We had booked our venue not long after the engagement, a boutique hotel in the West Midlands. As I had mentioned before we had been to a friend’s wedding there the previous summer and it was very cool and understated and didn’t scream “traditional wedding”.It was local to the majority of my friends and family and not a million miles from James’s side in Manchester so….lots of boxes ticked.
I had also scoured the internet and nothing in the area came close, I was pretty certain it would be the ideal location for our special day.
When we visited to book it they were just completing a seperate building at the back – specifically for weddings. There was a lovely bar area and generally the decor was nice – if a little too “trendy” actually.
Now neither of us were expecting this when we arrived, I was imagining it as it was the previous year and part of the charm was that it was a fairly old building but contemporary inside, now it was just kind of erm….well…..a little bit corporate.
For some unknown reason I decided to overlook this fact and made sure we could book out both the restaurant ( the original area) and this new “wedding” room so that we could have exclusive use of the venue ( for both of us this was really important) this was agreed as well as booking out all of the available bedrooms and suites.
It was also under what we had budgeted over all for the venue, food and drink.
So far so good.
There was a large patio outside of the new wedding room that clearly wasn’t completed but we were told that this would be ready by that summer (2008) so would be lovely and weathered and the surrounding plants and flowers more mature by the time of our wedding in summer 2009.
I was pretty much sold at that point ( to be honest I just wanted to get on with the planning and buying!) and so after sleeping on it James and I paid the substantial deposit and were all set for the 30th August 2009.
And then the problems began….
I had some questions to ask a few days after booking and the wedding co-ordinator who had shown us the venue had been fired – turned out she had been “mis selling” weddings and had not been keeping detailed enough records of clients and their requirements.
I won’t bore you with the details but basically there were several aspects we had been sold that either didn’t exist or were totally exaggerated – the patio was pretty much finished as it happened (?!) and there was another room at the back of the restaurant that could be used for parties – so basically Aunty Vi could be celebrating her 80th with a bingo extravaganza and Tom Jones tribute in the room next to my guests… with her guests sharing our ( apparently nearly finished but really rather naff looking) patio area.
(Just for clarity I have no issues with Tom Jones, my mother is from Gwent so I love the welsh wonder as much as the rest of them …although I may draw the line at throwing him my panties ￼ )
We met with one of the owners of the hotel in the end and he tried to make light of everything and offered us a few discounts and free bits and pieces here and there (they would keep the party room empty so no risk of Aunty Vi…etc etc) Unfortunately there was no light at the end of the tunnel for me and although I didn’t say anything at the time I think all the disappointment was building up over those 8 months until the November when I finally bought my dress…..
On the evening of my dress purchase I arrived back home to an expectant James. He knew I had found a dress I really loved so was hoping as much as me that when I went to Quello I would still feel the same about it and make a purchase. ( And to be honest we had not managed to book a fat lot else as we couldn’t decide on anything)
So there he was all smiling and lovely and I promptly… burst into floods of tears.
James : “Oh no baby what’s wrong?? Did you not like the dress??”
me: “uh uh hiccup hiccup nnnn….nnooo no nooo it’s not that it’s…it’s …it’s hiccup hiccup”
James: ” We still have plenty of time you know there must be loads of other dresses out there for you to try??”
me: ” no no I love the dress it’s gorgeous it’s perfect I just …I just…”
James: ” What what? what is it? ( hint of concerned smile) it’s not me is it…you’ve not changed your mind have you??”
me : ” No you great big Div, it’s not you – You rock my world, the dress is great …. I just think I made a mistake with the venue, and I’m so sorry that I haven’t said anything as I know we have paid all that money and we probably won’t get it back…..and I really want to marry you next summer more than anything and now it’s nearly Christmas and everything will be all booked up now for next summer anyway and…….” (more tears and hiccuping and feeling like a complete idiot)
James: ” If it’s really upsetting you that much we will just re-think it ok? we’ll at least ask them about the deposit and go from there, I’m sure there are other venues that would have had cancellations or something? honestly don’t get yourself all worked up about it, we only get this day once and I want it to be perfect for you”
And that is why I was marrying this man.