Rachel knew that it was never going to be straightforward.

Unconventional, tall, moody and dressed in black – Rachel was hooked. Let’s just say Richard kept Rachel at a certain distance for a few weeks.  But Richard knew what he was doing: maybe that was just his plan! In return he was intrigued by this loud, giggling, slightly quirky but equally tall woman. Whatever that initial spark was, it triggered something. Drew them in. Pulled them together.

They are a supreme example of how people can grow and change.  This happy, joyous day just proves that if you want something badly enough…grab it with both arms, legs…everything.

Preparations at The Crown Plaza left Rachel looking (even more,) gorgeous and elegant (though now that the Big day was here: slightly hungry.) Never before have I seen a bride doing sit-ups before putting on her dress! And that dress: delicate, subtle and stunning. Topped off with bright, happy flowers.

Richard as is his custom, in black. But slim, dapper and emotional. Not an easy thing for the big man. But then seeing your daughter and wife to be dressed in their finery will bring a tear to anyone’s eye. He almost lost it – really he almost did. Maybe Mr Moody is now a thing of the past and for that his friends and family are glad.

That was what the day was about: friends and family. No grand Church service. A simple, warm and loving gathering to take their vows and get on with the party! Rachel almost lost it there too. See you guys – you can do public emotion! Children everywhere: in costumes, in bridesmaids’ dresses, grinning, laughing. They bring such a wonderful dynamic to these occasions. Children who in the end fell asleep on the floor still clutching cake or in the arms of their carers. Not wanting to miss a moment but giving in in the end.

The Red Lyon – a wonder of a pub. Staffed by incomparable people (thank you Simon) – happy to help and equally happy to dance! Low ceilings, hidden snugs, comfy chairs, Parsons Beer (true!) and not forgetting Mr Parsons Bangers (also true!) In keeping with the flow, short humorous speeches by Rachel’s Father and the Groom himself. Nothing embellished. No grandiose tales. Just simple statements of love and thanks.

By now they were in the grove. Relaxed. Happy but oh so very playful! Working the light, working the photographer!

A break. Time to recover. And then party!

100 strong they came. The pub’s corridors, rooms, stairways and well every space possible were filled with happy people. All here to see their friends, now married now Mr and Mrs Parsons or is that Streek-Parsons…?! Fairy lights, candles, sweets on the bar, a wish tree and a wedding cake provided with so much love and attention by Rachel’s Mum – who knew she was such a party queen! Food complimented the drink: a lip smacking hog roast of gargantuan proportions. OMG – the crackling! Tell me you had some?!

Then music – what music! The band Beyond Reason – friends of Richard’s called in to add a bit of muscle to the night. Friends from his days of ROCK! Hush came over the crowd as the Groom took up the mike. Distress came over the Bride’s face – this wasn’t part of the plan…a speech? Far from it.

Rockstar Rich.

Mike and guitar were employed to generate a wall of sound as he serenaded his bride. Her face a picture of delight and the crowd, both young and old went nuts. “More we want more.” He duly acquiesced: twice more.

9 years on from that first meeting the tall man in black delivered. Love for his wife in such a very public way. What more needs to be said?

Some of the guests, exhausted by the energy by the day ebbed away but the hardcore majority stayed for dancing as the incomparable Janek Schaefer and his amazing Lucky Dip Disco raised the very low roof of the dance floor (and it really did need raising!) Club anthems from yesteryear mixed with Sisters of Mercy (seriously!) boomed out. Glow sticks were waved (big box, little box…,) bubbles and balloons. A rave for Hobbits! A moment of pure enjoyment. Smiles on faces. A basket of thongs for weary feet!

It came to an end. Sadly. Quietly. Happily.

And yet, and yet…in keeping with the gentle chaos of the day the Groom turned to the Bride and said:

“So how are we getting home?”

Huge thanks to:

Hair & Make Up:  Antonia Dutton | Flowers: Fleur De Lis  |Evening party decorated by Kelly May