Ashley and I got married on 2nd June 1996 at Rhinefield House Hotel in the New Forest. We visited lots of places looking for a venue, and as soon as we arrived at Rhinefield, it seemed perfect, it was just question of whether we Mum & Dad could afford it!
We didn’t want two separate venues for ceremony and reception, and as this was in the days before you could get married anywhere other than a Church or a Registry Office, I had to be a little bit creative.
I found a vicar in Exchange & Mart (don’t laugh – it’s true) who was happy to conduct a marriage ceremony anywhere you liked, the only problem being that although the words were all the same, and to all intents and purposes the ceremony was identical to a Church wedding, it wasn’t actually a legal marriage.
So, we went and did the legal thing the week before our ‘proper’ wedding. I think it was a Thursday: I worked all morning, left work and went straight to the registry office, met Ashley (who was wearing jeans) and two friends we’d roped in as witnesses. We were in, married, and out in about five minutes flat! Then we went and had fish and chips and a bottle of vintage Moet on Babbacombe Downs in Torquay.
Our ‘real’ wedding as I like to think of it (we celebrate our anniversary on that date, not the registry office date – in fact I couldn’t even tell you the date of the registry office thing unless I looked on the marriage certificate) was a fabulous day.
It was very traditional, with 100 guests for a sit down meal, white Rolls Royces, and a three tier cake with decorations to match the two bridesmaids’ dresses (gold).
We had lovely speeches from my Uncle (sadly no longer with us), my Dad, our best man, Nick, and the groom, of course, after which Ashley & I left in somewhat spectacular fashion, in a helicopter.
We didn’t have an evening do (I cannot ABIDE wedding discos – eugh!), but close friends and family stayed in another New Forest hotel and we all spent the evening together, which was great – low key and really nice).
Another reason our wedding day is special is that my brother met his future wife Amanda at my wedding, and they are happily married with two children now.
Your wedding day passes by in a blur in some ways, and it is lovely to be able to look back at it on the video (I’ve upgraded it to DVD now!) and watch it all again, as you miss out on so much during the day itself, what with posing for photos, and trying to find the opportunity to chat to all your guests.
Ah, there’s nothing like a bit of reminiscence, is there …?