LEP Feature Wedding: ‘Strictly Come Dancing’ ruined Vicky and Phil’s first official date!

Phil Elliott and Vicky Holmes tied the knot at the Shireburn Arms. Photos by Jonathan Bean Photography - www.beanphoto.co.uk
Phil Elliott and Vicky Holmes tied the knot at the Shireburn Arms. Photos by Jonathan Bean Photography - www.beanphoto.co.uk
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They moved in together before becoming an item, and booked a wedding venue before even getting engaged, but things couldn’t have worked out better for Phil Elliott and Vicky Holmes.

Vickey even got ahead of herself and bought a bottle of fizz when she suspected Phil was going to pop the question.

“I do like to remind Phil that since we lived together first, he knew exactly what he was getting himself in to when he gets annoyed at how much I like to clean or my love of Hollyoaks!”

Vicky Holmes

There were a few difficulties leading up to the pair saying ‘I do’ though, from a diastrous first date to Phill working abroad for a year, -but they stuck together and said their vows at the Shireburn Arms near Clitheroe on May 23.

Vicky, a quality manager, explains: “We did everything a bit backwards and lived together before we were a couple. We had both moved from the North East to Lancashire to work for the same company on a chemical manufacturing plant, and met for the first time in 2009 on a plant tour that Phil was giving.

“Towards the end of 2009 I was looking for somewhere else to live and Phil’s house mate had moved out; since we had been getting on so well it made sense to house share .

“From this point on we started spending more time together, including a disastrous trip to Blackpool to see the illuminations in December – who knew the country’s most famous Christmas lights were taken down well before Christmas?

“There were no illuminations; the Pleasure Beach and top of The Tower were closed due to high winds and the rest of The Tower was closed due to Strictly Come Dancing filming!

“With nothing to do and absolutely terrible weather we wandered up and down the sea front in the pouring rain laughing at how terrible the outing was.

“Over the next couple of months we grew closer and closer and by Christmas we were a couple.

“I do like to remind Phil that since we lived together first, he knew exactly what he was getting himself in to when he gets annoyed at how much I like to clean or my love of Hollyoaks!”

She added: “Over the next few years Phil, a chemical engineer, worked away a lot, including a 12-month stint in Chicago, several months in Saudi Arabia and 12 months backwards and forwards to India.

“We decided to stick together and eventually Phil decided to come back and we bought our first house together and returned to normality.”

The proposal was also a bit ‘backwards’ too, after the couple agreed on a wedding venue before even discussing getting hitched!

“We found The Shireburn Arms when we went on a walk,” Vicky says. “We sat in the garden enjoying a beer and a snack and said there and then that if we were to get married we’d do it there.

“Out of curiosity we asked how far in advance it got booked up and after deciding we wanted to get married in May or September – the best chances for rain-free days in the Ribble Valley – we booked a date 20 months away, before any questions had been popped or rings bought.

“We kept things quiet as Phil likes tradition and wanted to ‘do it properly’ and for it to be a surprise.

“Somehow he managed to sneak out and buy a ring without me knowing and book a table at our favourite place to eat, the Freemasons at Wiswell , on the anniversary of the date we first moved in together.

“On the way to the restaurant Phil started to talk about how it was the anniversary and how well we worked as a couple, and when I realised we were going to the Freemasons I thought ‘this is it, he’s going to propose’.

“So when we got there I ordered myself some fizz and started to get excited.

“One course passed and there was no proposal, then two and I thought ‘he’ll definitely do it over dessert’.

“But no! No proposal.

“So we went home with me thinking maybe he’s going to do it at home, and instead, he took a nap!

“Then eventually I decided to wake him up and disappear off up to bed, where I found a huge bunch of flowers.

“Phil had followed and being the true traditionist that he is, got down on one knee and asked me to marry him.”

The couple enjoyed a rain-free wedding day with afternoon tea, close family and friends.