Danny and Andy met eight years ago on a day walk withOutdoorLads, an outdoor activity charity for gay, bi and trans men. After striking up a friendship, and attending Manchester Pride together later that year, they decided to go on a date. Five years later Andy proposed to Danny; they married this year. This is their love story...
We both loved each other and our interests were always so aligned mainly a love of the outdoors, great friends and good times. Marriage just felt the natural progression for our relationship. It wasn't about us being gay and needing to prove something it just felt right.
The proposal is a longstanding joke. We both wanted to be asked and we made no secret of it. In fact all of our friends would joke about the delay in proposing as we were both holding out for the other to ask the question. The funniest of stalemates! But, in 2016 on Christmas Day, Andy asked me to marry him whilst we were running a Christmas getaway with the OutdoorLads group. This event was intended for people who didn't have family to go to at Christmas or just fancied a change to the family scene. So we were at Malham Youth Hostel in North Yorkshire.
After the proposal which was an immediate yes from me - we headed out to cook Christmas dinner for everyone which was always the plan, then after dinner, we made the announcement after struggling to find phone signal to call our families to tell them the amazing news. It was truly perfect!
We wanted a winter wedding, that was a definite because we loved the outdoors so much we knew that the best photographs in the countryside (or indeed anywhere really) are on cold crisp winter days, preferably sunny ones of course. Plus having it in winter, we were in a way already expecting the weather to be, well, wintry, and that way, we wouldn't be upset if we had booked a summer wedding and it turned out to be cold and wet, and not sunny!
We had a great affection for the daffodil; it played a central part in our wedding. It featured in the William Wordsworth poem we had as a reading, I Wandered Lonely as a Cloud(which was read in alternate verses by our respective fathers which made for a great coming together of the family moment), and we gave our guests potted daffodil bulbs as wedding favours. Our colours were yellow and blue, and we had some wonderful table centres that were made from old walking boots it looked better than it sounds, we can assure you!
We held the ceremony and reception at Broadoaks Country House in Troutbeck, Cumbria. We knew we wanted somewhere country based to match with our love of the outdoors. We arranged a day touring the lakes around the Windermere area knowing that was the perfect location wanting it to be close to water and with some lovely views. We were not disappointed when we drove up to Broadoaks.
We had pretty much decided before we had left the car, the drive to the house, the weather on the day and the kerb appeal of the building all made it almost impossible to disappoint us.
We had 70 for the ceremony and day time event and then 120 for the evening reception.
Our day was utterly perfect with us expecting a winter day, we expected to be huddled around the open fires in the venue and wrapping up warm for venturing out to have our photos taken. What actually happened was the warmest week of February for many years we were bathed in glorious warm sunshine from Friday afternoon through to Sunday as the wedding was a celebration over a few days.
To say the weather was what we had expected, absolutely not. We had low expectations but wow, the Lake District weather gods must have been loving our celebration plans to have gifted us such beautiful weather.
It allowed our guests to mingle outside for the intervals between ceremony and wedding breakfast which was just incredible. No one was cold or had a jacket on, in fact the sun cream was out at one stage! You couldn't have planned that weather in a month of Sundays!
As a result of the weather, the venue coped incredibly well the fusion of being outside and having the space inside made the day much less contained than it otherwise may have been.
We had a selection of Cumbrian delights such as lamb but also some French items such as frogs legs. But this was the theme of Broadoaks, Cumbrian French fusion and it worked amazingly well. For the evening we had Cumberland sausage hot dogs these were super popular.
Loving cheese, we had to have a full on cheese cake with several concentric rounds of cheese stacked on top of one another which looked fantastic dressed with accompanying fruit but also made a wonderful accompaniment for the evening reception food. Needless to say, there was not a crumb left by the end of the night.
We chose UB40's Cant Help Falling in Love for our first dance. It was meant to be a little more upbeat than the typical wedding song but as both of us cannot dance all that well, it was a little more like "Dad Dancing" which made for a good few laughs from everyone but it made it something else about the day that we would never forget. Ironically, one of our close friends is a ball room dancer, so you would have thought we would have sought his assistance with our wedding song and dance!