Hi, my name is Karen Ashley and my fiance is Simon Appleby. Simon’s family are originally from Burton on Trent, where he was born; and my family are “Swaddies”, even though I was also born in Burton on Trent. We live together in Church Gresley, Swadlincote. I moved in with Simon in March 2011.
I work as a Waste Operations Manager for Blaby District Council in Leicestershire; and Simon is the Manager at Rinkway Autocentre in Swadlincote.
I thought it would be a great idea to share our experiences and tips on wedding ideas through this blog, to try and help other brides and grooms to chill out and not worry about the stresses and strains of arranging 'their big day'.
As often as I can (work and weddings make for a busy life) I will write about my wedding, my plans, how I got ideas and any great advice that I can pass on to you to help make your panning and big day just that little bit easier.
Save the Date
We are set to get married on 4th August 2012 at the Church of St George and St Mary, on Church Street, Church Gresley and will have our wedding breakfast and evening reception at Bosworth Hall, Market Bosworth.
How We Met
Simon and I first met in 1986 on the school French exchange, I was 15 and he was 13. I attended the Pingle School in Swadlincote and Simon went to the William Allitt School in Newhall, but our schools always did a joint exchange to Macon every year. We started to go out together at a disco that our exchange counterparts held but drifted apart after a couple of weeks of getting home – he couldn’t be bothered to bike to see me.
After that, I used to bump into him now and again when I’d take my car for repair (Simon manages the local garage) but nothing really was said.
Then we bumped into each other in Morrisons, of all places, and said hello. He traced me through my sister on Facebook and sent me a friend request. Once I accepted his request we started chatting on there for a few weeks until he finally plucked up the courage to ask me out for a drink.
That was 20 years after we had first met, in the Winter of 2009.
Our First Date
We went out into Ashby-de-la-Zouch for a drink one Friday night and the rest, as they say, is history. It was just like we’d known each other for ever, and it seemed so right from the start.
We spent a lot of time together after that night and decided that we’d go on holiday to Egypt in July 2010. That sealed it for us, we decided that we wanted to get engaged. Although we didn’t know how or when, we just knew that it was the right thing to do. Simon wanted to surprise me so we didn’t discuss it again.
Then out of the blue, he turned up at my work one Friday afternoon on 6th August 2010, got down on one knee (with a bouquet of flowers, bottle of champagne and the most beautiful engagement ring) and proposed!
He said that “he wanted to spend the rest of his life with me and make me happy, and that I deserved to be happy”. I felt myself going bright red with embarrassment, as I’m not good at being centre of attention but I was really happy and choked up with emotion.
As it was Friday afternoon there weren’t many people in the office, but those that were there were spying around the corner to watch and they all cheered when I said yes.
Unknown to me, Simon had colluded with one of my closest friends at work, Danny, to make sure that I stayed at work until he arrived.
Apparently Danny met him in the Narborough Arms (the pub frequented by a lot of the Council staff after work), before he came to see me and bought Simon a drink to steady his nerves.
It must have been the best kept secret ever as I’ve since found out he’d been planning it for weeks. Everyone knew except me!
We celebrated by going to one of my favourite Italian restaurants in Ashby that night. Simon had booked a table at Zumani’s, where we had a lovely meal and pink champagne (another of my favourites).
I was so excited, I couldn’t wait to start organising things! Simon had said that he wanted me to “be a princess for a day”... I couldn’t let him down could I?