Laura Watson and Gaz Morris, along with their beautiful daughter, Taylor, enjoyed their fun and quirky wedding day with family and friends.
A quirky, fun wedding where everyone had a great time was what bride to be Laura Watson set out to plan for her big day to fiance Gaz Morris — and it’s definitely what she achieved.
“It was so worth all the planning. It was the best day, so incredible,” says Laura.
The couple from Longton, Stoke-on-Trent, married in their local church, St James, before holding a reception at The Upper House, Barlaston, on August 17, the day after the bride’s 25th birthday.
The self confessed list maker had planned every aspect of the wedding in minute detail, from the big items such as the dress and photographs, to a number of thoughtful additions for guests to make the day as smooth running as possible.
Recalling how they met, Laura said: “I had always wanted a job at Alton Towers and when I was 16 I went for an interview as an entertainment host, my first ever, taking my record of achievement with me.
“Gaz was the entertainment manager there and although I was very nervous we got on really well. He didn’t even look at my record of achievement, but I did get the job.
“He was my manager for five years and we never thought of each other romantically until the end of the season when someone joked we would make a lovely couple. It was like a light-bulb moment for both of us.
“It started quite casually but before long we were serious.” The next milestone moment for the couple was the birth of their daughter Taylor in 2009 and although Gaz knew Laura wanted to get married, he wanted to surprise her with a magical proposal when she least expected it.
“We went on several holidays and I kept getting dolled up, convinced he would propose, but he didn’t. In the end he managed to combine my two favourite things, Christmas and spending time with my family.
“We have a tradition in my family where we open smaller presents first and save the larger things for a few hours later. That’s when he handed me a book which had written from Taylor on it. He told me each page had a picture on it and I had to say what I saw.
“We did a test round first then there was the word ‘this’, a pic of a clock (time), the number 4, then a fishing rod (real). It took us a while to work that one out!” “The there was a picture of a Halloween mummy (mummy) then Will Smith (will), a sheep (ewe) and I was really laughing at that when I saw the next picture, a couple getting married and a picture of Gaz.
“I just started crying. He then bought my engagement ring from behind the tree and went down on one knee, saying Laura will you marry me. It was the perfect proposal.” Laura, with the help of her mum, swung straight into action planning the wedding.
Although Gaz told her he would be happy to help in any way he could, he knew how much planning their big day meant to Laura and was happy to let her do it all.
“It was like an episode of don’t tell the groom,” jokes Laura with a smile.
The couple’s daughter was a flower girl along with Layla and Zara Bratt aged four and 18 months old. Pageboys were Laura’s brother Jordan, aged 12 and nephew, Archie Counter.
Bridesmaids were Laura’s sisters Melissa Harrison and Gemma Watson along with her best friend Kirsty Owen.
The flower girls wore cap sleeved dresses from Next while the bridesmaids wore mink coloured dresses from Marks and Spencer online.
However Laura’s search for her wedding gown proved more problematic.
“It was a hard decision, I must have gone through every shop in Staffordshire. It meant so much to me and I also analysed what Gaz would want to see me in.
“In the end I chose a dress from Pronuptia with a huge bow on it and everyone was very relieved.
“Then the next day I went to a wedding fayre and absolutely fell in love with a dress there.
I’d seen the dress before on the internet, but not chased it up. I felt sick.” She tracked the dress down to J and J of Newcastle Under Lyme and in the end, decided it was the dress she would choose.
Although Laura had already lost a lot of weight since Taylor’s birth, she still wanted to lose more, and so she ordered her wedding dress a size too small so she could lose some more, which she did, losing a total of six and a half stones.
Laura accessorised her dress with a veil from the same bridal shop along with a tiara from Debenhams ands pearl and diamond jewellery for Ernest Jones.
Instead of traditional wedding flowers, Laura ordered button bouquets from I Heart Buttons for herself, the bridesmaids and even as the button holes for the groom and groomsmen and instead of floral centrepieces, she and her dad, Gary, made marshmallow trees.
The groom’s best man was Dave Reynolds, who was also the main photographer for the day, with another friend, Adam Taylor, stepping in for him whenever his bestman duties meant he couldn’t snap the action.
At the church ceremony Laura was given away by both mum and dad as she felt they had both had an equal part in bringing her up.
During the wedding speeches, Gaz surprised Laura once more by producing the old record of achievement he hadn’t even glanced at during her interview, however this time it was filled with memories of their life together.
At the reception, the new Mr and Mrs Morris also wanted to surprise everyone with a few quirky twists and instead of a traditional first dance decided to do their own version of Faces of Disco which they had seen on Britain’s Got Talent.
The couple made huge faces of friends and family to wear while dancing to music they thought would be appropriate for each couple.
“We started off dancing to Greatest Day by Take That and then finished the whole thing to the end of that song too.
“It was great and it went really well,” says Laura happily.
As well as the wedding breakfast the reception included an ice cream cart as well as a sweetie buffet.
“We turned the conservatory at the reception venue into a room of fun, people’s faces lit up when they saw the sweets!
“We also had a photography area with a white backdrop and some quirky props such as moustaches and glasses on sticks as well as empty picture frames for people to hold in front of their faces and a blackboard for people to write on.”
There was also a cordoned off area of the conservatory for children with a tunnel and tent, giant connect four and colouring to keep them busy.
Adults were able to have a go at laser clay pigeon shooting, ping pong or connect four too.
“There was a basket of flip flops for women to change into out of their heels and scratch cards for the Douglas Macmillan Hospice too,” says Laura adding even the toilets were decorated with memories from the hen and stag weekends for people to see.
As well as making a pink and brown postbox for people to post wedding cards into, Laura’s dad had also made the wedding cake, made of marshmallow and Cadbury fingers, finished with a bespoke cake topper made by Chantale’s Crafts, featuring Laura reading a magazine while Gaz did the ironing.
“It’s an ongoing joke that I’m a bit of a princess and that Gaz does the washing and ironing,” says Laura with a laugh.
Although she says she had lists galore which she gave to people of the big day so everyone knew what was happening, she promised herself that on the wedding day she would give them up and just enjoy herself, and she did, handing her wedding folder over to the master of ceremonies.
“I wanted the whole day to be fun “ I had planned so much and I was a bit concerned I wouldn’t be able to let go but I did and just relaxed watching people have fun.
“The day lived up to my expectations and more.”
Photography by Dave Reynolds and Adam Taylor