After impressing her with some unforgettable dates, Wayne Brown married Donna Stringer in Tissington Hall.
I had just finished university in 2006 and I went to a pub in Ashbourne with my stepsister. Two lads were staring at us and they were smoking, so we left, but they ended up coming to the same pub we moved on to! Wayne’s friend liked my stepsister and he was chatting her up, and Wayne was trying to impress me by saying ‘I’m 20, I’m at uni and I’ve got my own car!’ That was funny because I was 22 at the time; I think he assumed I was younger!
It turned out that Wayne’s friend was doing the same course I did at university, so I thought that they would never leave us alone! But things turned out pretty well as Wayne got my number through my stepsister and he took me on some amazing dates. He really made the effort to impress me, he asked me for a list of things I’d like to do on first dates and he did them all; we had a picnic in the snow with champagne and strawberries, watched a sunset, went star gazing and saw my first shooting star. He sent me a red rose every morning for 2 weeks, my mum got a bit jealous so he started sending her one too he even gave up smoking after weeks of nagging!
After three years he proposed to me on Christmas Day 2009. He took me out in the morning and it was snowing, it was quite romantic. He had blindfolded me and taken me to the pub where we’d had our first kiss, and then he got down on one knee. I did have an inkling, seeing as he had phoned my mum and asked her my ring size and my mum called me all excited! We got married on August 28 2011 at Tissington Hall after 18 months of planning.
I enjoyed the planning but there were so many people to please, and everyone has got their own opinions on everything. We saw an advert for Tissington Hall before we even got engaged, so we were considering it anyway, but we couldn’t find anywhere else that we liked as much, and it turned out to be a really good decision. Our event organiser there, Victoria Moore, was lovely; we couldn’t have asked for better, she did absolutely everything that we asked for.
I bought my wedding dress from Pronuptia in Derby, it was a Mark Lesley style dress that I had seen in a magazine. I went hunting for it and it just so happened that they had it and it was the end of the line! I had also seen the bridesmaids’ dresses in a magazine, so I took Wayne’s sister to The Wedding Theatre in Derby to get them, as her opinion mattered the most to me. They were really helpful and lovely in there. The men got their suits from Burtons they had a deal on at the time, and Wayne loves a bargain!
I had a teardrop style bouquet, and as the theme was purple I went for purple flowers, with orchids and ivory avalanche roses. I went to Passion Flowers in Derby, I would definitely recommend them. Wayne’s mother had had a cutting of a plant from her mum, and so she did the same for me too and I had some edelweiss, which is my dad’s flower. Debbie Austin from Passion Flowers was really accommodating, she did the centrepieces, and the venue already had lots of rose gardens behind it as well.
The night before, I was really nervous. It was really strange, my dad took us out for dinner and I thought ‘this is the last time I’ll see him before we get married!’ My dad and stepmum decided to take me to the cinema to help me take my mind off it and I stayed over at my dad’s. Wayne’s sister did my hair, and Claire Thomas from Derby did all of our make-up. I got ready with all of my bridesmaids at home and my mother in law was there too, so it was a nice pre party but we stuck to the water and coffee!
My dad ordered two Daimler limousines from Plastic Wedding Cars and they were really nice. They even parked outside early so that people could see that we were getting married, they were very friendly and they helped me into the car. I nearly forgot my veil I had to send my brother to get it for me! We had a civil ceremony but it was quite traditional, my dad gave me away.
There were 52 of our close family and friends and another 60 for the evening, but it was a bit of a squeeze! We had tried to get everything perfect, but on the day, we got everyone back to front from the seating plan! It was a big thing at the time, but it is funny looking back now.
I walked in and everyone was staring at me, and I could see Wayne welling up and just thought ‘oh my god, I’m getting married!’ I looked to my bridesmaids for support, but they were welling up too! After a 20 minute ceremony we wanted to get the party started. I had a huge sigh of relief, after all that planning, it was over so quickly.
As soon as the ceremony was finished we had a champagne reception with sweet pastry and strawberries — they were gone in minutes, they were lovely. Our caterers were The Butler’s Pantry, based in Derby, they were really good. For the meal we had leek and potato soup for the starter, wrapped and filled chicken supreme with dauphinoise potatoes (which I love, so they brought out a huge plate of them just for me!) and then apple and rhubarb custard for dessert, as my dad likes that.
We had the speeches before the meal as Wayne’s brother gets quite nervous. We had wanted to do them outside but it started raining, it had been a gorgeous day until then. When my dad did his speech I was welling up, both families have a good relationship so he mentioned the friendship between him and Wayne’s dad. Wayne’s speech was lovely so I got quite emotional at that, and his brother’s speech was hilarious.
Our photographer was Frank Field from A Class Photography based in Swadlincote. We met him at a wedding fair, and it turned out that the only free day he had was actually our wedding day, and he was the best decision we made in all of our wedding planning. During the ceremony he had a pianist called Joe George playing throughout, he was lovely, we would recommend him. Then my dad’s friend who is a Frank Sinatra and Dean Martin impersonator set up outside. Everyone came outside to watch him perform even though it was rainy — everyone was just dancing under their umbrellas and he kept us all entertained.
Our first dance was Wayne’s choice My Girl by the Temptations. A friend of the family did the cake for us, it had three tiers and similar flowers to those in my bouquet on it which was nice. The whole day was great from start to finish, it was perfect. That’s thanks to Victoria at Tissington Hall, the caterers and our families who were so supportive. Instead of wedding gifts, we asked for money for our honeymoon and we spent a week in Egypt, and went to see the Pyramids, which was amazing!
Photography by Frank Field at A Class Photography