John and I first met in 2009 on a night out in Macclesfield and we knew straightaway there was a spark between us. He eventually plucked up the courage to ask me on a first date and we haven’t looked back since.
We moved in together after only a small number of weeks and the past couple of years have been full of love, happiness and unforgettable times. We booked our first holiday together in Australia for October 2010. We had organised to stay with my Auntie and Uncle in Sydney for three weeks with a week spent up at the Great Barrier Reef for my 25th birthday. It was here when John proposed to me hovering in a helicopter above The Reef, whilst my Auntie and Uncle caught it all on film. It was a magical moment for all four of us, and the pilot, as it had been plotted and planned for many weeks.
After returning from Australia the planning of our wedding began, with ideas of colour, dress and date – summer 2011. However, this was put on hold by the exciting news of the arrival of our baby in October 2011. The best day of lives finally arrived and Poppy was born well and healthy. We then realised that it would be a long time till we would be able to get married as our savings were spent on Poppy and it was going to be difficult to save up whilst I was off work to look after her. It was then one rainy afternoon in March I decided to flick through some wedding magazines we had picked up at numerous wedding fayres and thought I’d apply for a few competitions. I didn’t bother telling John I entered because I didn’t think anything was going to come from it. I then received a phone call from Chloe, Conference and Events Sales Manager at The Holiday Inn, Manchester Airport with regards to the ‘Win a Wedding’ competition telling me we had reached the final ten contestants! I phoned John straightaway and he couldn’t believe it! It was the best news since having Poppy. We got down to the task of writing our 250 word reason as to why we think we should win our wedding and hoped for the best when we sent it to the hotel. We luckily reached the final five couples and were invited to attend an Open Evening held at the hotel to participate in a ‘Mr and Mrs’ competition.
We had four days to practice how well we actually knew each other. I drew up a list of questions, about three pages long, and we tested each other until we arrived in the car park on the Open Evening and knew we couldn’t possibly do anymore. The whole competition was a bit of a blur but when we reached the end we were thrilled to be told that all our hard work had not been in vain and we had won our wedding and it will be taking place at The Holiday Inn on the 2nd June 2012 – just five weeks away!
It was a huge task to plan our dream wedding in just as little as five weeks, but the Event Coordinators Geoff and Ellie, were fantastic and reassured us that everything will be in place and it can be done. The most important thing for me was obviously finding my perfect dress and having heard stories about brides having to wait weeks, even months, for their dream dress, this panicked me. So with my mum and sister in tow we went on the hunt and finally found my dress at Maria Modes in Macclesfield. It was a Maggie Soterro dress. Mary was so helpful and assured me that my dress would be ready in time and her seamstress, Debbie Moore, would make all the alterations needed to ensure my dress was perfect.
We asked Julie at ‘Lozziwoo’ in Poynton to make our invitations. She advised there is normally a six week turnaround time for wedding stationery but she pulled out all the stops and produced them for us in three days. She said she would work all through the night if needed to complete them as she understood the tight timescale. She produced a lovely collection of invitations that set off our colour theme wonderfully and they were a big hit with everyone who received one. Each invite was handmade giving it a personalised touch.
Now we knew our colour scheme and the invites had been sent it was time to organise the flowers. Ian Lloyd of the flower shop in Wilmslow had kindly donated over £600 worth of flowers. All we had to do was tell Ian our colour scheme and he helped us select the right flowers for the bouquets, corsages, buttonholes, table decorations and pedestals. We were blown away by Ian’s generosity and help, and the flowers when they arrived on the day.
Julie at The Eccles Cakery was our next port of call. She kindly donated £200 for our dream cake and we selected a three tier sponge cake (as John doesn’t like fruit cake). Our colour theme was Cadbury purple tied in with butterflies and Julie did a fantastic job in encompassing this theme within the cake. The Sugar Pantry of Macclesfield (my twin sister, Jennie) also produced delightful matching cupcake favours for each of our guests.
The photographer came part of the winning package also, and Mark Burns photography did an amazing job in capturing our special day on film. Mark had a style that allowed us to feel relaxed and at ease in front of the camera as this was one of the few times in our lives that we were the main focus of people’s attention. Even our baby daughter, Poppy, felt so relaxed with him she smiled at every picture.
The guys at I-Catching events were also unbelievably helpful and created a beautiful décor for both the wedding breakfast and the evening reception. The Star cloth was an exquisite back drop for the top table and looked amazing in the evening when glistening in the disco lights.
Luckily for me hair and make-up were part of the winning prize. Hair by Roe 11 and make-up by NV Beauty. I booked my hair and make-up trial in as soon as possible. Leanne, Rachel and the team at Roe 11 were brilliant in helping me achieve the hairstyle I wanted for me and my bridesmaids. Nicola at NV Beauty did a splendid job in giving me and my bridesmaids the natural look I wanted. I never felt so glam. Generous donations from Horgans Limousines, Wedding Postboxes.co.uk and Jamm entertainment were also greatly appreciated and looked fantastic on the day.
We met up with Ellie and Geoff, the Event Coordinators at the hotel, on numerous occasions on the run up to the wedding. They were fantastic in explaining the plan of the day and were very accommodating with our ideas and what we wanted. After all this organising and planning and what seemed like a blink of eye the five weeks were over and it was 2nd June 2012 – our wedding. I stayed at the hotel the night before with my mum and sisters, and most of John’s family who had travelled from Liverpool. When dawn broke my sisters and I went to get our hair done and when we arrived back at the hotel, make-up was ready and waiting for me in my room. The morning went by so quickly and as the time got nearer to put my dress on I got more and more nervous. We were getting married at 12pm and at 12:05pm I was finally ready. As I walked down the corridor I could hear the music playing in the ceremony room and it was so hard to keep the tears away – I couldn’t believe I was getting married! The ceremony was brilliant and ran like a dream. It was very emotional with lots of tears – happy ones of course! John’s sisters, Lyndsay and Kayleigh, gave us some lovely readings which gave it that personal touch.
We sat down to an amazing three course meal created by the Head Chef Keith who has worked at the hotel for over 25 years! You could not fault the food or service – they were excellent! The speeches were emotional and funny. My younger sister, Hannah, spoke first and had everyone crying. Her speech was so touching. She said some very moving things which I didn’t expect. John also did a speech and his best man, James, did a brilliant job in showing John up (as you’d expect), but also in expressing how much he knows John loves me and Poppy and what we have is real.
After a whirlwind day our friends and family started to arrive for what happened to be a fabulous night of fun, laughter and lots of dancing! Once again the staff at The Holiday Inn did a brilliant job at turning the room around and making sure our guests were happy and having a good time. The evening buffet was a big hit with everyone – we couldn’t have asked for more!
We cannot begin to thank everyone enough who made our day special and a memorable occasion. Our biggest and greatest thank you though is to of course, Geoff and Ellie at The Holiday Inn for providing us with this most amazing day we will never forget. We couldn’t have done it without them and we feel extremely privileged to have won this prize! We still cannot believe it happened to us – it’s what dreams are made of. Now we have all the time in the world to be a little family, husband and wife, and enjoy the rest of our lives together.
Menswear – Bestman Ltd (0161 480 8856)
Venue – Holiday Inn Manchester Airport (01625 889933)
Cake – The Eccles Cakery (0161 707 0216)
Dress – Maria Modes (01625 502502)
Cars – Horgans Limousine’s (0161 491 5087)