Couple headed to 'first date' pub after romantic proposal by the river

20 Apr 2018

Rivers have played a huge role in the lives of Rose and Andrew McMullan. They met by a river, Andrew proposed by a river and - you've guessed it, they celebrated their wedding next to a river.  Read this romantic story of a Suffolk countryside wedding.

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Fish and chips in a Suffolk pub turned into a romantic red letter day for teacher Rose Thompson. It was the night that boyfriend Andrew got down on one knee and proposed.

Two days before Christmas 2015, the pair were getting ready for an evening out at the Butt and Oyster, Pin Mill, the scene of their first date some five years earlier. However, Rose felt something wasn’t quite right.

She explained: “We were spending Christmas with my family, and that particular evening Andrew was acting a bit funny. I put his odd behaviour down to him missing his parents, who were on holiday in America.

“Anyway, he suggested we head down to the river before going to the pub. I thought it was a bit odd to be going for a wander as it was quite cold, and I was a bit reluctant to go. But, I’m so glad I did – when we got there, he got down on one knee and proposed. It was so emotional, we both cried.

“Afterwards, we headed back to the Butt and Oyster for fish and chips and it gave us a chance to have a chat before we broke the news to our families. Andrew asked me if we wanted to wait a few years  but I said no, I wanted to do it as soon as possible.”

A river runs through the story of their love

Rivers play a large part in the couple’s lives. They met at the Shipwreck pub, which is in Shotley marina where Andrew was working at the time.  He grew up in Burnham on Crouch in Essex, also by the river. They held their reception by the River Orwell.

“As we met, got engaged and married next to a river, rivers feature highly in our lives. My dad made a lot of references to rivers in his speech!” said Rose – now Rose McMullan.

They briefly thought about booking a fancy restaurant for the big day but didn’t feel that would reflect their personalities. Instead, they set about planning their Suffolk countryside wedding using Rose’s multi-talented family to pull it all together. 

“I’m very lucky to have a large group of aunties and friends who all pitched in to help.  My auntie made the bunting, my grandmother made the wedding cake,  and my bridesmaids and I made our own bouquets – which was great fun.  Also, Andy's sister made personalised jewellery for the bridesmaids.

“We spent the day before the wedding with family and friends,  decorating the church and the barns at the reception venue with hundreds of colourful flowers.    

Rose drew the line at making her dress, though, and had an “amazing time” choosing her gown at David’s Bridal in Stratford, London. Her ivory dress had blue hues, echoing the colour of her wedding car.

The couple were married on August 12, last year, at the village church in Shotley where Rose grew up. She arrived in a vintage baby blue Cadillac, courtesy of her uncle – a classic car enthusiast – and left in a horse-drawn carriage organised by her mum. 

“I was a bit confused when I came out and saw a horse and carriage outside the church. I thought it must have been for someone else. Apparently, you have to get all sorts of permissions to bring it across the fields, and it was all done while we were in the church.”

The couple held their reception at Orwell View Barns, Hill House Farm, for 120 guests. “Our reception was laid back – everyone sat around in the sun eating pizza and paella and gorgeous local ice cream from Alder Tree.” 

In the evening they and their guests moved to a marquee overlooking the River Orwell where they tucked into a ploughman's-themed buffet, with music performed by an acoustic guitarist. From eight to midnight, disco music provided by a DJ friend of the couple filled the air. 

The celebrations lasted through the night and beyond

The party didn’t stop there. “After midnight my husband had organised a silent disco which went on until nearly 4am. One of the channels contained a playlist of 70s, 80s and Abba music, while the other channel was all drum and base. It was really funny watching people dancing to the different styles. 

“Everyone said what a great party and celebration it was. As we stayed overnight at the venue with our families, we all enjoyed the next day together, when we had a barbecue and ate the wedding cake.”

As for the engagement ring, it could almost have been a deal-breaker. 

“I like vintage jewellery, opals and sapphires and Andrew knew this, but the ring he chose was a plain Tiffany-style diamond. He said he wanted me to have something classic and, in his defence, he did take his mum along for advice. 

“I had the last word, though. I made sure I chose a vintage wedding ring!”

• We’d love to hear about your marriage proposal. Was it memorable for all the right – or all the wrong reasons? Email anne.gillion@archant.co.uk with your story.

Image of bride outside church:  Bride's own

Other Images: Head Over Heels Photography

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