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posted on 21st Jun 2013

October the 12th was the day that my partner and I decided we would have a civil partnership ceremony to confirm what we knew already- a lifelong commitment to one another.

Having looked at possible venues, I came across Leez Priory and am so thankful I did. Originally we wanted a summer gathering however that was soon to change when we found out that there was availability on January 19th 2013. I started asking myself many questions- was it too late to book, did we have time to organise, would I get the registrar, would the guest list be out in time…… Now as an army lad I had experience in last minute planning so we proceeded with this date.

Our first meeting was with Sue and we were very much looking forward to meeting her and the staff. When arriving at the grounds we were taken back with the stunning views and the sheer elegance of the venue and inside was just as I expected it- warm, inviting, cosy, perfect- our dream. The cottage also was perfect for family to stay on the night of our wedding and all the other rooms on site made it very special as we could all meet the following day at breakfast.

We only needed the one visit and with hard work, determination and lots of changing table plans, we finalised everything just in time. Thanks to Sue and her team everything else was taken care of.

We were rather apprehensive the night before the big day as family were travelling from all over the UK and that was the day of the really heavy snow causing all sorts of problems. We were so worried I must have texted Sue constantly, but she reassured me and put my mind at rest.

The day was here and we arrived at Leez Priory with no delays and the grounds looked spectacular. It was a perfect, crisp winter’s day with snow covering the entire site. Having checked in to what I can only describe as a homely, inviting and comfortable room with all the amenities and extras one expects, we started to relax a little. Well at least my partner did as I started to show guest to their rooms as I have always been one for getting things perfect but this was soon taken off my hands from our sons.

All guests had arrived even with the snow and were comfortably seated in the ceremony room awaiting our entrance. Olly and I were ready and our children Shannon, Cameron and Connor looked amazing. A few tears of emotion, the harpist Jean Kelly playing and in we went with the guidance of Sue who seemed to be everywhere at this stage.

The layout of the room was breath taking, guests smiling, family elated, and most of all, us having our fantastic day in what I will always describe as the hidden dream. From the ceremony, seated reception, evening entertainment with hog roast, fireworks right through to breakfast the next day, it was faultless.

I will always remember the comments from our guests on how wonderful, relaxed and inviting our wedding was and I thank Leez Priory, Sue and all the staff for making it what it was- perfect.

Andy Ciaravella

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