When Lisa Boulton and Staffordshire groom Craig Brown married in a church ceremony early last year, it was the happy ending it had taken them almost 20 years to achieve.
They first met when Lisa was 17 and Craig 19, but due to enough ill-timed encounters to make a rom-com lover proud, the pair weren’t able to finally get together properly until several years ago.
“Craig and I met when I had a Saturday job in the Tea by the Tree Cafe in the Potteries Shopping Centre. He used to come down and order his bacon butty and coffee and I would be either working on the till or making the sandwiches. I wore an awful uniform and he never really noticed me,” says Lisa with a laugh at the memory.
“One night my friends organised a night out to Valentino’s nightclub in Stoke on Trent and surprisingly my friends boyfriend was with Craig. We got chatting and I confessed that I make his breakfast on Saturday morning and he asked if he could take me for lunch the next day, so I agreed.”
After their first date everything seemed to be going swimmingly, until Craig confessed that in the summer he was due to go out to work in Benitses, Corfu.
“I was sad, but we were getting on so well I just went with the flow, not allowing myself to fall for him, although little did I know he fell for me. He went to Corfu as planned in those days mobile phones didn’t exist so that was that.”
Over the next few months Lisa started to date somebody else, but never forgot about Craig. Then after about nine months she got a call out of the blue Craig inviting her out for a drink.
“I did meet up with him, but by now I had a boyfriend. Over the next few months I remained in contact with Craig met up with him occasionally and then at Christmas he gave me an ultimatum, I had to ditch the boyfriend if I wanted to continue to see him!
“I did of course want to do this, but at Christmas? So I brought some more time until Christmas Eve and I got a phone call from Craig saying come on baby, let’s spend Christmas together. However I just hadn’t got it in my heart to finish with the other boy so close to Christmas so I laughed it off telling him I needed to wait until after Christmas.”
True to her word she finished with her boyfriend after Christmas and in the new year phoned Craig to give him the good news only to discover that he had met another girl Christmas Eve and wanted to give his new relationship a chance.
“Bad timing again! Obviously devastated I walked away and Craig spent the next 13 years with the woman he also married. I of course got on with my life dated other people and in 2003 was in a serious relationship and had my first child, Jack.” However her relationship wasn’t to last and at the age of 28 Lisa found herself a single mum.
“Although I had a very good career in the IT Recruitment Industry it wasn’t where I really pictured myself! It was hard work bringing up a child and working full time but when I look back it was the making of me, I moved house and just got on with life but had no real love interest and certainly no time to go out and meet somebody.”
It was then a friend convinced her to try internet dating and she uploaded her details.
Meanwhile, Craig, who now owned Potteries Golf Centre in Staffordshire had been told by a sales rep in the shop about an internet site where he had met some lovely girls.
“He called up the internet dating website closest postcode. Craig put the postcode of the shop into the search engine and as they were scrolling down the page and a picture of me popped up.
“Craig said ‘Oh my God, I used to date her years ago’ and turned completely white apparently,” says Lisa with a laugh. “He sent a message to me via a friend that he wanted to meet up and even better... he was now single, so I invited him round for coffee.
This time things went so well that Craig and Lisa moved in together and in March 2011 Craig proposed, down on one knee, in a restaurant in Leeds they had visited on their first romantic trip away.
“A waiter came over with chamagne and in my champagne glass was an ring, I said yes immediately!” says Lisa.
The couple planned their wedding for Friday, May 11, 2012 at St Luke’s Church, Endon, Staffordshire with a wedding reception at Belle Epoque in Knutsford, Cheshire.
“Both Craig and I knew what we didn’t want for our wedding, which made the planning easier,” said Lisa. “Also my sister had gotten married the year previously so we used some of the same people she did and also took a lot of recommendations from friends.
“I searched a few places for my wedding dress, then my sister suggested going to Maria Modes Bridalwear in Macclesfield where I found a Maggie Sottero Miri dress. It was in Diamond White with a sweetheart neckline, fitted bodice and netted chiffon with a pearl and diamnate brooch on the left hip and spannish ruffles in chiffon,” said Lisa.
She matched the dress with Badgley Mischka shoes she disovered at TK Maxx and wore a matching pearl and diamante clip in her hair from Maria Modes where she also purchased cocktail style adult bridemaids dresses in a raspberry pink shade for her sister Kirsty Rhodes and friend Jacqueline Hancock.
Flower girls, Poppy Lyons-Rhodes, aged seven at the time of the wedding and Gracie Mensing, aged six, wore dresses from Accessories in a raspberry pink shade which Lisa had bows added to so they matched the bridesmaid dresses.
The theme for the wedding was black tie so her son Jack, who was their pageboy for the occassion wore a black tuxedo, along with all the men in the wedding party and the male guests.
Lisa and Craig decided upon two different florists to do the flowers, one for the church celemony and bouquets, Annette’s Florists from and Knutsford Blooms who created the floral decorations for the reception.
The transport for the day was a white BMW X5, kindly provided by a good friend of the bride and groom, Tim Sherwin, who was also the best man along with second best man Anthony Clayton. The bridesmaids were chauffered in a white Range Rover Sport belonging to Craig’s sister, Angela, with both cars decorated to match.
At the wedding ceremony Lisa was given away by her grandad Derick Roylance as her father had passed away six years ago and Craig and Lisa exchanged platinum rings by Crystalline Elements based in the Jewellery Quarter, Birmingham. Readings were also given by Lisa’s mum, Sandra and sister Kirsty.
“The church ceremony was absolutely beautiful,” said Lisa. “It was wonderful, personal and light hearted, everything I imagined it would be and better.”
Guests at the reception were greeted with a glass of pink champagne, with beer or a soft drink available if preferred, while a saxophonist The Sax Man played.
“The idea had been to go up on to the roof terrace, but because of the weather we stayed inside, but he was fabulous and really helped set the mood,” says Lisa happily.
A sit down wedding breakfast was followed by speeches where Lisa says the two bestmen tried their best to outshine one another.
Authenticake, based in Newcastle Under Lyme, made the wedding cake which Lisa says was ‘simplistic but beautiful’. The square four tier affair had two small layers of lemon sponge, a middle sized layer flavoured with baileys and a chocolate sponge as the largest layer, all iced in an off white shade and topped with a tulip dusted with raspberry pink powder and diamante to match the colourscheme of the day.
Entertainment for the evening was provided by Blakpool based band The Deadbeats, who played a variety of music from The Killers to swing music as well as the Jason Murz song I Wont Give Up which was for the couple’s first dance. “The words to the song mean something to us,” says Lisa simply.
To record the day for posterity was London based photographer Samuel Waters who had been recommended by a friend.
“We did end up hiring people from all across the country, but we just got lots of recommendadtions from people. It was a wonderful wonderful day and we just couldn’t have topped it.
“Now we are happily married and getting on with life, bulding on our foundation.” The happy copuple spent a romatic honeymoon in three different locations, firstly Bangkok where they spent three nights before travelling to Kohsamui in Koh, as island in Thailand for five nights, before being taken by speedboat to another island, Kohphangan where they stayed a further seven nights.
Lisa added: “The whole wedding was everything I dreamed of and more. I was never one of those girls who dreamed about their wedding day, but it was so amazing I would do it all again tomorrow!”