Anna Dawson and Craig Parkesheld their wedding ceremony at Thornbury Hall.
Craig and I met through friends after being introduced on a night out and hit it off straight away.
After that we dated for a few months and before long he moved in with my son and I. We had been together for about seven months by this point and things happened pretty quickly but they were going really well.
We were together for six years before we decided to get married. We had already talked about it so the proposal wasn’t very romantic. He just said ‘shall we get married?’ to which I said yes!
The first thing we sorted was picking a date, after that we looked at lots of venues. We looked at a lot of hotels but many of them were really expensive.
Then I saw on facebook that a friend had put up photos of her wedding in Thornbury Hall, near Stoke on Trent, and it looked really nice.
We hadn’t realised that they did weddings, so I contacted them to see if they did civil ceremonies and we went to visit it.
As soon as I entered the grounds I said ‘this is it’. It was beautiful inside as it was outside.
The owner, Parveen was brilliant in helping us organise everything. She was full of ideas and was always there when we needed to speak to her. My top tip is to go and take a look at Thornbury Hall, it’s a lovely venue and is great value for money.
I then went to Aisle of Brides in Stoke with my mum and my sister to find a dress. It was the first shop I went to and I found several that I liked in there because actually, the most stressful part was narrowing it down - there were three that I wanted.
I wanted an evening dress, something very classy to fit in with the venue. The men also bought their suits from this shop.
I didn’t have any bridesmaids but we had our two-year-old daughter as our flower girl, she looked cute in her little dress. We got that from Debenhams, along with my mother’s and my sister’s dress.
I got my flowers from H&R Flowers in Weston Coyney, I had roses and calla lilies.
The night before I had my sister round for a pampering evening to calm my nerves. It didn’t work though, because I was really nervous, I don’t know why!
Then the next day my friend Suzanne Bradbury, who is also my hairdresser based in Stoke came over to do my hair, and I did my own make up.
I felt okay until about 10 minutes before the ceremony, because up to that point I was too busy getting ready to get nervous! We didn’t even have time to have nibbles or drinks.
My uncle came to chauffer me, my son, and my daughter to the venue, where we met our photographer Stuart Robinson. He is from Stoke Pix who offer brilliant value. He was very professional and the photos were great.
We had 50 guests for the ceremony and the wedding breakfast, but didn’t have an evening reception. It was a fairly standard service, everything went to plan. Afterwards we had drinks and photographs outside which was lovely.
The venue provided the catering and guests had a choice between Indian and English set meals. It was absolutely fantastic, everybody commented on the food, and some guests even went up to the head chef to say how much they’d enjoyed it.
My 14-year-old son gave me away, and did a speech as well. He was so nervous did a great job and I was very proud of him. My husband and the best man did their speeches too, which made me very emotional!
Craig and I made a CD with a mixture of songs which are special to us to play during the meal.
We had a traditional square three tier cake which was quite plain with cream and green flowers on, which was made by a lady who I used to work with as a gift.
Everything went better that I’d planned, there were no faults and the service was brilliant.
Our honeymoon was a weekend in Devon, it was lovely, and it was on the hottest weekend of the year in October 2011.
It was just the best day of my life, I couldn’t have asked for anything better. I wish I could do it all again!
Photographer: Stewart Robinson Stoke Pix