Where: Easthampsted Park, Berkshire
Wedding Photographer: Benjamin Stuart Photography
Vince and George met in a pub almost three decades ago; twenty years later they became civil partners and now they have converted their civil partnership to marriage.
30 years in the making,Vince & George's Same-Sex Marriage
We met nearly 29 years ago in the Rose & Olive Branch pub in Virginia Water. George didn't have a clue I liked him, and I had to all but strip on the bar for him to finally get the message I was interested!
Our time together has been very happy, punctuated with the issues all couples face, but we have come through it all as one. We had our Civil Partnership nearly nine years ago, but when the same-sex marriage law came into effect we converted our civil partnership to marriage, and it was one of the happiest days of our lives! This is our story.
After over 28 years of being a couple, we've certainly grown older together and I knew getting down on one knee would be troublesome, but not half as difficult as getting back up again!
Our wedding was always going to be based around a pink wedding theme and it certainly was! We wanted a reasonably traditional wedding but with our own personalities woven into what we did. Our venue Easthampstead Park Conference Centre in Berkshire is an amazing place; we celebrated our Civil Partnership and 25th anniversary there, so it felt right to go back there for our wedding.
We invited 50 guests to our main wedding ceremony and wedding breakfast, and a further 50 to our evening reception. It was a mix of family, friends and close work colleagues and a really fun bunch of people. We also part-paid for all the men to be in tails they looked spectacular (although was a nightmare to organise!)
We were both surprisingly calm during the build-up to our wedding having gone through the Civil Partnership before, we knew what to expect and had sorted everything in advance. The only thing we did differently really, was to hire a Toastmaster. We felt this was key this time. We told him exactly what we wanted and left him liaise with the venue to make it run like clockwork this made for a very relaxing time.
Our wedding ceremony and reception were both held at the same venue we felt that it would make the day so much easier when our wedding party to not have to scurry around the countryside after our ceremony to find our reception venue!
The food was amazing a full-blown three course wedding breakfast with choices for each courses so that our guests had a say in what they ate instead of being presented with a meal that they might not necessarily like.
Our wedding cake was a traditional Victorian-style creation with the same wedding cake topper that we used for our civil partnership cake nine years earlier. George was insistent that the cake was covered in royal icing, and so I found someone really special who teaches the art of royal icing, and she made us a stunning plain white cake with pink highlights and white piping detail. It was just what we wanted.
Our day was amazing. We laughed from start to finish except when George shed a tear at both the vows and the exchange of rings and the photographs were fun and very informal. I had agonised a little over the wedding speech, and then suddenly it was time to do it and I hadn't even put pen to paper! I'm a teacher by day, and decided that speaking to a group of people in a room was no big deal, so I just opened my heart about our life together, commenting on those that had been part of our lives and their contribution to our joy, and it went really well.
The finale, though, was the Time Warp on the dance floor everyone had such fun. It was a truly perfect day!