“This is the one,” I whispered to Sean, as my eyes welled up with tears. Happy tears, may I add. We were standing in the room we were going to get married in, and it was perfect.
We were on our all-important venue hunt, a couple of weeks before Christmas. In all honesty, though, our day out barely constituted a hunt. Our dream venue was only the third we’d seen, and we’d done it all in the space of four hours!
Once the initial “Oh my God! We’re engaged!” phase had become normality, we both wanted to set a date quickly. I don’t like things up in the air so all the uncertainty of not knowing exactly when we were getting married, while simultaneously discussing our big day nonstop, was really starting to stress me out. And I know couples who have deliberated for weeks, if not months, over the venue. So we thought we’d best get cracking.
I have to say, I was expecting it to be far more difficult than it turned out to be. I suppose it was easy (ish!) for us, as we knew exactly where we wanted to get married from the outset. Because I want all my grandparents to be at our big day, and they may not fancy long plane journeys and the hassle of travel, we immediately dismissed the possibility of getting married on a beach somewhere exotic. Not to mention how frizzy my hair would look in the photos. Anyone who knows me will vouch for the fact that the combo of my hair and tropical climes doesn’t bear thinking about…
We also knew we were looking for a venue where we could not only hold the reception, but also tie the knot. I’m catholic but Sean isn’t religious, so as a compromise (the key to a successful marriage, I hear!) we decided to have a civil ceremony somewhere that looked chapel-ish.
Not only that, but I’ve always wanted to get married near to where I grew up, in the Wirral. The tradition of getting married where the bride is from isn’t so strong these days, but it’s something that certainly means a lot to me.
So with all that in mind and my mum and grandma on board doing plenty of research, we set about drawing up a shortlist of venues to look round – three, in the end – got in touch with them to arrange viewings, and promptly booked a train up to Chester.
We went on our venue-viewing tour with my parents. And we were all in agreement – we loved the first place and really didn’t like the second (I actually think it was haunted – I came away with a terrible, uneasy feeling that I couldn’t shake off, and I had a nightmare about it that night!).
But as soon as we got out of the car at the third, Thornton Manor, we knew we loved it. It was absolutely everything we wanted from a venue. Grand yet homely, with friendly staff, gorgeous gardens that will look lovely in the Autumn – when we want to get married – an absolutely breathtaking room for the wedding breakfast, rooms for our guests to stay in overnight, and the most important element – a chapel-ish room to get married in.
It’s just so beautiful. And as we stood there in that room, my eyes prickling with tears and smiles plastered across our faces, we could all absolutely picture how incredible our wedding day is going to be.
We didn’t even need any time to mull over the decision. I’ve never been a big thinker when it comes to buying and booking things anyway – once my mind’s made up, that’s it. We got the diaries out immediately and set a date. So now we know that on October 21st this year, we will be getting married! And it will be in our absolute, dream venue.