplating moving to Cornwall for a new job. It was following a long walk around Derwent Reservoir, where were chatted about his doubts surrounding the move, that we became aware of the spark between us. Shortly after getting together, Neil mentioned a tarot card reading he had on a recent night out. He was told that a young brunette lady was soon to change his life around! Luckily he didn’t move to Cornwall!
Christmas has always been my favourite time of year. On Christmas Eve, 2008, as the sun set over the beautiful grounds of Chatsworth House, Derbyshire, Neil asked me to spend the rest of my life with him beneath an old oak tree. He said, “I just want to make you so happy forever – will you marry me?” Through tears of exhilaration I said, “Yes!” The ground wasn’t exactly crisp with snow. It was caked in sheep muck; the reason behind Neil’s vertical proposal! It was an incredibly memorable day – now it was time to plan another.
There was never any doubt that we would marry at Norbury Parish Church, Hazel Grove. My parents and grandparents had gotten married there. It was the church where I was baptised by Rev. Rob Green. We were thrilled that Rob would be conducting our wedding ceremony. It would be the first time in his career that he christened, as well as married someone! We discovered Sandhole Oak Barn, which was breathtaking. We didn’t need to look any further. It had a perfect and natural setting, and offered us a lot of scope for different themes and colour schemes. I adored the idea of a country cottage, rustic English rose theme. The expedition commenced to piece together our magical day!
I eventually found ‘the one’ when I slipped into my Maggie Sottero, Audrey Hepburn-style dress at Sense and Sensibility. Lesley is terrific and made the whole process very enjoyable. This exquisitely romantic style featured handmade Valencia Organza rosettes to create a detachable one-shoulder strap. It also accented the asymmetrically-pleated bodice which extended below the waist into bustles. As I left the changing room, I had to take a deep breath as I fought tears showing Mum and Nana who waited eagerly.
I am a home bird and very close to my loved ones, so I wanted to incorporate them as much as possible. We were delighted when Neil’s mum agreed to make our delicious cake! Dad’s classically restored Morris Minor Traveller was always going to be our mode of transport. We were truly touched when my great granddad agreed to chauffeur Dad and I to church. It had taken a few attempts to convince him that it was actually his driving skills we required, not his N reg Peugeot 106!
At long last the day arrived, and began at 6.50am when Mum bounded into the bedroom shouting, “The sun is shining!” She handed me a gorgeous card from Neil that said: “See you at 1 o’clock!” It wasn’t long before the stylists from our local salon arrived, who alongside my Aunty Jan, an experienced beauty therapist and make up artist, began to work their magic on my mum, bridesmaids and me.
Kerry from ZuZu’s Petals, arrived amidst the morning preparations with the stunning selection of bouquets and button holes, she had expertly created. A very close friend had recommended Kerry, who did a tremendous job. I trusted her implicitly to create the vintage look I wanted. My bouquet was a hand-tied medley of vintage spray roses, peonies, sweet-peas with a subtle hint of forget-me-nots, which matched the bridesmaids’ colours. The older girls’ wore one shoulder, royal blue chiffon dresses. The little ones wore ivory with a complementing blue flower detail. Neil’s godson, who was our pageboy, wore navy blue. The sentimental component of my bouquet was the ‘something borrowed’ which was my Nana’s antiqued jewelled brooch which secured the ribbon to complete the look.
Before I knew it, Dad and my great granddad were helping me into the Moggie. Mum and the girls were departing in my uncle’s Range Rover Sport. “Chapel of Love” by The Dixie Cups was playing in the car, I thought, this is it! The moment had arrived, but it hadn’t quite sunk in until we reached the doors to the entrance to the aisle. I heard Pachelbel’s Canon in D stop, and the bridal march began. When my eyes met Neil’s striking gaze, my entire body trembled with emotion and anticipation. There he stood, looking remarkable in his prestige mid-grey tails, hired from Best Man, waiting to become my husband. I felt like the luckiest girl in the world. All the boys looked great in their suits. Grey was definitely a good choice. As for our mums – wow! They looked stunning. My mum wore an outfit from Sense and Sensibility, from the Sarah Danielle’s new mother of the bride range.
The service was exceptionally personal. As a special touch, my brother, Ash, delivered a heartfelt bible reading that meant an awful lot to us both. I kept catching a glimpse of my sparkling wedding band, which was designed to hug my shaped engagement ring by Christopher Evans Jewellery Ltd in Poynton. During the champagne reception, there were drinks and canapés on the terrace looking out onto the lake. The sun beamed down and we were soon tucking into three delectable courses prepared by Top Table Catering; Annette, Dave and the girls were fantastic in every way. We decided to have the tear-jerking and amusing speeches in between the main course and dessert to give guests a little breather. This had paid off. Everybody commented on both the quality and quantity of the food, as well as how beautifully the interior barn was decorated – especially the assorted galvanised rustic table vessels containing the pretty floral arrangements.
Following our moving first dance to Van Morrison’s “Have I Told You Lately”, the live band, All or Nothing soon swung into action in their black-tie dress-code. Our guests spent the evening boogying, mingling and watching the night draw in on the countryside as the lake was illuminated by a huge light on its perimeter. –Most importantly, we were very lucky to have had the pleasure of Lesley and Shaun from Lesley Meredith Photography capture every highlight of our wedding day. On securing their services in advance, we knew we had selected the elite, but we realised just what a fun, genuine couple they are. On the morning of our pre-wedding meeting, we sat and shared Lesley’s birthday cake and chocolate! Words really cannot describe how incredible they made the whole experience from start to end. Not only did they make everyone smile – but there were laughs a-plenty! We look forward to and await the construction of our ultimate album with the professional images that will continue to bring our day back to life. We will cherish these for as long as we live.
We would love to say a HUGE thank you to everyone who helped make our wedding day everything we ever dreamed of. It was perfect in every way. We wouldn’t change it for the world
Suppliers list for It’s such a perfect day
- Photography – Lesley Meredith Photography
- Venue – Sandhole Oak Barn
- The Davenport Arms – 01260 224269