How They Met
Photography by Lawson Photography.
Lee and Tara met in O’Neills in Loughton, when Tara was visiting her cousin. “I saw this strapping 6’3 bloke drinking Guinness and my heart just melted,” says Tara. “I tried giving him ‘the eye’ but he didn’t seem to notice me at all, so I did the sensible thing and got tipsy until I had enough confidence to go over and pinch his scrumptious bum!”
The pair had been together for seven years when Lee proposed on New Year’s Eve 2007. He had just picked Tara up from a pedicure appointment, and they were walking through nearby Winckley Square.
“As we walked through the park Lee said ‘I’ve got you another present’,” Tara reminisces. “I stopped dead in my tracks. The next thing I knew he was down on one knee asking me to marry him! I couldn’t breathe. Moments passed. A little old man awkwardly shuffled between us making his apologies – a great comedy moment – then I squeaked ‘yes’! Lee picked me up and threw me around. We spent the whole day celebrating with family and friends.”
“My dress was from Pronovias (Rangun),” says Tara. “I fell in love with it the moment I tried it on; it was so striking in an understated sort of way. For me it had the best of both worlds, as it was fitted on the body and so had the straightness of a contemporary dress, but it also had the fullness of a traditional dress with a full skirt and train.
“I loved the Grecian feel on the bodice too, and the scattering of pearls and gems gave me the touch of glamour I was looking for. I truly felt like a princess, as the dress just oozed sophistication and class.”
Tara’s four bridesmaids were her cousins, while the two flower girls were Lee’s nieces. “My bridesmaids are all different shapes and sizes, so we decided together to go for a classic a-line, knee-length dress from Dan Kerr Brides in Preston,” Tara explains. “They were pearl pink with a touch of ivory and we all loved how summery and girly they were.
“Lee’s niece Tanai looked adorable in an ivory puffa dress with a hint of pink; it stole the show!”
The Wedding Venue
Lee and Tara were married at St. Gregory the Great RC Church, Preston. “I grew up in St. Gregory’s parish, and have many happy memories surrounding the church,” says Tara. “Lee and I were chuffed to bits when Father Keefe – who is more like a family friend than a priest and who has known me since I was a little girl – agreed to come back to St Gregory’s and marry us. It just made the whole service so much more personal and poignant for both families.”
The Catholic couple had a nuptial mass at St. Gregory’s. “We had an opera singer, Jane, throughout the service leading on the hymns and she was just amazing,” says Tara. “I walked down the aisle to Ave Maria by Schubert and the whole time I had a frog in my throat; Jane just captured the whole emotion of the song.
“Jane also sang All I ask From You from Phantom of the Opera during the signing of the register; Lee is a big musical fan and it’s one of his favourite songs.”
The Reception Venue
Tara and Lee’s wedding reception at Barton Grange Hotel opened with a string quartet, Strelitzia, who played familiar classical pieces and modern pop songs. “It really set the tone for the day, and guests were pleasantly surprised to hear well-known pop songs being played by a string quartet,” Tara says. “They played throughout the wedding breakfast too, but they changed their approach so that they were more background music.”
The couple’s wedding theme was “traditionally romantic with a twist of contemporary glamour”, and the colour scheme was ivory, pearly pink and silver, says Tara.
“I’m a real book worm, especially for the classics, so we named our tables after my favourite authors, from Shakespeare to Austen, and gave each guest a book written by the author of the table they were on as a favour.
“With the help of our graphic designer we even created ‘Nash Library Services’, putting an insert inside each favour that was stamped with our wedding date and told guests that the book should not be returned but kept as a reminder of our special day.
“Since then even the most unlikely people have told me how much they enjoyed their novel!”
You can contact Tara and Lee’s graphic designer at firstname.lastname@example.org.
The groom’s speech was Tara’s favourite moment of the day: “At one point Lee said ‘Clint Eastwood once said: ‘you find me the secret of a happy marriage and I’ll consider getting married again’. Well, I think me and Tara have found that secret, or at least as close at it gets,’” Tara says.
The First Dance
“Our first dance was to Andy Williams’ Can’t Take My Eyes Off You,” says Tara. “We felt this was the perfect first dance song as it starts so romantically but finishes in an upbeat way and everyone knows the words.
“We also did a choregraphed foxtrot! It was really nerve-wracking, especially as we had never rehearsed it with a massive wedding dress, but we pulled it off and rhe response from our guests was incredible!
“Fever Dance Company, who choreographed the dance for us, were superb and very patient!”
Lee and Tara had an ivory, three-tier, square vanilla sponge cake with buttercream from Crumbs Cakes in Whalley. “In between each layer of sponge we had a clear vase containing a pink calla lily,” says Tara. “We thought it was very plain but with a twist of originality. Mrs Crumbs believes in great cake first and foremost and I have to say our cake was delicious!”
Between the wedding breakfast and evening party the couple hired singer James Mason (07856 271 876) to play acoustic guitar while milling around among the guests. “I didn’t want the day to turn ‘flat’ after the meal when people feel tired, so James Mason performed to keep the party going in a relaxed way,” says Tara.
For the evening party, Lee and Tara went for Barton Grange’s resident DJ, Rob Falcon. “He asked us how far he could ‘camp it up’,” remembers Tara. “We said all the way! Rob found the right balance of getting everyone in the party mood without offending anyone or making anyone feel uncomfortable, and his costume changes were legendary!”