We’re celebrating PRIDE month with one of our favourite real wedding stories ever!
With multiple chance encounters, an onion ring proposal and a fake wedding show around at Wynyard Hall, Michael and Peter’s love story is certainly serendipitous.
MEET THE GROOMS
Michael Darrant-Parkes – Inside Sales Specialist & Radio Presenter (Pride Radio 89.2FM & online) – 26yrs
Peter Darrant-Parkes – CEO, Pride World Media Ltd & Breakfast Show Presenter (Pride Radio 89.2FM & online) – 48yrs (didn’t I do well!)
CAN YOU TELL US A LITTLE ABOUT HOW YOU MET?
Michael: We found each other on social media and connected through mutual friends; we then kept bumping into one another at pride events in Manchester and in Gran Canarias – the rest is history.
Peter: Ok, I’ll admit it…I stalked him a bit online. He always posted fun comments and his videos made me smile. We then kept on seeing each other at events. Out of tens of thousands of people, we’d end up standing next to one another at a bar or turning a street corner at the same time. I remember the first time I saw him and thinking ‘he’d look good in the wedding photos’. Little did I realise that three years later, he’d be my husband.
AND THE PROPOSAL…
Michael: I knew Peter was the one from our first proper date, I mean if anyone pops a battered onion ring on your finger on the first date, he’s a keeper, right?
Peter: Let me explain that. After a year of seeing one another at events and sending the odd flirty message, we finally arranged to meet up. This was the second time we decided to set a date (the first time he didn’t show up – but let’s not go there!). We went for dinner, ordered, and when the food arrived – a delicious steak – it had a giant onion ring on it. So, I quickly popped it on his finger, just as the waiter came back to the table, and said would you marry me. He laughed, the waiter looked shocked and I thought it wasn’t a bad idea.
Don’t worry – that wasn’t THE proposal.
A year later we were celebrating his birthday and I took him to Wynyard Hall for afternoon tea. I asked him if he was good at acting as I’d arranged for the wedding co-ordinator to give us a show around of the building as a potential wedding venue. We were going to pose as two happily engaged people looking for our perfect wedding day venue.
So, Michael grasped the opportunity and played up to it. He walked around asking if antique carpets could be replaced, walls painted, pictures moved. I couldn’t stop laughing as the wedding team looked on in horror.
We then provisionally popped a date in the diary and drove home. The conversation was about the day, how fun it had been and if we were to marry, it would be at Wynyard. And that got me to thinking.
Two weeks later I’d arranged with the team at Wynyard to propose to Michael. The team were amazing, they let us have the ballroom to ourselves, and I went down on one knee, he said yes and the Wynyard team ran in with champagne – it was perfect.
WHAT MADE YOU CHOOSE WYNYARD HALL FOR YOUR WEDDING?
Peter: Before I became CEO of Pride World Media, I presented a nightly television show on local TV in the North East. We visited Wynyard Hall on several occasions filming the gardens and events and I fell in love in with the building. It simply has the wow factor.
I always thought that it would be the venue to say ‘I do’ in…..and thanks to the great team at Wynyard, I got my wish.
Michael: All the rooms are amazing however it’s the grounds that stand out for me. From arriving over the stone bridge to the views from the terrace, it simply is stunning.
Peter: I agree. It’s that sense of arrival you get that stands out. I do love the reception area as the stained glass ceiling is breath-taking.
WHAT COLOUR SCHEME AND FLOWERS DID YOU CHOOSE?
Peter: Our theme was based on a simple phrase: ‘One Fine Day’. We wanted it to be relaxed, fun and centred around love. Instead of a formal breakfast, we opted for an afternoon tea – a nod to our first visit to Wynyard. Flowers were presented in vintage teapots and antique cups and our wedding cake was a tower of Krispy Kreme doughnuts.
And that was it. The food, the room and our smiling guests completed the theme.
Michael: Because Wynyard Hall is so impressive, we didn’t want to clutter it with too many decorations. We also wanted everyone to feel relaxed and ‘not on ceremony’. We’ve been to many weddings where the formality of the occasion overpowers, what is, a loving occasion.
WHAT WEDDING MENU DID YOU CHOOSE?
Peter: We didn’t want the formality of a top table or a formal wedding breakfast, so we opted for a lavish afternoon tea which really worked. The food was incredible, and the service was first class.
How many guests did you have?
DID YOU DO ANYTHING SPECIAL ON THE NIGHT BEFORE YOUR WEDDING?
Michael: It was a quiet night for us both. Peter stayed with friends and my mum and brother’s partner stayed with me. A few glasses of fizz, nibbles and a chick flick. Just what I needed to calm the nerves.
WHAT DID YOU BOTH WEAR, AND WHERE WAS IT FROM?
Michael: We both wanted suits that would look good in photos for years to come and not something that was the fashion of the day so the ‘Peaky Blinders tweed’ wasn’t an option. We then went shopping together which was an absolute nightmare. I’ll say no more on the matter.
Peter: Yes, we chose separately. It was the smart decision! I opted for a three-piece suit from Slaters Menswear and Michael went for a three-piece suit from Next.
TELL US ABOUT YOUR WEDDING PHOTOS…
Michael: We had a great photographer in Jenny Fozard Photography. Jenny really understood what we wanted and was a perfect fit for our big day. Trusting your photographer is so important and we had total faith in her. If I had to pick a photo that stands out for me, it would be the one where we are laughing with the registrar at the start of the ceremony. It sums up our relationship – at the most serious moments, we giggle.
Peter: I didn’t want posed photographs or vanity shots. Jenny really bonded with us and knew exactly what we wanted. She caught the special moments and wasn’t intrusive which relaxed everyone. I love the shots of our guests just being themselves as they arrive and chatting amongst themselves. Every photo we had back were of people smiling and laughing. The photo of my husband walking down the aisle with his dad makes me very happy and proud.
WHERE DID YOU BOTH JET OFF TO FOR YOUR HONEYMOON?
Michael: The honeymoon started off as a challenge! We were meant to go to the Dominican Republic for two weeks however on the morning of the flight, as we woke up in Manchester ready to go to the airport, Thomas Cook went bust! Obviously, it was incredibly disappointing for us however, when you consider people were losing their jobs and our honeymoon had insurance protection, we had to grin and bear it.
Peter: So, it was a quick train back to Newcastle and looking at ‘Plan B’ which turned out to be 11 luxurious days in Dubai. Our hotel was on the Palm and the weather never went below 38 degrees….bliss!
WAS THERE ANYTHING SPECIAL OR UNUSUAL ABOUT YOUR INTIMATE WEDDING?
Michael: The feel on the day was all about love, fun and everyone enjoying themselves and that’s what was extra special and unusual. There wasn’t the pomp and ceremony you find at other weddings – and that’s great if it’s what you want – but we opted for no speeches and an informal celebration which brought our families and friends together. The function team on the day even commented on how relaxed it was which was a great compliment.
Peter: What was unusual about the day? It turned out to be the hottest day of the year….in September…..you couldn’t have asked for better. Wynyard looks lovely in all weathers but when the sky is a brilliant blue, the sun shines on the lake and the fizz is flowing, it looks even more spectacular. Perfect!
DO YOU HAVE ANY WEDDING PLANNING TIPS?
Michael: Enjoy every second of it. It really does fly by and don’t put any unnecessary pressure on yourself. It’s about enjoying the experience and living in the moment.
Peter: I’d say get help and advice from people who do this for a living as it does help take the stress out of planning and remember this is YOUR day. Don’t try and please those attending. If you and your partner want it, then do it. It’s your ‘One Fine Day’.
WOULD YOU RECOMMEND WYNYARD HALL TO OTHER COUPLES PLANNING A INTIMATE WEDDING?
Michael: Yes! From the long drive over the bridge, entering the reception with the amazing chandelier and going outside with the views of the lake. You can’t fault it.
And though it is opulent and regal, it doesn’t overpower you or make you feel uncomfortable. Every team member we met at Wynyard Hall was exceptional and made us feel so welcome. From the friendly ‘hello’ as you walked in reception to the function team, you couldn’t fault anyone. Carl and Charlie who looked after us on the day were brilliant.I’d recommend to every couple.
Peter: I agree with my husband….now that’s a first! A massive shout out has to go to Becky who was our amazing wedding coordinator. My husband would say I’m a bit of a control freak but with Becky organising the day, I could sit back and enjoy it. We had lots of changes and Becky took it in her stride and nothing was a problem. We couldn’t have asked for a better wedding coordinator.