The Real Thing – Jo & Steve

Jo & Steve married on 9th July 2022 at Hotel Football, Old Trafford

Photography: Teresa C Photography

We first met in a local pub. I had gone to the bar when Steve asked if he could buy me a drink and that was it – we decided there and then that we were fated to meet and spent the night chatting, dancing and laughing. I floated home that night, super-excited to find out more about this gorgeous, funny guy. He asked if he could take me out on my birthday and it was more of the same – we just knew that our time had come, we’d found each other at last! 

When it came to the proposal…I had two! The first was in December 2018 on a frosty day at Rivington Pike. It’s such a special place for me, fond memories of walks in all weathers with my grandparents. We reached the top and Steve surprised me with a ring and the question! My mind was blown, it was such a surprise, and I didn’t hesitate. I couldn’t wait to marry him and start the planning. Little did we know…

The second proposal took place on July 2020 – that lost summer of wonderful plans – our original Wedding Date. The day fell when the friends and family covid rules were in place, so we could have a small garden party. My family had given Steve some friendly stick about not going down on one knee at Rivington Pike, so when we were all together, he presented me with the most beautiful emerald eternity ring and yes, he was on one knee! What could have been a thoroughly depressing day was made wonderful by being near precious people with the most thoughtful fiancé I could ever have wished for. 

We chose St Matthew’s Church in Stretford for the ceremony. I grew up with the view of the church from my bedroom window so walking through those doors on my dad’s arm with my daughters and best friend behind me as I walked towards Steve was truly wonderful.

Choosing the reception venue was the most challenging part. I visited venues across Cheshire, Lancashire and Manchester – every one of them was beautiful – but I didn’t get the feeling. I work with Little White Books so had a trusty, experienced team at my disposal who told me to keep looking and when I found it, I’d know – and I did. Hotel Football had everything on our list. City views, outside space with access to the Bridgewater Canal, plenty of rooms for our guests to stay over, a big reception space and an even bigger space for dancing – so we booked the whole venue exclusively and moved from floor to floor. We began in the terrace bar with spectacular views of the Manchester skyline and then finished with dancing in the basement room beside the water. Absolutely everything we wanted and more. 

When it came to wedding suppliers, I found the Little White Books wedding app, WedMin247 and their website, really helped. I made lists of the most important things and was able to plan and budget for the day.

After cancelling our wedding day for two consecutive summers, I had completely fallen out of love with my original wedding dress, but after spending an afternoon with Amber at Emma-Louise Bridal, my mood completely switched and couldn’t wait to choose my accessories and start planning my hair and make-up. I tried on so many different options, but when I pulled the curtain back wearing Celaya and my mum and daughters cried, I knew I’d found my dress. It was the best feeling in the world, and I couldn’t wait for Steve to see me in it. 

I had met my Makeup Artist, By Lydia Marie, lots of times while working at wedding fairs. I loved her style, but my budget could only stretch to her being there in the morning. My amazing friend and co-worker at Little White Books, Beks, paid the difference as a gift so Lydia could be there all day, and I’m so glad that she did. Lydia was an absolute dream, she made me look and feel incredible. I can’t tell you how good it was to have her there for makeup retouches after the tearful bits, and I got to change my look for the evening reception.

Another person I couldn’t have been without was Teresa C our photographer. We opted for the Day and Night package, so we got her full attention from bridal prep to our first dance, and it was money well spent. She’s caught everything, I felt like a celebrity with my own stylist and photographer – booking the right suppliers really does make it the best day of your life. 

It was very handy having a graphic designer in the family for our invitations and table plan – huge shout out to my brother, Steven, especially as he had to re-do them three times due to the pandemic.

We had decided that our budget wouldn’t allow for wedding transport, but Steve and Beks surprised me on the day when a 1946 Beauford, supplied by Horgans, appeared at my front door. Much better than my brother-in-law Gary’s campervan!

For our first dance we decided on The Real Thing by Lisa Stansfield. I mentioned it to my brother Steven, who made some calls and managed to make a connection with Lisa. As we took to the dancefloor, there was an ‘error’ with the sound system, both Steve and I whipped round to see what was going on and there on the big screen was Lisa Stansfield herself, sending us a message of love and congratulations. The whole room went WILD! The dancefloor was full for the entire evening – classic Haçienda tracks, all the Manchester indie classics, mixed with a good dose of Simply Red and ABBA, dancing competitions and several almost dangerous falls.

Being able to finally get together and have fun with family and friends was the real highlight of the day for us. Our guests loved the speeches, my dad had everyone in stitches and my brother-in-law Gary’s speech was wonderfully emotional, and the dancing – it was like being in a nightclub filled with people you love.

My advice to couples starting to plan their wedding would be to download the WedMin247 planning app and start listing suppliers you want, visit wedding fairs (Little White Books ones of course!) and get your venue booked as soon as possible. I would also recommend booking an all-day Makeup Artist and photographer if you can. Finally, on your day, try to hold on to every second. We finally found The Real Thing, and we’re never letting it go!

99 Sir Matt Busby Way, Stretford, Manchester M16 0SZ









Cake: Crackin Cakes by Janice

DJ: Jayson Ross

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