Darren Hickling


Published onReading time4 minutes

That's it! Fifteen months of planning, a house move and baby later: we're married. And what a day it was! Everything came together perfectly, and for that, we have many people to thank. First up, the suppliers:

  • The amazing hair and make-up from HNB Salon Spa; we had never really considered hair becoming a work of art before!
  • Harbour Heights hotel: they managed to accommodate us at short notice after being let down elsewhere. The staff were really friendly, the food great, and the views pretty spectacular.
  • The experience provided by Jackson & Co Photography has been nothing short of first-class. The pre-wedding photoshoot was a lot of fun, and their dedication in getting the very best photos from our day was fantastic. Very much looking forward to seeing the finished result soon.
  • The amazing venue that is the Italian Villa. Set within the beautiful surroundings of Compton Acres, the purpose-built venue was perfect for a long but brilliant day. The food was effectively gourmet, and the photos in the Japanese garden don't look too bad, either!
  • Suit hire from Formally Yours: incredible value, and only required harassing ushers for their measurements.
  • The patient and very helpful service from Ernest Jones in Bournemouth. It transpired that choosing wedding bands to compliment the engagement ring was more difficult than we imagined.

Now: the people who shared our day. We're absolutely overwhelmed with the generosity shown by our loved ones and friends even those who couldn't make it and we look forward to entertaining them at home with the many gifts they have contributed. Our guests were great fun, and made light of the difficult journeys some had to endure. The ushers and bridesmaids put in so much effort before and during the event, and were also the calming influences when needed the most. The speeches by the father of the bride and best man had us in stitches, and shocked us pretty frequently, too!

I'm pleased with how my speech went, as it was entirely from memory. Given the sheer amount of content, time limit (thanks to a very chatty receiving line) and, frankly, forgetfulness, I'd love to have said more, but the biggest complement I received was that it felt sincere.

Later, we threw in a few surprises. Our theme was fire and ice, so what better than to have a truly amazing fire show, and a vodka ice luge?! These worked exactly as intended: they were great fun, and more talking points to help people get in the mood for the disco later.

Interestingly, I've since begun to realise a side-effect from the wedding: I finally understand why people attach so much emotion to inanimate objects. For me, the plain white-gold band that adorns my ring finger will forever remind me of three things:

  • The time and effort it took to get there!
  • A single, euphoric feeling that sums up the build-up to wedding, the day itself, and the time that follows.
  • My eternal love for my wife and the pride I feel in wearing the ring.

Lastly, as much as I've enjoyed the experience, I'm also very grateful that weddings are intended to be a once-in-a-lifetime experience! With no more imagining my speech in the shower in the morning, crafting invites at night (well, there are many thank-you cards to assemble now), or ticking items off the list at weekends, we'll have more time to relax; like spending time with our son, playing the Xbox One, and visiting all the amazing friends and places that made our wedding so special. Again, huge thanks, and best of luck if you're next.