Your West Midlands Wedding - December/January 2023/2024 (Issue 89)

Me’sha and Darren are musicians who met when she was performing her original music at Shepherds Bush Cricket Club. “He’s a drummer, educator, and two-time all-natural bodybuilding champion; I’m a singer, actor, and vocal coach,” says Me’sha. “I had a habit of firing drummers from my band, so when I first set eyes on Darren, I thought, ‘Oh no! He’s really handsome!’ Annoyingly, he’d been really attentive when learning my music, brought his own drumkit to the gig, knew all the lyrics to my songs, and was really good with children. We were also both members of the faculty at a specialist music school in London, so not long after that, we started dating, and I didn’t have to fire him from my band!” Darren proposed on New Year’s Eve in 2021. “We’d been watching Alicia Keys perform on TV,” shares the bride. “He left the room, came back, got down on one knee, and proposed to me next to the sofa. Sadly, I don’t remember any of his proposal, because as soon as I heard him say my name and I saw the ring in the box, it was like I was suddenly underwater. I do, however, remember our hug afterwards and the look of relief on his face when I said yes.” SETTING THE SCENE “We knew we didn’t want a venue that was too modern, as we prefer buildings with a bit of history to them, and it had to have greenery and wildlife surrounding it as Darren’s a big nature lover,” explains Me’sha. “We did a lot of research online but couldn’t start viewing venues until September as many hadn’t reopened due to the pandemic restrictions. We came across Stockton House at The National Wedding Show in Birmingham. Upon meeting Marc, the former owner, we were immediately drawn to his warmth, genuinely caring nature, and passion for making couples feel special on their wedding day. We could only view artists’ impressions of the venue, as the building was basically uninhabitable and the secret walled garden dining room didn’t actually exist. We visited in early November, and the grounds were absolutely stunning. As soon as we saw the sheep and pheasants roaming around as we made our way up the driveway, we knew it was the place for us. We toured the house with Marc and decided to take a leap of faith, putting down a deposit in order to secure our wedding date. We were one of the first couples to sign up to get married at Stockton House, and we visited the venue on several occasions during the build-up to our wedding to see how the refurb was going. We went from wearing hard hats for safety to seeing the secret walled garden spring to life from a muddy patch to the beautiful venue that it is today. We even took the opportunity to film a couple of music videos in several rooms pre- and post-refurb, which have become great memories for us.” The happy couple incorporated lots of beautiful colours into their day. “I’m a colourful person and used to have blue hair, so I knew I wanted bright florals for our special day,” recalls the bride. “Our florists from Big Little Things really thought about our story and incorporated bachelor buttons, also known as drumsticks, into our arrangements, which was a nice touch. We are quite handy DIY people; we refurbished our 1950s house from top to bottom, knocking down and building walls, upcycling furniture, and bringing our once-overgrown garden back to life, so we always knew we wanted to make some of the decorations. Origami immediately came to mind, so we bought paper online and started making hearts, cranes, and butterflies. They were used as decorations on either side of the aisle. On the wedding breakfast tables, each person had a heart along with their name laser cut in natural wood and a favour bag filled with love hearts, chocolates, and drumsticks, of course! Darren also built two easels that held our welcome mirror and a photo collage that we had printed online.” As musicians, it was important for the couple to have a few nods to their profession throughout their décor. “Our seating plans were attached to one of Darren’s crash cymbals inside the drawing room, and the card box was a floor tom with a slit cut out of the top head so that cards 31 REAL WEDDINGS