I know you’re waiting to hear about the wedding; about the meringue-i-ness of the dress; the music we danced to; the number of times I cried (it ran to several hundred before midday in case you were wondering!). But I need to finish telling you about the planning and the build up to the most incredible day of our lives!
Wedding planning is a LOT of fun; it is also very stressful and should not be undertaken by anyone of a)a nervous disposition b)limited financial means c)OCD tendencies. I chose to ignore all three of those cautions and started planning like a woman possessed. We booked the venue pretty quickly; we were limited because of the necessity to find a venue that suited our needs and those of a lot of guests, and a proportion of those being wheelchair users. The Four Pillars Hotel in the Cotswold Water Park ticked all the boxes and we went ahead and organised the ceremony and reception for the 15th October 2016. Dress viewings were booked, colours were decided upon, guest lists were drawn up; I was in my element! I had spreadsheets of spreadsheets and colour co-ordinated folders of lists. I think David mentioned something about liking a band; I can’t really remember. He may have mentioned some of his wishes for the big day….I steamed on oblivious to his desires and turned into the archetypal bride-from-hell! You’d think having worked in the industry I would have found this easy. Oh no, not me; I became a diva, obsessed by the teeniest details which no-one else could possibly EVER notice! But I was thoroughly enjoying myself; my women of awesomeness (they were too good to be simply titled as Bridesmaids) were carted around the Cotswolds; manhandling me into dress after dress and drinking endless glasses of bucks fizz as I huffed and puffed over the swooshiness of the fabric, to veil or not to veil, and the importance of being able to breathe and/or move once corseted into the meringue of choice.
I honestly found the dress choosing part quite stressful. I have “body confidence” issues (or whatever it’s being called this week in the press!) and as such, hated everything I tried on. I didn’t have the teary moment when I knew I had found THE ONE. Until that is, I tried on a Maggie Sottero dress at Wedding Days of Cheltenham. Woman of awesomeness, Sophie and I picked out several designs and when I came out of the dressing room in ‘Debra’, we both burst into tears. Hers may have been tears of joy and utter relief that I had finally found a dress I actually liked enough to cry over! Anyway, Debra and I were in love and she demanded I buy her immediately. Naturally this excitement was celebrated with mid morning fizz and a lengthy Sophie-guided conversation about shoes.
I am not (and never have been) a ‘shoe’ person. Other than the fact that they need to be comfortable and all that jazz, I’m not one of those girls who gets misty eyed over shoes. That is until I had Debra in my life. Being a demanding kind of dress (why are dresses given names by the way???) Debra insisted on sparkly shoes of extreme gorgeousness; and that (apologies to my credit card) is when I discovered Jimmy Choo shoes. Oh my goodness, they’re SO beautiful. I love them. I have a deep and lustful affinity to a pair of sparkly shoes. They completely impractical; I mean, they’re too beautiful to wear outdoors, they’re impossibly high and pointy. But oh, they are sooooo lovely. Debra and I deserved Jimmy in our life…we were in a crystal-encrusted threesome with a pair of shoes.
Somewhere during all this excitement and shoe-induced euphoria, David wanted to get me a proper engagement ring. I’d trawled the internet and my collection of wedding magazines for inspiration and kept coming back to the same design. Of course, it wouldn’t be straightforward, I wanted something quite specific! I remembered one of my lovely brides from several years earlier had married a diamond trader; and he was only too happy to help us. One rainy day in January, we drove up to London and met him in a building near Hatton Garden. He produced stones from various pockets and asked me what I thought would complement the design I had in mind. I immediately picked up the biggest, sparkliest diamond.
£35,000! Said the diamond man.
NOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOO! Wailed David (if he was your average normal walking human with any sort of function in his legs, he would have run away).
Eventually we chose the perfect shiny stone. Did you know that Gentoo penguins demonstrate their love for their partners by giving them the perfect pebble from the beach? My penguin found me a perfect, shiny rock and together we created a completely unique design for my engagement ring and wedding band. Oh, and just so you know girls…size really isn’t everything 😉
The rings arrived a few weeks later and I flounced around flashing my shiny penguin rock at every opportunity. I went hunting for bridesmaid dresses with woman of awesomeness, Mary; we tried on pretty much every dark grey and black evening dress in central London and eventually decided a very elegant black dress in Coast was going to suit all three girls perfectly. Everything was starting to come together!
The next epic decision was the invitations and reception stationery. Easy! I’m a stationery designer – this was going to be an absolute doddle! Errr – nope! It was a painful few days as I tried to come up with the perfect design. We had decided on a black tie wedding and I wanted the stationery and décor to be glamorous, chic and elegant. I used pearlescent black pockets, glitter card, metallic printed bands and topped it all off with far too many Swarovski crystals. Off they went into the post and we eagerly awaited the replies!
I can’t remember when, but we decided to start writing a blog about the process of planning a wedding. Seems we have quite a lot to say! Seems you lot are quite interested in our ramblings about wheelchairs, weddings and whatever! The first couple of blogs were really well received by our friends and I started a gargantuan assault on social media, trying to get more traffic and engage with more readers. I wanted to share our story. I wanted people to understand that you can find love in the strangest places; you can find love whoever you are; you can find love even when it seems impossible and dark. And if you can find the belief in yourself, no matter what challenges you face, you can end up with a shiny penguin rock on your finger, planning the wedding that you have dreamed of and worrying about the future happiness of Debra and Jimmy whilst writing a blog about it all!
And because of this blog, we had an extra bit of excitement in our wedding planning. One day back in May I received a call from a lovely young lady called Charlotte. She had stumbled across our blog on Twitter and was in the process of finding couples to feature in an ITV documentary about ‘Miracle Weddings’. She wanted to interview us and travelled down from London the next day. We liked her immediately and spend several hours pestering her with questions whilst she filmed us with the purpose of ‘selling’ us to the powers that be at ITV.
A few days later we heard back; ITV had decided that they would like to include us in their show and we began scheduling DAYS and DAYS of filming into our already packed schedules. I’ll tell you more about all that next time! But the exciting news is that you won’t have to wait long to see it….