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See how other couples celebrated their big day with wedding stories and ideas from County Wedding Magazines' Real Weddings features.
Roxanne and Billy met at secondary school when they were both just 11 years old. "We started going out with each other when we were 15," Roxanne tells us. "We were best friends and both made each other laugh. He thought I was pretty and I thought that he had funny hair!" The couple became engaged four years later during a surprise proposal in Mexico. "Billy had asked my dad for his permission and I had no idea," Roxanne says. "My dad was very happy and said that I'd never find anyone better. Billy asked me to marry him on the beach and had arranged a photographer to take some pictures – it was a wonderful surprise!"
Lizzie found Rich's shyness intriguing when she met him back in 2010, and suspected they might be complete opposites. "Once I got to know him, I loved his kindness and light-hearted humour," she says. Rich, on the other hand told us, "I was initially attracted by Lizzie's beauty, but knew there was so much more to her. We have so much fun together."
Despite going to school together and growing up in the same town, it wasn't until Lucia and Kilian finished university that they became friends. "I was on a gap year and Kilian was on a placement year," Lucia explains. "We spent a lot of time together and we ended up going out. I don't think anyone would have put us together in our school days!"
Leanne and Kevin first locked eyes at work. "We knew each other, but it wasn't until I decided to take part in a charity mountain climb that we started messaging," says Leanne. "Kev was an avid hiker, I, on the other hand, hated it, so he was my advice guru. Over time things started to progress as did the flirting. I eventually plucked up the courage to ask him out, and on October 15th, we went on our first date. Further dates followed, and we quickly realised how we felt about each other."
After meeting at work, Samantha and Andrew both lived a considerable distance from the office and decided it would be an excellent decision to car share together. Little did they know this would be the start of their adventure together. The more they learnt about each other, the more feelings started to develop. Samantha says: "We started spending a lot of time together outside of work and found that we had a lot of shared interests and knew how to make each other laugh!" It wasn't until Andrew went away for two weeks on holiday that they realised they shared something extraordinary – absence definitely made the heart grow fonder!
Melissa met Jamie on a dating app. She messaged first, but it was he who suggested they meet up. A quick drink soon turned into three on a summer's evening in a local pub garden. Melissa says, "I remember coming away from our first date with aching cheeks from smiling and laughing so much." Jamie remembers, "I was nervous, and I'm not the best at small talk, but the conversation flowed easily and we never struggled to find something to chat about."
While working as teachers at the same school, Megan and Matt discovered that they shared a love of folk rock music. It turned out that Matt had a spare set of tickets for a festival in Lewes, where the pair's favourite band, Mumford & Sons, would be performing. "Little did we know that weekend would change our lives," Megan tells us. "It ended with me on Matt's shoulders as we sang I Will Wait at the top of our lungs!"
Teenage sweethearts Jess and Jack were together for 10 years before getting married. Jack popped the question at one of their favourite places, local beauty spot Farley Mount in Winchester. "It was a cold, crisp day just before Christmas and we were walking our black labrador Darla whose tail wouldn't stop wagging when Jack got down on one knee," laughs Jess. She said 'yes' of course and they went to the luxury Lainston House hotel afterwards for a surprise champagne afternoon tea.
Joe's cousin had no idea that one day, he'd be welcoming Fran into the family, when he introduced the pair. They were school age when they met and their first date involved Joe getting on the local bus to visit Fran, who says, "I knew straight away that he was a genuine and caring person, which is what drew me to him." Four-and-a-half years later, Joe organised a surprise trip to Barcelona for Fran's 21st birthday.
Anna and Craig began talking on a dating app. "Just after we met, Craig went away with the army to Sierra Leone," says Anna. "He forgot to tell me that he was going into the jungle and would have no means of messaging me, so after a few months of thinking he'd ghosted me, he reappeared, and we started talking again. On his return he invited me to a formal dinner at his regiment, however, he forgot to say that the dinner was being held in Norfolk, which was three hours away! Upon discovering this critical piece of information, I insisted we went on a date before the dinner and that he met my parents so I could put them at ease.
Charley and Daniel met online. "I was hardly using the dating site at the time and popped online out of boredom," says Charley. "There was a message from Dan saying he knew who I was, which intrigued me. We exchanged messages before agreeing to go on our first date. We went bowling as we didn't want to have an awkward dinner." Daniel popped the question in February 2018. "We were in the front room of our flat," shares the bride.
Charlotte and Jack met at high school. "We were always good friends, but as the years went by we started to get closer," says Charlotte. "Jack finally plucked up the courage to ask me out, and we've been inseparable ever since. He makes me laugh and is my best friend." Jack popped the question on their 10th anniversary. "He had lots of little surprises planned for me," shares the bride. "He created a memory book of our relationship and made little notes of things he'd planned for us to do throughout the day.
Emma's job as a teacher proved to be an added bonus when it came to dating. After qualifying she relocated from Birmingham to London and Miguel moved there in April 2013 from his home country of Venezuela. He'd just completed his studies to become an IT engineer and, despite not speaking any English, quickly found a job in a kitchen before embarking on his career. As newcomers to the city, they both joined an online dating service where they met.
After working for the same employer, Robert and Wendy first met after he challenged her to identify a rogue piece of metal contamination. From that moment, the pair would occasionally bump into each other and after a while, realised their compatibility. Wendy says, "We were both separated from our partners at the time and found it easy to talk and support each other through the difficult times we were both experiencing." She adds:
Rachel and Patrick met at the University of Chichester. "We were in different years studying separate courses but were both heavily involved in the music department," Rachel tells us. "What started as a simple student flirtation turned into a nine-year relationship before we even became engaged." A surprise proposal took place on 1st February 2019. "Patrick hadn't chosen the date because he was waiting for the first snowy day of the new year. When we first started our relationship, it was during heavy snowfall," Rachel says..
When Claire and Stuart first met online, they shared a strong connection and clicked straight away. On their second date at Shepreth Wildlife Park, their personalities came out and they knew they had an exciting future ahead. Over time it became clear that they didn't want to be away from each other and spent as much time as possible together. On Christmas Eve back in 2018, Stuart proposed Claire says: "It was a surprise Christmas present, I was just expecting to enjoy a gin and tonic that evening! We were lucky enough that my niece could be the flowergirl on the day
Aaron and Jordan met at the beginning of 2016 on a dating website. "Things progressed quickly with Jordan moving in after just one month and we haven't looked back since," Aaron tells us. The couple became engaged after two years during a romantic proposal at home. "I asked Jordan to marry me," Aaron says. "I had run him a hot bath and jumped in too! I asked him whether he ever wanted to get married to which he replied yes so I grabbed the ring that I had previously hidden behind a shampoo bottle and popped the question - he said "yes" straight away!"
We just adore this wedding, so we had to find out more about the couple behind it. Neil and Matt got together during their early twenties in 2003, but they didn't get engaged until 2018. "Despite the constant hints, Matt's proposal was a complete surprise!" Neil laughs. "We were spending Christmas and New Year on an amazing holiday in Japan; it was in the Japanese Alps on Christmas Day that Matt popped the question." But it wasn't a traditional proposal,..
Harriet and Jacob met at a rugby game in their last year of primary school. "Over the years our friendship grew, and we've been inseparable since we were 15," says Harriet. "Jacob proposed to me on our 10th anniversary. We decided to have a weekend away at De Vere Tortworth Court in Gloucester to celebrate. We were walking through the grounds when Jacob gave me an anniversary card. By the time I'd finished reading it, he'd got down on one knee and presented me with a beautiful ring. We were over the moon and couldn't have been happier."
In 2010, Ellie found herself competing against Joe for a placement at BMW. "Thankfully we both got the job!" Ellie says. "And the rest is history." Being from opposite ends of the country, the pair spent a lot of time travelling to see family. It was on one weekend visiting Ellie's parents down south that Joe knew it was time to pop the question.
Laura and Matthew first met each other in sixth form 14 years ago, but it wasn't until 2016 that they started dating. From that moment, the couple embarked on a journey together where they discovered more about one another and created everlasting memories. Laura says: "Matt proposed when we were on holiday in Cyprus. He didn't know when he was going to do it but knew I had always loved my nana's engagement ring, so several months earlier he had gone to see my mum to ask her permission to give it to me. He wrapped the ring in a pair of shorts and put them in the beach bag that I carried around for days! On the last evening, we went for a walk after a meal to our favourite spot, sat on a rock and he popped the question on the 25th September, 2018, and just shy of a year later we got married!"
Musicians Lauren and Tim met in the most romantic setting – a wedding – where a mutual friend did some skilful matchmaking. "We ended up talking late into the night," Lauren says. And the rest is history. "I went on a four-week U.S. tour with Rick Astley," Lauren says. "While I was away, Tim worked on fixing up our house." His plan was to propose to Lauren in their wonderful new home when she got back, but it didn't quite pan out that way. Tim got booked for a gig in Egypt, with the flight departing an hour after Lauren arrived back in London. Not wanting to wait any longer, Tim met Lauren in Costa Coffee at Heathrow Airport's Terminal 5.
Gemma and Rowan met in 2007, but Rowan was at boarding school so they kept in contact via MySpace and MSN Messenger (that's a blast from the past!) before meeting up again at Reading Festival in 2008. "We spent the whole weekend drinking and watching bands together," Gemma remembers. "After that, we started dating."
Hayley and Jack met at their local pub: "Our close friends were dating at the time, so they got us talking," Hayley explains. She'd not long turned 18 so it was one of her first legal drinks! Not long after Jack asked her for a date and that's when they really started to click. "Jack has a great sense of humour, he's very witty. We still laugh constantly and are best friends as well as husband and wife."
Chloe and Ian lived in the same village and kept noticing each other from afar before they met. "Two different sets of friends tried to set us up on a blind date," Chloe tells us. When the couple did eventually enjoy their first date together, it was on 21st June 2017, two years before they would be married. "We both knew very quickly that we were going to be together because we share a love of walking, being outdoors, a passion for animals and some of the finer things in life while both being pretty down to earth at the same time,"