Surprise, surprise this is your big day
Last updated at 17:22, Friday, 22 June 2012
You may have seen the BBC 3 programme Don’t Tell The Bride and thought that only the bravest bride would hand over the planning of her wedding to her husband-to-be.
But for Julie Allen, handing over responsibility for her big day to her partner Tim Blundell proved that men do have what it takes to organise a perfect wedding.
It was after a family get-together with their seven children on New Years Eve that the couple, who have been together for 13 years, decided they’d get married.
But they made the unusual decision to not only keep their plans a secret but that Tim would do all the organising as a surprise for Julie.
“We were always going to get married but we both live busy lives and we knew we’d get round to it at some point,” Julie, a charity fundraiser at Hospice at Home Carlisle and north Lakeland, explains.
“We wanted our friends to come to a party and enjoy the celebration and not know anything about what it was for.
“Tim said he could organise it so I told him to get on and do it.
“I knew he knew me well. My job is arranging events and I was busy with work so I was glad the organising of the wedding was out of my hands.”
Tim, owner of The Toy Chest in Keswick and Bowness-on-Windermere, asked Julie what she’d like and she said something cosy and quirky with close family and friends and a party in the evening – these were the only guidelines he had.
In January Tim told Julie that he had found the venue and that she didn’t need to worry and although she did end up knowing the name of the venue when they arranged the civil ceremony she hadn’t heard of it and didn’t look it up on the internet.
“We didn’t discuss it as Tim was keeping it all a secret,” she says. “I had no worries and I enjoyed the secrecy of it.
“I’m a laid back person.
“I had 110 per cent confidence in him.”
Julie did want to choose her dress and those of her bridesmaids and this, along with the flowers, was the only part she played in the organisation and Tim was happy for her to organise this.
As nobody else knew they were engaged or getting married Julie went to choose her dress on her own.
When she told Jacinta Cooper, of KoKoa Bride in Penrith, about their secret wedding she made sure Julie could use the side door to the shop to avoid her being seen going in and arousing suspicions.
Julie chose a stunning rose petal pink taffeta fitted mermaid dress by Veromia.
“We both love dancing and I wanted a dress I could swish about in,” she laughs. “I thought Tim would organise something that had lots of dancing in it and the dress was perfect for this.”
For her three bridesmaids – Kimberley and Nadine Allen and Charli Jo Blundell – she chose nude strapless cocktail dresses and chose the flowers for the wedding party, which included country wild flowers, a floral hair piece for herself and thistles for the men’s buttonholes, from Greenwheat Flowers.
As time was drawing closer to the wedding Tim and Julie, who live in Yanwath near Penrith and are both 47, agreed to tell the close family and friends coming for the day that a surprise party would be taking place in case people booked a holiday.
“We told them our secret,” Julie remembers.
“Tim also organised invites for the evening guests saying it was a surprise party for me and not to tell anyone and he’d reveal the venue two days before on his website.”
Julie also told her mum Irene Caruthers six weeks before the big day, as they were walking past KoKoa Bride and she pointed out her dress.
When it came to the big day, Julie says she wasn’t nervous and was thrilled when she realised Tim had organised the perfect wedding.
He told the bride and bridesmaids to come in wellies in case it was muddy and he organised for their new car – a white Golf Cabriolet convertible – to pick the bride up to take her to the wedding as a surprise as it was the first time she’d seen it.
“As we drove to the venue my brother Ian gave me a note to say Sarah would be there to meet me,” explains Julie.
“I remembered a story I’d told Tim about a dream I’d had a long time ago that my dad and I rode on donkeys to my wedding.”
When they arrived at the venue – Knipe Hall, near Askham – a donkey called Sarah was waiting to escort her to the ceremony.
There were 27 guests during the day and the venue was decorated with white bunting and candles and Tim had organised a bouncy castle for the children.
The couple’s eight-year-old son Max Blundell,who didn’t know anything about the wedding planning, gave Julie away and was also the ring bearer.
After the ceremony they enjoyed a four course meal, with catering by Purple Sage.
Julie hadn’t expected a wedding cake but Tim hadn’t forgotten this either and completely blew her away with the personal touches.
The toppers to the two-tier chocolate sponge cake were the bride wearing her favourite white sunglasses and the groom beside a stream as he’s a white water kayaker.
There were also seven bears on the cake, to signify Tim’s job and a bear for each of their children.
“I didn’t even think we were having a cake,” Julie says. “There were also sunflowers which relate to hospice care.
“It really touched me that he had thought of it.”
Although Tim had said the wedding day wouldn’t be too traditional there were speeches and Max also gave a speech.
There were more than 100 guests at the evening party and as they arrived it all became clear what they were there to celebrate.
“They didn’t know what they were coming to,” Julie laughs. “A lot came in jeans and I loved the fact people were dressed casually.
“Some of them thought it was an engagement party or a special birthday for me.”
Tim had asked guests to bring buffet food and refreshments to share and a ceilidh helped keep the party going until the early ours.
Julie didn’t think they would have a first dance but Tim had mixed her favourite salsa track with Take That’s Greatest Day and he told her to follow his lead when they danced.
“I was on a high all day,” Julie says. “I didn’t have any nerves.
“I was so relaxed that I ended up dancing down the aisle.
“The day relayed who we are. There was nothing I would have added to the day if I was doing it myself.
“There were actually things I wouldn’t have thought of myself. Tim didn’t have anyone to help him.”
The newlyweds spent another night at Knipe Hall on their own and will take a family holiday later in the year.
First published at 21:09, Wednesday, 06 June 2012
Published by http://www.cumberlandnews.co.uk