Flooding overcome to create the perfect day
Last updated at 17:27, Friday, 22 June 2012
Emma Cole had her heart set on holding her wedding reception in her parent’s idyllic Grade II listed Georgian country house.
“The house and the beautiful scenery really make up for the eight hour journey it takes us to get there,” says Emma, who lives in Sussex and got engaged to Mike Lindley in November 2008.
“Mike and I actually travelled up when my parents went for a viewing and fell in love with Camerton Hall within minutes of walking though the door.
“We decided to wait until we had finished uni to get married and set the date for July 17, 2010, plenty of time we thought to plan and get ready.
“I knew immediately that I wanted to have the reception there although we would also need to attach a marquee to fit in all the guests.
“We often attended St Peter’s Church when I was home which is just across the field and would have been perfect for the ceremony.”
They decided they would have a marquee in the grounds to accommodate their 150 guests.
It all seemed so perfect.
But these dreams were dashed in November 2009 when disaster struck as Cumbria was hit by devastating floods, just eight months before the wedding.
“I remember on the day the floods started I was waiting for a train after uni in London and mum called to say it was raining pretty hard and that the water was coming across the field towards the house,” Emma, 27, recalls. “She didn’t seem very worried at that point.
“When I called her back a few hours later she said that they had started moving some things upstairs as the water was coming into the house.
“I remember I called back again not too long after and the landline was dead. Thank goodness for mobile phones!
“There was 3ft of water running through the house and that night they were rescued and stayed on a neighbour’s floor.
“Everyone was safe so that’s all that mattered.”
Mum Faith says they were so busy that they didn’t have time to think about the wedding and it was the next day that it was mentioned, after they’d returned to the house to see the damage in daylight.
“We could see the watermark which was just under a metre,” Faith remembers.
“Our antique piano was ruined, it was really sad.
“It did make us think how on earth will we ever clean it.
“We had a brief chat with Emma and said we would see what the damage was and see how quickly we could get it sorted out.”
The whole ground floor needed to be completely gutted.
They did think about looking for alternative venues but after checking out a few they knew it just wouldn’t be the same and as Faith and husband Richard were convinced they would be able to get the house back to normal they went ahead as planned and resolved to get things sorted as quickly as possible.
The water subsided really quickly from the garden, which was to be used for the marquee, but there were fallen trees and logs dotted around that needed clearing and new flower beds also needed creating.
Unfortunately the road to St Peter’s Church collapsed during the flood leaving it cut off so they relocated the ceremony venue to St Paul’s Church in Seaton.
“It was sad looking at other places as it wasn’t Emma’s dream,” says Faith. “Emma had her heart set on a reception at Camerton Hall.
“It was all centred around getting ready for the wedding so it was at the forefront of our minds.
“Once or twice we hit a low point. My focus was getting the house ready.
“Emma is one of the most organised people you could know and she came up with an itinerary and sourced everything she needed.”
Although Emma, a speech and language therapist, took charge of the wedding planning, mother and daughter made time for that all-important task of choosing Emma’s wedding dress.
“The first dress I saw was the one she eventually chose,” Faith recalls. “I cried when I saw it on her.”
The dress was a stunning Pronovias gown from The Wedding Warehouse in Carlisle.
Emma, with help from friends and family, designed and made everything, from invites to table runners and hundreds of purple origami flowers for the table centrepieces.
Mike’s mum made the bridesmaids’ dresses and a friend helped make a three-tier topsy turvy cake.
Emma and Mike, 24, were in their final year at university and as soon as they finished their final exams they came up to help out with the work – they had about a month before the wedding and did everything they could to help, from helping with decorating and plumbing to tiling.
“In the last week when I think most brides are pampering themselves or polishing up their first dance routine I was carrying floor tiles, bleeding radiators and icing the cake,” Emma says.
“I do remember someone asking me when the wedding was. When I replied in four days they looked me up and down and appeared unconvinced.
“I was probably looking a bit bruised and tired.
“The day before the wedding mum had arranged for some of her friends to come and try to sort out my nails and I had a massage to try and relieve some tension.”
The night before the wedding was wet and rainy and the bride was up at midnight fixing a door with her dad that had blown in and smashed some glass.
The marquee had also leaked so a friends was kept busy drying it out in the morning of the wedding while the bride had her hair done.
There were also chandeliers to be polished and general tidying up as decorators had been working the day before.
Despite everything that had happened, the wedding day turned out perfectly and ran to plan – the sun even came out in time to have photographs taken.
“It meant so much to us to share our day with all our family and friends and extra special to do it at Camerton Hall,” says Emma.
“They were all amazed with the house and people still talk about how wonderful the day was.
“We didn’t get everything finished in time and Camerton Hall certainly didn’t look as magnificent as it does today but it was perfect to us that day!”
On the day Faith says she knew she needed to relax and enjoy it and forget about everything that had happened.
“It was even better than we expected,” she says. “Guests knew we’d been flooded. It was lovely to open the house up to people.
“When we were looking at other venues we didn’t think anything was as nice as Camerton so we started to think we could offer it for weddings.”
So when the house was being restored they decided to create a catering kitchen, a bar and extra toilets and Camerton Hall has just got a licence to hold weddings and the first ceremony will take place later this month.
First published at 21:09, Wednesday, 06 June 2012
Published by http://www.cumberlandnews.co.uk
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