For Ant and Marc there was always an understanding (perhaps not explicitly stated) that they wouldn't formalise their commitment to each other until same-sex marriage was legalised. They met online 12? years ago and after six months of exchanging texts (sometimes 20 or 30 a day) they met in Cambridge, close to where Marc lived, and went on their first date. A year later, Marc moved to Ipswich (where they still live now), got a new job and the rest is history. This is their love story...
I'm not sure why we got married when we did I guess it just felt right and we followed a family tradition on Marc's side (with his cousins) of waiting 10 years.
It's easy to forget how far things have moved forward and - these days people don't really blink when you say Husband I'm not sure how true that would've been even 5 years ago.
Marc: I had originally planned to propose when we went to New York in May, however, as we were travelling with our friend, there was never an appropriate time. When we returned to the UK I couldn't think of anywhere else I could propose as exciting or memorable (or surprising) as a return trip to New York. I'd already got all of Anthony's passport details from the last holiday so was easily able to get things booked without his knowledge. I decided we'd need something special to do on the day of the proposal, so booked a table at the Summer Garden Cafe at the Rockefeller Center and got tickets to see his favourite musical.
Ant: I knew we were going somewhere, on account of being told to take time off work, but I had no idea where or why. It wasn't until we were at the check-in desk that I knew we were flying out to New York. Even then I didn't really know why as Marc's reasoning, because of fabulous, seemed genuine and plausible. The day in question started with a walk around Times Square, followed by lunch at the Rockefeller center and some window shopping, the MoMA and Book of Mormon on Broadway. When we got back to the hotel room Marc got down on one knee and popped the question.
We were looking at venues where we could host guests for a weekend rather than a package deal at a hotel. We looked at a lot of places online, but Voewood was the only one we went to see and fell in love with it on sight. It is an incredible place with lots of character and an interesting history.
We had about 25 for the Friday night (our anniversary) and Saturday morning (hungover breakfast), then 60 for the Saturday wedding day and Sunday morning (even more hungover breakfast).
I think we let the house speak for itself and did the absolute minimum in terms of styling to be honest. We both have a love of the ingenuity and creativity of Lego, and I had an idea that we could use the minifigures as placecards, so we started stockpiling them, and then we thought about extending that to the tables we thought Lego would help people break the ice. So I bought loads of the stuff and Marc judiciously sorted it into colours so we could use it to identify the tables.
Our very good friend, Penny, did our flowers and I had run past her this idea of, instead of flowers on the tables (which often get in the way and prevent people talking to each other and also would've got in the way of the Lego) getting some large balloons with vine run up the string. She ran with the idea and worked with the lady who provided the balloons to make it work and I think it looked amazing.
Penny also had the idea of adding the hops to the fireplace and created arrangements for the entrance and to dot around the house. It made the venue feel much homelier.
I can't remember if either of these ideas came from photos I saw, but I wasn't obsessing over other people's weddings I was happy that the house would do most of the work.
We served champagne as people arrived and enjoyed the pianist (which ran for about an hour) then we had the ceremony, followed by more champagne, canapes and piano.
The ceremony was very relaxed. We didn't have any wedding readings; instead our best friend, Morven, wrote our ceremony which was very personal to us.
Following the ceremony we had dinner: a starter of oven roasted tomato soup or Cromer crab tian. This was followed by a beef fillet and wild mushroom wellington or a chargrilled spring vegetable and camembert wellington. For desert we chose to serve the wedding cake.
The wedding cakes were designed and made by my (Anthony's) Aunt Debbie. She is coeliac, so all the food (including the puff pastry for the wellingtons) was gluten free (no one noticed).
The venue was beautiful and the support we received from the staff exceptional. The whole weekend ran incredibly smoothly, mostly due to the efforts of Samantha from Florentine catering.
What advice would we give other couples? If you're doing it yourself, there's so much more to think about than you might first realise, and a good catering company will be able to help you get everything right. Use their experience.