AS any bride or viewer of BBC Three’s ‘Don’t Tell The Bride’ will profess, arranging a wedding is a stressful time, but after getting married 15 years ago two Eyemouth couples decided to do it all again recently in the name of charity.
Elaine and John Peakman and Caroline and Paul Clough decided to tie the knot a second time following a suggestion from one of Elaine’s relatives, who complained that their family only saw each other at weddings, christenings and funerals.
That was in the summer of 2009 and with both couples nearing their 15th anniversary, her cousin’s quip set the cogs turning in Elaine’s head and after speaking to Caroline, the wedding bells began to ring again.
Elaine told ‘The Berwickshire News’: “Whilst at a cousin’s wedding a couple of years ago, I was outside talking to the father of the bride and we were
discussing the fact that our family, who are quite widespread, only really meet up at weddings, funerals and christenings and that there were no weddings after that one for the foreseeable future.
“He then suggested, for a joke, that we hold a ‘Wedding Without a Wedding’ and after giving it some thought I thought it would be a great way to raise some funds for a good cause. Then there’s the fact that I’m the baby of our family; some of my cousins are in their 70s so I didn’t really want to wait until our Silver Wedding to have a big celebration.
“After discussing it with John, Caroline and Paul and realising we’d both be married for 15 years in a few years time the plan was hatched.”
Unlike a lot of brides, who go into their wedding hoping that money is no object, Elaine and Caroline were determined to cut as many corners as they could so as much money as possible could go to their chosen charity, Macmillan Cancer Support.
So handmade invites were produced by their children, their wedding dresses were purchased from ebay for the bargain prices of £30 and £15 (Caroline being the slightly more thrifty!) and guests- who were asked to wear at least one item of pink to fit the theme- were told not to bring any gifts but to make a donation to the cause instead,
“Being married for 15 years it’s not like either couple really need anything for our houses,” Elaine continued. “So we told people to donate money to Macmillan; hoping that we’d raise about £1,000.
“We were so lucky to get a lot of things donated as well; we definitely weren’t short of support. We had food supplied; friends who work at Occasions gave us buttonholes and balloons and Douglas and his team from The Tavern ran a licensed bar.
“John and Paul decided to wear kilts that they already had and our great friend Kev decided to be ‘Kev the Rev’ for the night and perform the ceremony, complete with pink dog collar! He did an amazing job, with some really funny vows and stories about us all.
“All we had to do really was decorate the old high school hall where we decided to have the wedding and hope people would turn up!”
And turn up they certainly did, over 150 of them, all determined to have a good night in support of a valuable cause. The couples’ daughters Roma and Dani and Alex and Katie were bridemaids for the night, and Elaine admitted to getting goosebumps as everyone applauded her and John and Caroline and Paul to the tune of ‘Highland Cathedral’, played by members of Eyemouth Pipe Band.
And Elaine said the walk down the makeshift aisle certainly got both brides a bit choked up. Both women have lost their Dads, but stepping into their shoes and doing them proud were Elaine’s cousins Alex Craig and Neil Stott and Caroline’s dad best friend, Jimmy Virtue.
Caroline’s dad lost his battle with cancer which meant Macmillan was a charity particularly close to her heart.
So she and her fellow ‘newlyweds for the night’ were overjoyed to find out they’d raised £1,157 on the evening itself and a further £363 on JustGiving.
Elaine added: “It really made the four of us exceptionally humble that everyone had made such an effort and we really want everybody to know just how much it really meant to us.
Caroline’s Dad Reg had passed away from cancer and the Macmillan nurses were just a god-send for him and his family. It’s a tremendous charity that we were delighted to hand over the proceeds of the night to.”