Darryl and I crossed paths back in 2002. Not that either of us can remember it, but we know from the industry we worked in, we met then. I do however first remember meeting him in 2011, and to say I did not like him was an understatement! Over the coming five years, we would occasionally bump into each other with both of us representing our companies at multiple events across the country. I still did not particularly warm to him then either.
In 2016, something had changed, and at a social event, we hit it off. He was the best friend I had always wanted. This is when we stepped onto the roller coaster. Six months later we had relocated to Cheshire and started our life together in an area where we knew no one, and just eight months later he proposed. Darryl picked the stone and had it custom made by our local Jeweller.
I had been in an accident when Darryl proposed (Feb 18), which took a few months to recover from, so the wedding plans took a back step until August when we booked our venue. I had only seen one venue before The Mere Court Hotel, I knew on arrival I did not need to see anymore. The grounds are heavenly, the lake is serene, the conservatory is picturesque, and what I loved the most was the staff are so kind and down to earth, willing to adapt and consider any requests we had, which was not a lot. I just asked if I could give my guests a choice of each course at the wedding breakfast, and be able to work with the chef on options from their different menus to make a bespoke one for the big day.
My biggest request was to allow my two little dogs to attend the service………. Absolutely no problem was their attitude to both my requests, the deal was done there and then.
After booking our wedding for May the following year, I did not do much more organising, in fact, I don’t know where the remainder of the year went. I do remember this though, I woke startled on the 1st of January 2019 with a feeling deep in the pit of my stomach, the feeling when you think you have forgotten something. I remember thinking I’m getting married in five months and I haven’t organised a single thing.
Two weeks later we attended our first wedding fayre. Looking around the stalls, a photo caught my eye, the famous shot of Prince William and Kate walking out of the church on their wedding day. I looked at Darryl, his expression back was ‘This is going to be expensive!!’, (might I add he couldn’t be further from the truth). I ignored this and turned my attention back to the photograph. I always loved this photo, it was natural, graceful and captured a real moment. I started talking to a lady called Caroline (we later found out this was Dave’s wife giving him support at his first wedding fayre).
Within seconds I felt like I had known her for years, our conversation flowed easily, she shared with me photos that Dave had taken, and of course I asked the ‘Did he really take that picture?” (meaning the royals) She explained about Dave’s working history, and it was intriguing.
About five minutes later Dave had joined us after finishing with other enquiries. The four of us just hit it off. We went through our ideas of the day, I didn’t want any posed pictures, and explained that our wedding would be filled with mostly our friends. I wanted to make a day filled with laughter, a day people would enjoy being a part of. I knew Dave would capture everything I was hoping to achieve.
We hadn’t even taken six steps when I saw my florist. Flowers at the Dutch Barn’s display was all my dreams in one, rustic, wild, everything I think about when I think of nature. I would have made my order there, but Caroline (yes, another one) insisted I visited her barn where we could sit over a cup of tea and create the dream I wanted. This was booked for the following week. I couldn’t believe my luck… I had earned myself a glass of wine for this triumphant day! As we left the fayre, I looked back, and our photographer and florist were talking with each other. I knew together they would have a great working relationship, what I did not realise was what great friends we would all become.
Everything quickly fell into place, we only went to one more wedding fayre, whereby we found our magician James Anthony, Crazy 9 (wedding themed crazy golf) Nathan from the Singing Waiters, everything was coming together nicely. In one day, we had organised three bridesmaids’ dresses, that was the style and colour I wanted, Pure brides in Lymm couldn’t believe it!
However, let me be totally honest, leaving everything to the last minute can cost you, and both having busy jobs, we did end up blowing our budget by leaving it to others.
I cannot believe how fast the big day comes around, my bridesmaids and pageboys had stayed in the lodge with me at the Mere Court the night before, so we could all get ready together. They gave me a gift that morning that meant the world to me. It was a pin I could fasten on the inside of my dress, a pin with a picture of my dad on, he was only39 when he died, he was my world, I never thought I could walk up the aisle without him, today my friends made sure I didn’t. My Pa gave me away, a man who took me under his wing the day my dad died. I call him Pa because I struggle to say the word ‘dad’.
The ceremony was meant to be outside, but it had rained the day before, so it was moved Inside. At first, I was disappointed but the venue, and Altrincham’s Perfect Weddings (who dress your wedding venue so beautifully), transformed the room beyond belief. The ceremony was beautiful, and the sun was gleaming in the windows, today was going to be a beautiful day.
We did have a couple of very quick downpours, but it cleared very quickly and the sun resumed. Memories of the laughter in the gardens and the bar area where we had so much entertainment still gives me tingles, it’s all I ever wanted.
Our surprise over the wedding breakfast has got to beat it all. We hired undercover waiters, who were there to basically cause mischief on the day, guests were complaining, people were whispering, we really had them all under our thumbs. It ended where the waiter fell tipping his cutlery over the floor the other waiting shouting at them, our guests horrified… the waiters exit and come back in signing………. What an experience to see our guests realise what had happened over the past 2 hours, we still laugh and laugh about this and will for a very long time.
I had the best day, and I am sure you have read or been told it goes fast…it does, make it what you want. I wanted one big party that would be filled with love, laughter, a bit of shock and great memories.
I got all of that, and I got something I never thought I would, new friends, the best old friends, and my soul mate for life, Darryl and I truly wish you a fantastic wedding, and your journey through life together.
Flowers at the Dutch Barn
Photography by Dave Thompson