Jo Blackmore and Darren Boden's wedding has left them with some very happy memories.
We actually met on match.com in 2008, it was on April Fool’s Day that we first made contact! Rather than sending an email, I sent him what is known as a ‘wink’ and then he sent me an email back.
We spent ten days emailing each other and quickly realised that we had lots in common. The emails were getting longer and longer so we decided to meet up. We met in a pub in Nuneaton and ended up chatting until midnight and arranged to go out again the following Sunday.
By September we had moved in together and he proposed on New Year’s Eve in 2009, at the strike of midnight. It was a total surprise. We both hate New Year’s Eve and didn’t want to go out so we stayed in together and watched a Take That concert. Subsequently, their song Rule The World became our first dance at the wedding.
Love Heart sweets had become a part of our relationship so when he proposed he gave me a Love Heart saying ‘will you?’ and then he had bought me a Love Heart pendant saying ‘marry me’. We had our ceremony and reception in Ettington Park Hotel in Stratford.
Funnily enough we’d seen it on ‘Don’t Tell The Bride’! We thought it was magnificent so we tried to find it and fell in love with it straight away. I enjoyed most of the planning, especially at the beginning as we had lots of time, but by the time it was January, it got a bit stressful trying to co-ordinate things like bridesmaids’ fittings.
I bought my wedding dress from Francesca Bridal in Nuneaton. They were fantastic, they were absolutely amazing. I had a fitted ivory a-line dress with a few crystals and chiffon — I didn’t want too much fuss. The bridesmaids’ dresses were similar to mine, with chiffon, and they were moss green and the men got their suits from Moss Bros in Derby.
I went to Wellsbourne Florists in Stratford for my flowers. I had white roses which are my favourites, and I love lilies so I had some of those as well. I wanted to pick up the colours of the bridesmaids’ dresses too so I also included some bear grass. They did the flowers for the venue as well, the tables were beautiful and it was all just perfect.
The night before I was excited, but I was really worried about crying. We all stayed in the venue the night before, and I didn’t really sleep although we later found out that it is actually haunted! I got ready with my bridesmaids and my mum. Dina Banbury, a friend of a friend did all our make up which we were all really happy with. There were 62 guests for the day, and 80 for the evening, we didn’t want a massive do. My dad gave me away and we had two readers to fluff out the ceremony a bit.
Even though it was in March, the weather was absolutely beautiful, the sky was pure blue all day, and we were so shocked at how lucky we were that it was warm enough to be outside. As the weather was so nice, we were able to have champagne and wander around the beautiful grounds. We had Nero String Quartet playing and they were excellent, they played modern music such as Nirvana and Oasis but in their classical style which was great everyone was trying to guess what they were playing!
For the reception we had swing band The Stray Horns as well as a DJ. The sit down meal provided by the venue consisted of a starter of red pepper soup, followed by roast beef, a champagne sorbet and a champagne and strawberry mousse. I didn’t eat any myself but we had a menu trial a few weeks before and everyone said how nice it was. My dad’s speech was brilliant he had written a poem all about me, Darren didn’t quite know how to follow that!
The cake was made by Love at First Bite in Stafford. It was brilliant actually. Darren is obsessed with Lego so he wanted a Lego themed cake, and I wanted something which was normal but with a fun element. So we had a three tier cake with Lego around the edges and Lego toppers of us.
We spent our honeymoon on a Caribbean cruise ship, spending a week in LA, in Hollywood Boulevard, and we had the penthouse suite. The day was just perfect, everything was just how I had wanted it to be and I have never been happier than I was that day.
A note from the groom: I was really involved in the planning, we did virtually everything together — it was our day rather than just her day. We used stationer Wayne Capald who makes designer cards. We stayed at the hotel the night before which felt a bit odd as we rarely spend a night apart, but I felt really excited.
My dad was really worried about his speech, but the speeches went well. It was the perfect wedding, we were lucky with the weather, the sky was blue and we got all the photos we wanted. My brother-in-law, my father-in-law and I even managed to go for a swim before the ceremony which was really nice.
I wouldn’t say it went quickly, I think I was able to take it all in. One of the nicest things was that the moon was the biggest it had ever been that day they call it the ‘lovers moon’, so that was a nice end to the day.