Surprise Surprise !

When you receive a phone call out of the blue…

‘Is there any way that I can arrange a surprise wedding for my fiancé?’

‘’Tell me more, what are you thinking? ‘ 

And so, the planning began!

Toni and Terri have been together 10 years now, engaged for 5 and blissfully loved up, enjoying renovating their forever home and waltzing around a dance floor.
Terry has literally just turned 60 and didn’t want a fuss, but Toni being Toni, wanted to do something as a surprise for him.
A very small and intimate family meal to celebrate a milestone….just not necessarily the milestone he was thinking he was being forced to acknowledge !

So, for the past 4 months we have been quietly plotting behind the scenes; secret phone calls, texts, emails and even lunchtime break meetings to finalise details.

Making the ceremony inclusive…

Toni organised Ellie a BSL signer to assist with the ceremony, so that her daughter and her partner were fully included.

Michelle & Elle smiling at the camera
Elle Our BSL signer and me grinning at the camera

I sent over a copy of the script so that she could acquaint herself with it prior to the ceremony. And finally roping Kev from Head over Heels photography in on the secret, we were all set for their special day.

The secret had been kept, everyone was in place, now to just wait for Toni to pop the question…
So, a little bit of background information here…Our happy couple actually got engaged atop Monte Urgull in San Sebastián in 2017 but had never gotten around to fixing a date for a wedding…and then not quite so far back, Terry had jokingly told Toni that if she organised a wedding he’d turn up…. he was foolishly rather confident that she wouldn’t do it…. ooops!

It’s getting closer…

So, Toni knowing there was a big milestone birthday approaching had a eureka moment… two birds one stone kind of thing…and that’s where the phone call to me came in…he would never suspect that she would organise a surprise wedding!

As the day crept closer, the secret remained, albeit she did have to explain away all of the secretive calls and texts messages….’Erm…I’m getting you a puppy for your birthday…’ It worked, it kept him satisfied for the most part…until the big day itself that is, when he was told to dress smartly as it was a big deal that all the family were coming out to celebrate his birthday. Suspicion fleetingly creased his brow as he asked if she was arranging a wedding!
‘Of course, not…why would I do something like that? You know I haven’t got it in me’

Poor Toni was sure she was going to be sick as they drove to the Lion House, which btw is a stunning location for a wedding. Adjacent to its mother building, the Lion Inn, it is a standout and stand-alone venue… and is one of this celebrants favourite venues…

The ceremony room, candles in the forefront, and a fireplace in the background, chairs in-between
The fabulous ceremony room

The big day has arrived…

The next stage of the plan was put into motion. Grace was meeting her mum in the loo’s in the main building with her dress, bouquet, and a buttonhole for the unsuspecting groom. Terry was being distracted at the bar by his daughter…All the staff were in on the secret. ‘Your table isn’t ready just yet…what can we get you to drink?’ Kev ( HeadOverHeels Photography) was sat nearby, camera hidden, waiting to capture the moment when Terry set eyes on his bride, and the rest of us were hidden away waiting in the Lion House with everything crossed. None of us needed to worry, tears a plenty, the groom just hugged his bride, they semi composed themselves and joined us in the wedding room for a simply perfect ceremony.

A man facing the camera with his eyes scared tight holding back tears, as a woman wearing white with her back to the camera pins a buttonhole to his jacket
The moment the secret is let out.

Salsa, ballroom, sailing, and extreme DIY were all woven into the fabric of the ceremony along with a true lovers knot tying ceremony and the groom’s heartfelt words about the love of his life, because…I obviously hadn’t been able to question him prior to the day, I kind of dropped the questions on his toes…

a wooden stand with a remarkable , vow booklets and ropes ready for the ceremony
Ceremony ready

I never wanted to celebrate my birthday…

It is blindingly obvious though, they adore each other and tears and laughter flowed freely.

What a way to start 2022, it was intimate, it was perfectly them, it was inclusive and the groom summed it up afterwards.

I never wanted to celebrate my birthday, but I did want to get married, it was a big surprise, and it was perfect’

black and whited photo of a happy couple smiling at the camera standing in front of a fireplace
We did it!

Toni and Terri, I wish you a lifetime of joy, dancing, and extreme DIY

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