Bespoke suits, a helicopter and diamonds made Tom Morrison and Neil Richard Piper’s wedding one fit for royalty.
Tom and I met through mutual friends, ones that we had both had for a long time but somehow, we had never managed to bump into each other before.
Our first date wasn’t exactly romantic, we went for a drink at our local pub but when we got to the bar Tom was just staring over my shoulder laughing.
I turned around to find out that his sisters were in the same pub. Apparently it was an accident and they hadn’t just come to give me the once over. It was that evening that Tom’s little sister declared me to be ‘alright’ and it was her who gave the big speech on the wedding day.
After that night everything moved quickly, we moved in together and Tom sacrificed his life in the Midlands to relocate to Brighton with me. It was 18 months after our first date that I proposed. It was a surprise, but not completely unexpected, I knew If I didn’t do it then he would beat me to it.
I racked my brains trying to think of some elaborate proposal but I know Tom thinks that it is the little things that count, so on a Friday night, I cooked a three course meal, filled the house with red roses and bought him lots of silly gifts. When I asked him to marry me, Tom just started laughing and said yes.
It was March when I proposed and we set the date for August 18, so we had to sort everything out quickly. The organising was Tom’s bag really, he is generally more organised and he had a good idea of what he wanted. I was left in charge of the budget, and because I’m a bit of a foodie, the food!
Tom’s family were based in the Midlands so we decided to have the wedding there but that made everything more complicated because we were planning a Staffordshire wedding from Brighton – it was hard work.
We chose Sandon Hall as the venue for both the ceremony and the reception. We decided to have six grooms — all girls and we asked Tom’s little sister to be the best man. When it came to choosing our suits, we went down to Saville Row in London but we got scared away by the prices and decided to look somewhere else. We discovered an online company called Suitopia which is based in Singapore. You can design a suit from scratch, you then follow a video guide of how to make the measurements and then they post them to you, it was brilliant.
We chose midnight blue for the colour because it was the favourite colour of Tom’s late mother. For our groom girls we decided to buy actual wedding dresses from a boutique in Brighton because we wanted them to look a bit theatrical but they were in a dark, royal blue so they didn’t look too bridal.
Our flowers were from the Flower Barn in Milford, we had bright pink tiger lilies for our buttonholes and used cream orchids and lilies to fill giant martini glasses as our centre pieces, and to decorate the stairs and banisters.
The food was done by Sandon’s own caterers, Jenkinson, and they were really great. We started with lime glazed salmon and asparagus followed by chicken wrapped in mozzarella and pancetta with marshmallow cupcakes for desert – they were really sexy!
The actual day went quite smoothly but not without any problems. We had decided to fly to the ceremony in a helicopter from Nottingham Helicopters, but while the weather was OK in Stafford, it was too poor in Nottingham for the helicopter to fly and we ended up driving there in Tom’s convertible.
The ceremony was really smooth, we had invited 90 guests and it was lovely. We both used rings that we already had, mine was one that I had found in a little shop in Brighton, and Tom’s was a huge ring full of diamonds – really any excuse for him to wear it!
When we finished, the weather had cleared up and I was determined to go up in the helicopter so they came to pick us up and we took our photographer, Ray Walker, up with us and got some great shots.
We invited another 40 guests to our reception and Tom and I changed into different suits, his was baby pink and mine, a matching baby blue. Tom chose all of the music and the DJ, Ade Wood, was happy to go along with it. The whole evening was just an amazing party.
It was such a brilliant day, even though organising the wedding was really stressful and we spent weeks stressing about the weather, it really was the best day ever.