Tags: Berkshire

Why we chose 29th February 2004 as our wedding date

15 Jan 2020

Catherine Scott married husband Robin on a leap day, with a very special meaning behind their chosen wedding date

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When Robin Scott proposed to Catherine in summer 2003, the couple set about finding the perfect wedding date - one that proved memorable enough so neither of them would forget it. 

It was Catherine's mum, Julia Hackman, who suggested 29th February 2004 - her birthday. Julia was born on 29th February 1940 in Reading during World War II. Her father, Edwin Curling - known as Ted, was called up to join the army in 1941 and had already left by the time she came to celebrate her first birthday. He also missed her second and third birthdays. 

In 1944 - a leap year, Julia had her first 'real' birthday and fortunately her father was at home on leave to celebrate with her, before leaving again to prepare for the landings in Normandy on D-Day. Ted was then away for all her birthdays until he was demobbed in 1947 and came home to celebrate her eighth birthday on 29th February 1948. They held a big party to mark the occasion. 

Julia's leap year birthdays became a tradition to celebrate in style every four years, with her family organising big parties, special holidays and giving her lavish gifts. 

Commenting on the moment her mum suggested her birthday for their wedding date, Catherine says: "Initially I was very opposed to this, it was always her day and I didn’t want to detract from that but she insisted it would be a perfect way for her to celebrate too – at the same time as her only daughter’s wedding."

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Above: The happy couple and Catherine's parents, Julia and Christopher Hackman

The couple eventually settled on this date and decided upon a very traditional wedding, Robin was serving in the Army Reserve (TA) at the time so it was a military wedding with the ceremony at their local church in Caversham, Reading - where Catherine's parents had married 42 years before. A reception for 100 guests followed at Phyllis Court Club in Henley-on-Thames.

Catherine continues: "Our choice of wedding date turned out to be the best decision we ever made as sadly my mum was diagnosed with cancer 18 months after our wedding and passed away before her next ‘real’ birthday.

"We continue to only celebrate our anniversary on 29th February, every leap year, just as my mum did. Naturally, it is always a slightly bittersweet celebration, but we are so pleased we chose that date and kept it as a special day in our family."

Catherine and Robin run Celebration Cakes by Catherine Scott, a cake making business covering Berkshire and Oxfordshire. For more information and to view Catherine's work, visit catherines-cakes.co.uk

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