Toni joined the football team I played for and soon became part of my group of friends,” recalls Hayley. “It was 1998 and we were both still in our teens; it hadn't crossed either of our minds that we'd ever be more than friends.”
Toni was in a steady relationship with a man and both ladies confessed that they'd never had feelings for other women before. However, they began to notice how much they enjoyed each other's company. They made the other one laugh, and they could both sit and just talk for hours about everything and nothing. Slowly the friendship grew until they realised it was something more and got together as a couple in 2001.
“We initially kept it a secret as we didn't know how people would react. However, we never looked back and became more open about our relationship over time. Not everyone took it well to start with but we eventually got engaged in 2015, 14 years after we first got together,” shares Hayley. Despite the build-up, the ladies describe it as, 'probably one of the most unromantic proposals ever!'
Hayley continues, “Toni gave me an engagement ring for my birthday, but never actually proposed. I'd always been more reserved about our relationship and she thought I'd never want to get married anyway. The ring was initially given as a, 'Well here it is, you decide what you want it to be' type of gift.
“We didn't really discuss it initially. I think I was in a bit of shock and couldn't decide what I wanted it to mean. It wasn't until the next day when I was at work and I thought, 'What's the worst that could happen?' I knew I wanted to spend the rest of my life with this amazing person, so why not?
“The world was becoming more accepting of same sex relationships and we had such good support around us so why should I worry about what others think about our life. I text Toni in the middle of the night and said 'Let's do it!'”
Here, Hayley reveals all the details of their dream day…
We'd visited a few venues but none really ticked the boxes for us – we wanted a beautiful garden to get married in with a marquee in the evening. Luckily my mum spotted Westenhanger in our local paper and we fell head over heels the moment we saw it.
We had a purple, silver and grey colour scheme and a love theme. We incorporated this by having personalised silver heart tins for favours.
Our table plan was purple and silver with heart diamantes. By including our theme throughout we were really able to tie our whole day together.
Westenhanger offered so much flexibility of indoor or outdoor celebrations. Plus, how many people can say they got married at a castle? As soon as we met the director Sarah we knew we were in safe hands.
We had an on-trend two-tier naked cake with a matching dessert table and colour coordinating cupcakes, cake pops and meringues – there was something for everyone!
Why have a colour scheme and not feature it? We included purple on the cute place names as well.
Our marquee was really tall so we helped fill the space with high martini vases filled with flowers as our centrepieces.
We included a post box in our wedding colours which really brought our whole vision to life.
The sparklers were something fun for our guests to get involved with and helped set the mood.
Our topiary 'love' letters made for some great photos throughout the day.
Toni accessorised her dress with a diamanté belt and we both wore beautiful infinity bracelets from my mum.
The bridal and bridesmaids' bouquets were filled with the most beautiful purple blooms.
All our bridesmaids wore purple but the three sisters had on a darker shade to help them stand out. We also liked the multiway option so they could wear them how they liked.
We both knew we wanted to wear white but didn't want to see what each other was wearing. There were concerns we'd turn up in the same outfit or clash, but the lady in the bridal shop was amazing and assured us we'd look great together.
We created a Facebook page for all our guests to put their song requests on. This was a huge success and everyone was dancing the night away.
The two father's of the bride and our brothers who were ushers wore three-piece grey suits from Moss.
I'd spent the past two years' dreading the day because I hate having all eyes on me. In the end I was the calm one and Toni was full of nerves. It was so special to get ready at the same venue but walk out of separate doors in the arm of our fathers – ready for the big reveal.
Brides' dresses and accessories
Cake and dessert table
Love topiary letters
Signage, backdrops and light-up letters
Ushers and father-of-the-brides' outfits