Tags: Yorkshire

A Day to remember...

20 Sep 2011

A Day to remember...

Jo and Matthew Long shared their wedding date with another couple –

PrinceWilliam and Kate Middleton!

Image gallery

Image gallery

The wedding of Jo Shannon & Matt Long

By Jo

Matthew and I met through work, the ultimate opposites: sales (me) and production (Matthew) – or ‘sales prevention’ as it’s often termed by sales people! It was a friendship that grew and we still argue about who kissed who first. Given that Matthew is a foot taller than I am, I stand by the fact it couldn’t be me (“Jo definitely kissed me first,” says Matthew).

Our relationship has always been based on fun, and we had a great time together travelling the world – Australia, Thailand, Vietnam and South America. The Galapagos Islands was the highlight, just before we found out I was pregnant with our daughter, Evie. Just under two years later we found out I was pregnant with Zachary, who was born when Evie was two and a half.

Having developed our relationship backwards compared to most, Matthew decided to propose while we were on holiday in Portugal with some very close friends, Becky and Bertie, our children and their children. We drove out to watch the

sunset at Cape St Vincent, and while Becky and I were enjoying a bottle of Chablis, I turned round to speak to Matthew and he was down on one knee! I was almost speechless (a miracle, some would say) and thought that he was joking. I quickly realised he wasn’t, and said yes – to which he then produced a chilled bottle of bubbly, which

we shared between the four of us. It was a truly romantic moment.

On the morning of the wedding, I was awake at 6.15am, full of excitement. I started the day with a cup of tea in bed at home, preparing to be interviewed on the phone by Radio Leeds due to Matthew and I getting married on the same day as Prince William and Kate Middleton.

After I’d left the house with Evie to head to the venue, the Wentbridge Hall Hotel, Matthew and ‘the boys’ arrived at home to get ready. “We all had a round of Black Velvets (Guinness and Champagne) – a great way to start a wedding day,” says Matthew.

“Our photographer was there capturing some of those funny moments but I could tell he was hanging around to catch

something else before he set off to the venue itself… and then it arrived, my transport to the wedding: a 1967 spilt-screen VW camper called Dillon, a great gift from my best man.”

Jo resumes: Once ‘the girls’ arrived at Wentbridge, I was quickly ushered to my room for the day (and the night) in the original part of the hotel, then spent the next few hours having my hair and make-up done, and sharing some rather lovely bubbly.

Those few hours seemed to fly by. There was plenty of excitement in the room that afternoon – with children in and out, our wedding planner Kelly checking on the final arrangements, and unwrapping my beautiful bouquet and the buttonholes. I peeked out of the window to see the boys arrive, which really heightened the excitement!

Once I was in my dress, I felt amazing. Jon from S6 Photography was taking shots of me getting ready, and two of my closest friends were with me. There were smiles of joy, and a bit of panic when we realised what time it was.

Once Dad arrived, the girls left us to have a few moments alone. We shared a glass of bubbly and toasted the day. Finally, it was ‘time’, and the adrenaline really kicked in. Dad and I walked down to the ceremony room. Mum was there to greet us with Evie and Zac, the doors opened, and they were walking down the aisle in front of me. I heard

the music and panicked, thinking we were late setting off, so I almost ran down the aisle until Dad slowed me down. Looking around,

I saw all my family and friends, smiling and waiting to share the day with us. It was fantastic. Once I met Matthew at the end of the aisle, everything seemed to go so fast. The registrar started the ceremony, then came the readings, we said our vows and suddenly we were signing the register. Then we were facing our guests as husband and wife, which

was a fantastic experience. I just wanted to hug everyone on the way out. Neither of us could stop smiling.

Once we had left the room, Jon managed to catch a sneaky shot of us grabbing a quick ‘first’ kiss – which we didn’t

realise until we saw the photos – as well as an amazing shot of the back of my dress. We walked down the corridor together and suddenly we were outside in the amazing sunshine. We welcomed each of our guests while the bubbly was shared out, then it was time for everyone to kick back, relax, and enjoy some beautiful wine and canapés.

Matthew and I sneaked off for a couple of photos together. Dad started the speeches and was amazing – plenty of laughs and plenty of sentiment. He passed on to Matthew, who also did a fantastic job. Finally it was time for

Nick, the best man, to speak: he was absolutely great, very funny, had obviously done plenty of research, and wasn’t too close to the bone! After that, time seemed to fly. We welcomed the day and evening guests through a line-up, and suddenly were entering the Crystal Room, where our tables were set up and our guests were welcoming ‘Mr and Mrs Long’! Eeeeek, that still gives me goosebumps!

The room looked amazing, including the beautiful chair covers, and the amazing lilies in the bowls. The band absolutely met our expectations, and, without question, our guests had brought with them a great party spirit. As many know, Matthew and I always aim to be ‘last man standing’ at any party, and our wedding wasn’t an exception. The final hours of the evening were shared with some very close friends, new and old, some rather gorgeous bubbly, and plenty of stories – a great end to a great day!

Technically we didn’t have a honeymoon, but we went on a family holiday to Portugal. We will also have a weekend away together in the Lakes and the chance to celebrate my friend Elaine’s wedding in Ireland in August – so actually three honeymoons!

Jo & Matt recommend:


Wentbridge House

01977 620444,



Jon Dennis, S6 Photography

0114 234 0295,



Rosa Rugosa

07802 874884,


Bridal Gown:

The Bridal Boutique of Leeds

01943 884488


Wedding Planner:

Boho Weddings & Events

07989 431821 / 0114 2854532


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