Jodie Miller and Colin Priestley have always been ones for throwing big parties.
So it perhaps isn’t surprising that they invited 140 guests to what has been called ‘the wedding of the year’.
‘That’s what some people called it,’ laughs Jodie. ‘I called it my big fat gypsy wedding, although none of us are travellers. I just wanted something big, not to show off or anything but because we wanted as many people as possible there.’
But Jodie, 37, does admit that at one point she wondered if she’d done the right thing: ‘It was when I was laying the table places with my matron of honour. We had all the serviettes and wedding favours and things to put out and thought it might take a couple of hours. It took six hours! I was shattered and it was the day before the wedding.’
Jodie and Colin, 44, didn’t regret asking so many people to join them on their big day. The couple and their guests had a blast as they packed John Pounds Memorial Church in Old Portsmouth and function rooms at HMS Excellent for the reception. During the evening the guest list rose to over 200.
They had enough attendants to help them with proceedings. There were eight bridesmaids including their six-year-old daughter Lola, four pageboys, Jodie’s nine-year-old son Toby as ring bearer, three ushers and three best men.
‘All these people are so important to us. How can you choose between them, so we decided we’d have everyone we wanted,’ says Jodie, who runs a barber shop.
The Paulsgrove couple’s guest list grew because they have a lot of friends and civil engineer Colin has a large family.
Jodie says: ‘We didn’t want to say to people “You can’t bring your children or girlfriend”. So we focused on what we thought was important, and that was having a lot of guests.’
They even took 13 people, including the children, on their honeymoon – a cruise to the Canaries.
The couple kept their wedding bill at around the £10,000 mark. Jodie puts this down to shopping around and not fussing about the details.
‘I’m not big on flowers so we kept that to the minimum. We spent a lot on the venue because that’s what we really wanted. We did things like hiring a bus so we could move a lot of people at the same time.
‘We just made sure we had the things we really wanted and didn’t worry so much about the rest.
‘Everyone had a really good time because it was quite informal. I know people can sometimes feel uncomfortable at weddings. But enjoying yourselves with all your friends and family is the most important thing.’
And the couple made sure everyone had a great time right until the end.
‘Most couples leave first,’ says Colin.
‘Not us, we were the last to leave.’
n Picture: lorrainemorganphotography.co.uk