Wedding vows surprise for Telford ‘best man’

It’s normally a good idea for a groom to know when and where he is taking his wedding vows but for one Telford man it turned out to be a complete surprise.

The bride and groom celebrate their special day with guests
The bride and groom celebrate their special day with guests

Jeff and Linda Manley, from Hollinswood, Telford, rolled up at the Best Western Valley Hotel in Ironbridge with Jeff thinking he was going to be best man and Linda chief bridesmaid as their friends Derek and Toni renewed their wedding vows – but Linda had other ideas.

Unknown to Jeff, Linda, 55, had been secretly planning the whole event for more than six months so she and her husband could renew their vows after eight years of marriage and have the complete wedding package they had missed out on first time round.

Linda wanted the whole thing to be a surprise for Jeff, just two days before his 56th birthday, and was so successful that the role-reversal cover story was kept intact until about 10 minutes before the ceremony took place.

“We got married at the old Wellington Register Office eight years ago and, don’t get me wrong, we had a great time but we were not totally happy with parts of the day like the dress and suit and so on,” said Linda.

“I just thought it would be really nice to do it again at a proper venue with a top photographer and proper wedding breakfast. We weren’t really in a position to have the sort of wedding we wanted first time around.

“Jeff lost several family members recently and it seemed like we were only meeting up with people on very sad occasions so I thought it would be nice to do something positive.

“I woke up on May 1 and made the decision to arrange a great day when we could renew our wedding vows and share it with friends and family. I also thought it would be nice for it to come as a surprise for Jeff.”

The couple went on holiday to Ibiza in June with Toni and Derek who helped create the cover story by saying they were going to renew their wedding vows and asked Jeff and Linda to be best man and chief bridesmaid – a ploy needed to get an unsuspecting Jeff to the Best Western Valley Hotel in Ironbridge on the day.

“I had to remember that I was the bridesmaid rather than the bride in any conversation we had and the only time I really panicked was when Jeff wanted to get a pocket watch engraved with: ‘Derek groom’, ‘Jeff best man’ but I managed to steer him away from that,” said Linda.

“All the wedding paraphernalia had to be stored at Toni and Derek’s house, all phone calls were diverted to Toni and all the planning and creative stuff was again done at their house as I couldn’t risk Jeff finding out anything.

“I had to ask his manager to give him time off to be ‘best man’ and also got in touch with Stoke City – Jeff’s pride and joy – who sent a letter of congratulations.

“We had 53 guests at the wedding, friends and family, and everyone including guests, suppliers and the hotel managed to keep the whole thing secret. I’m so proud of them all.”

Jeff added: “There were more than 50 people involved in the secret – it was incredible. I was convinced that I was best man up to 10 minutes before the service. I walked into the room, saw all the people and thought wow this is great, it’s going to be a great party. I was so excited and saying so lovely to see you all.

“Paige from the Valley Hotel gave me some cufflinks and said we have a surprise for you, you need to read this. Linda’s inscription on the one read: ‘The day we met we had love and laughter’, and on the other: ‘Meet me at the altar for a happy ever after”.

“I really didn’t know what was going on. I said to Derek: ‘Are you ready to meet your bride?’ and he said: ‘No, mate, this is your day. I was so shocked it was unbelievable – an amazing day, faultless, everything was just right it was so nice to get exactly what we wanted and the staff at the Valley were brilliant.

“It was a great day and a wonderful experience. Linda did a tremendous job in arranging the whole thing and I can’t believe she was able to keep it a secret – it must have been very difficult.”

Lisa Snape, marketing and sales manager at the hotel said: “It was a wonderful event to be involved with.

“Jeff was really shocked and all of our staff pulled it off perfectly. We wish them both the very best wishes for the future.”

Linda added: “It still hasn’t sunk in the enormity of what I actually achieved all in secret, from suppliers, the men choosing their suits (with Jeff thinking he’s best man), the flowers, wedding fayre, choosing the venue, menus, save the date, invites, the list goes on.

“I’m still filling Jeff in on all the fibs – for example when he thought Toni and I were ‘just having a girly day’ we were racing round booking the Valley and choosing my dress!”

The couple, who renewed their vows last month before the Christmas festivities took hold, are now planning a mini-moon in Edinburgh.

Supporting Shropshire Live...
Shropshire Live
Shropshire Live has been providing Shropshire with independent news and entertainment since 2009. Send us your news to or call 01743 818 095. For advertising information call Fiona on 01743 816 817.

Featured Articles

Easter Featured Article

Out and About in Shropshire Easter 2019

It is busy time across Shropshire this Easter with plenty of events and activities across the county. Take a look at some of the events near you.

Make Mum’s Day with a little helping hand from Shrewsbury Shopping

This Mother’s Day, Shrewsbury Shopping are showing their appreciation for Shropshire Mums, with lots of free fun and a little free gift in the approach to Mother’s Day.
- Advertisement -

Woman and child injured in Telford robbery

Police are appealing for witnesses after a woman and child were injured during a robbery in Telford last night.

Two Shrewsbury hospital wards closed following cases of norovirus

Two wards at the Royal Shrewsbury Hospital have been closed after a number of cases of diarrhoea and vomiting.
Photo of flood defences working at Ironbridge during previous high river levels

River Severn to peak in Ironbridge today

The River Severn is to peak in Ironbridge today with levels already slowly dropping in Shrewsbury following a peak on Monday afternoon.
Josh Andrady

Shropshire school pupil bats his way to tour of India

A Shropshire pupil is continuing to bowl over cricketing experts with his talents - as he was selected to tour India as part of an academy programme.

Match Report: Shrewsbury Town 2 – 1 Wycombe Wanderers

Shrewsbury Town seal three points in dramatic fashion as they leave it late to ease the pressure on Sam Ricketts.

Match Preview: Shrewsbury Town V Wycombe Wanderers

Shrewsbury Town will be aiming to avoid a third straight defeat when they face out of sorts Wycombe Wanderers.
- Advertisement -
Emma Dolphin

Whittingham Riddell recruits experienced advisor

An experienced business advisor in the accounting and auditing profession has recently joined Whittingham Riddell, as a Director, following a move back from Australia.
Matt Sandford, CEO and David Hayward, managing director of Pure Telecom collect the award

Shropshire telecoms firm lifts third award

Celebrations at a Shropshire telecommunications firm are continuing after they scooped their third award in recent weeks.
Joe Strafford, Principal Building Surveyor at apT

Joe joins elite club after exam success

A leading building surveyor from a Telford consultancy has joined an elite club – after passing a rigorous new exam on fire safety regulation.
Maggie Kennerley, a Transformation Midwife from Shropshire, who is taking part in the Velo Birmingham & Midlands to raise money for Cure Leukaemia

Baschurch Rollers cycling for Cure Leukaemia at Velo

A health professional from Shropshire will be marking International Nurses Day by cycling 100 miles for Cure Leukaemia.
Art Historian, Sarah Gathercole, Qube Arts Officer, Charlotte Jackson, Volunteer, Jan Hedger and Qube Arts Development Officer, Vanessa Baldry

Volunteer’s exhibition honours Oswestry’s Homefront Heroines

A multimedia exhibition celebrating the role of local women during the First World War opens on March 14 at Qube Gallery in Oswestry.
Image shows Dudmaston Hall in springtime. Photo: Jean-Pierre Camm

Dudmaston opens its gates for a brand new season

Spring has sprung at Dudmaston, a local National Trust property near Bridgnorth.
- Advertisement -
Shropshire County Show 2019 Rev

Shropshire County Show set for a spectacular year

The Shropshire County Show is back for 2019 and this year is set to be bigger and better than ever before.
Easter Featured Article

Out and About in Shropshire Easter 2019

It is busy time across Shropshire this Easter with plenty of events and activities across the county. Take a look at some of the events near you.
The Big Busk’s popular, free “try-it-out” music room will be run by Music Heroes

Be a music hero at The Big Busk

The Big Busk’s popular, free “try-it-out” music room will be back when Shrewsbury’s street music festival returns on 6 April.

Special Easter events at Shrewsbury’s award-winning Market Hall

Events at Shrewsbury’s award-winning Market Hall kick off on Saturday, April 6 when its doors open for the first of its 2019 line-up of popular late night events.
Whitchurch Food and Drink Festival takes place in April

Festival team to help boost Whitchurch Food and Drink event

Shropshire Festivals is to play a major role in this year’s Whitchurch Food and Drink Festival, organisers have revealed.
The Shrewsbury Cup is made from foamed polypropylene and used over and over again before being recycled

Shrewsbury gets a coffee buzz from a deposit-return cup scheme

Shrewsbury will be one of the first places in the UK to have a town-wide, deposit-return scheme for reusable takeaway cups to help cut waste and promote sustainability.

Featured Articles

- Advertisment -


broken clouds
10.4 ° C
12 °
8.9 °
71 %
75 %
8 °
15 °
15 °
12 °
10 °
- Advertisment -
- Advertisment -

Latest Articles

- Advertisment -