Real life story - Wedding planner plans her own wedding - Emma Davidson (nee Eccleston)

Emma Davidson with husband Iain - their engagement photo shoot
Emma Davidson with husband Iain - their engagement photo shoot
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There aren’t many brides-to-be who are late walking down the aisle because they are too busy tweeting another man, but Emma Eccleston, now Davidson, is one of the guilty few.

Emma, 31, who lives in Inskip, near Preston, is a self confessed Formula One fanatic and her obsession was so great that her F1 hero 
David Coulthard was the inspiration behind her traditional “something blue” on her wedding day.

Emma explains: “I had my wedding shoes personalised and they were my ‘something blue’ and hand-made and customised.

“They had photographs of David Coulthard all over them and as he drives for Red Bull, they had the Red Bull logo all over them – which is blue.

“So in effect, my hero walked me down the aisle!

“I was so impressed with my wedding shoes, I took photos of them and tweeted them to David Coulthard on the morning of my wedding.

“I was actually late going down the aisle because I was so occupied with tweeting him.

“But David Coulthard did not tweet me back. He broke my heart on my wedding day!”

Luckily for Emma, her groom-to-be is also a massive F1 fan and the theme featured heavily in their wedding with the tables named after racing drivers – the top table naturally being Coulthard – the wedding cake featuring icing racing cars and stainless steel depictions of their favourite racing cars adorning the walls.

And the couple chose to get married at Emma’s workplace Stanley House as not only is it somewhere where Emma feels totally at ease and like she is in her second home, the venue holds a special place in their hearts as it is where they met seven years ago.

Emma recalls: “I was working here as a wedding planner and Iain started working in accounts in 2007.

“I wasn’t looking for a man at the time and I didn’t have a clue Iain liked me.

“I only found out during the Best Man’s speech on our wedding day that Iain had been plucking the courage up to ask me for weeks before he actually did it.

“It all started when he sent me a text message asking me what I was doing that weekend and I told him I was wallpapering.

“His response was, ‘What kind of gentleman would I be if I let you do that? Join me for a drink instead’.

“At the time, it seemed very casual so I thought it was just two friends going for a drink. But it ended up being a date.

“We just hit it off and had lots of similar interests such as football – we are both 
Blackburn Rovers fans – and Formula One and we didn’t stop talking all evening.

“You just know when it is right. I did not feel I had to ‘rehearse’ or have material ready to talk about. It was just so easy.

“That just sums up our whole relationship. It is very laid back and we never argue.”

Love blossomed for Emma and Iain, who is now a chartered management accountant, and it was when Iain went away to Las Vegas on holiday three months after they got together that Emma realised what an important part of her life he had become.

“I missed him so much and I realised he could be the one. And he bought me back a handbag from Vegas so he knew the way to my heart!”

Being a wedding planner, marriage and weddings were always on Emma’s mind and after she and Iain had been together for a few years, she casually began bringing up the subject of getting married, but Iain would always say no.

Emma explains: “I never actually proposed to Iain but I would ask him about marriage in conversation and say things like, ‘we should get married’ or, ‘let’s get married’ as we had been living together for five years.

“But Iain always said no and told me it was the man’s job to propose.

“I knew it was right and wanted to get married, but Iain dragged his feet!”

When Iain sprung his 
marriage proposal on Emma in February last year, he took her completely by surprise.

The couple went on holiday to Ballater in Scotland and Ian had planned a romantic proposal as they were skiing from the top of the mountain.

Emma says: “I had never been skiing before and I later found out that Iain had planned to propose on the mountain slopes.

“However, that week, the ski-lift broke down and quite a few people were hurt.

“So Iain reverted to Plan B which was to wait until the opportunity arose and propose to me then.

“After we checked out of the hotel, we decided to go for a walk.

“Whenever I go on holiday, I bring back a rock from my boss to go in her garden on her rockery.

“I decided to get her a rock from the river. I found one that looked like a potato and Iain told me to throw it back in the river.

“Then I found one that looked like it was in the shape of a heart and asked, ‘What about this one?’

“I was in the middle of the river, my hair was all wet and I was in my scruffy clothes.

“Iain told me the heart shaped rock was perfect. Then he said, ‘As you’ve got Wendy a rock, have a rock yourself’ and he produced the box with the ring in it.

“I always swore I would say ‘no’ if Iain proposed as I had asked him thousands of times and he had always said no. So I said no, but I had a huge smile on my face and snatched the ring really quickly, so he knew I didn’t mean it.”

Emma, who has been working at Stanley House for seven years and is the meeting and events manager and has seen at least 500 brides walk down the aisle in her capacity as wedding planner, then faced the task of planning her own wedding.

Emma says: “Iain always said I could plan a wedding with three phone calls – one to my dad and one to my sister to tell them I was engaged and one to the venue to get it booked.”

However, despite helping so many brides and grooms herself, Emma does not like being the centre of attention herself and wanted to feel relaxed and comfortable on her big day.

She explains: “When I was a child, I was an extremely shy girl and was always hiding behind my mum’s skirt.

“My mum always said I would work in a hotel as a part-time job and she thought it would really bring me out of my shell.”

While at college, Emma got a part-time job at Bartle Hall.

However, at the age of 16, tragedy struck after her mother Susan Eccleston died of ovarian cancer.

Emma, who was very close to her mum, was devastated and threw herself into work.

After working at Bartle Hall for a few years, Emma moved to Portsmouth for a couple of years and worked at a hotel there before returning to Lancashire where she worked at the Tickled Trout as reception manager until starting work at Stanley House in Mellor, near Blackburn in October 2006.

When it came to her own wedding, Emma knew Stanley House was the only venue for her.

“In my heart, I always knew I wanted to get married at Stanley House.

“We met there, so it was our special place.

“I have always been better at getting other people up the aisle and stepping back and knowing I have helped make their big day happen and that they are embarking on the next chapter of their life.

“But I don’t like being centre of attention myself. This stems from my shy childhood days.

“To get married at Stanley House, which is like my second home, made it seem less daunting.”

Emma was so relaxed and laid back about her own wedding, she unnerved some of the organisers such as the florist abd the table organisers with her calmness.

Emma explains: “I had the utmost confidence in them and told them to do what they liked. I knew they knew the venue inside out and that whatever they did would be brilliant.

“It really helped having the inside knowledge as a wedding planner.

“Planning my own wedding was the easiest thing I have ever done.

“It sounds corny, but I knew I was marrying the man I loved and the only thing I focused on was saying, ‘I do’.”

As well as having her customised David Coulthard wedding shoes, Emma had little frames of the deceased members of her family – including her beloved mum and grandparents – put into little frames which she intertwined into her wedding bouquet.

Emma says: “It was as though they were walking down the aisle with me.

“Everyone says the wedding dress is the biggest part of the day.

“But my shoes and bouquet stole the show on my day.”

In recognitions of the way Iain proposed, instead of place cards, Emma used pebbles on the tables with the name of each guest carefully written on them.

Emma says: “All these touches made it our day.”

Iain’s parents had booked a holiday of a lifetime to Finland to see the Northern Lights but when the friends they were supposed to go with couldn’t go, they asked Iain and Emma to join them instead.

Emma remembers: “It was absolutely amazing. On my 30th birthday, we were going across Finland on huskies.

“We had such a great holiday, we joked that we had already had our honeymoon before the wedding.

“We thought we would look for a last minute deal for a honeymoon, but to be honest, I didn’t give it another thought.”

Unbeknown to Emma, Iain had secretly booked an exotic honeymoon to Cancun im Mexico – something he only revealed to her on the actual wedding day just before the evening reception.

Emma says: “It was a real surprise to be told we were going to Cancun in three days.

“I had to quickly go out and buy summer clothes.

“We had a wonderful time in Mexico and it was all beautiful beaches and blue skies.

“The toughest thing was waiting until 10am when the bars opened to have our first cocktail of the day!”

As a wedding planner, Emma has seen it all as every bride is different. She has witnessed arrivals on tractor to country fete themes to owl ring bearers. Emma says: “Everyone has their own spin on their perfect day.

“We have had a few nightmares along the way, but we try our best to resolve them.

“Nightmares that happen before the day, you can solve; it is the ones that happen on the day that are more difficult.

“We once had a bride spill red wine down her wedding dress just before the wedding reception. She was totally devastated.

“However, we phoned a friend at a bridal company Amelia in Clitheroe and they came down and folded and pinned down her dress so you could not even tell it had 

“I have never had a no show at a wedding at Stanley House.

“But at a different venue I worked at, I once had a groom walk out after changing his mind after the wedding ceremony. He got up during the speeches, thanked his new bride for cheating on him and walked out.”