John Voyle, 61, and Richard Allison, 48, decided to do away with traditional wedding features, instead opting for a fun ceremony that their guests could enjoy
(Image: Jamie Gray/PinPep)
A couple of florists ditched tradition on their wedding day to “prioritise fun” – snubbing rings, flowers and even a wedding cake.
Instead, John Voyle, 61, and Richard Allison, 48, gave their guests a round of drag queen bingo and a champagne reception on a double decker bus.
Standing at the altar, the pair, from Leicester, opted to exchange state-of-the-art mobile phones instead of wedding rings, and there wasn’t a flower in sight, despite working with flowers every day.
Richard said: “Our big day would not be most people’s idea of the perfect wedding, but it was absolutely perfect for us. It was emotional, hilarious and at times, bonkers.
“We decided to strip everything away from our wedding day that would cause worry or hassle for anyone attending, especially ourselves.”
He explained they did away with lots of wedding traditions, including speeches.
“No first dance, no extended ceremony or customary vows. We even organised a boozy post ceremony bus, so no one had to worry about driving,” he said.
“Our focus was on fun, as this would be the first time many had been to a good old shindig since the pandemic began – and it paid off.”
Richard and John first met 28 years ago through a mutual friend – and the pair finally got engaged in December 2020.
“We moved in together within two months of knowing each other and we’ve been together ever since,” Richard said.
“John surprised me on Christmas morning last year with a proposal on Hunstanton Beach in Norfolk with a cinnamon ring doughnut and, even then, we knew we wanted to do things differently.”
The couple never wear jewellery so they didn’t see the point in exchanging wedding rings. At first, they wanted a very simple wedding, but their vision soon evolved into a fun, whacky ceremony their guests would never forget.
“When it came to what we were going to exchange instead of rings, it started off as a joke but quickly turned real.”
Instead, John and Richard realised they both wanted new phones, so decided to swap those instead.
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Richard said: “We’d been eyeing up the new Samsung phones. We really wanted a Galaxy ZFlip3 and the Galaxy ZFold3 so we thought, why not buy them as wedding presents to ourselves?
“We made a joke of it, saying we were going to exchange them instead of rings as a way to communicate more with each other. It was a bit of fun.”
The couple’s 65 guests had no idea what to expect when they turned up to celebrate the big day.
But when the pair exchanged their brand new phones, the crowd burst into laughter.
“Everyone knew from this point to expect the unexpected,” Richard said. “We were announced married as ‘Voyley and the Duchess.’ Again, the room erupted and we left the register office for drinks on the lawn.”
After the ceremony, the wedding guests were treated to a game of drag queen bingo hosted by drag queen Fanny Burns, and then they boarded the bus to the reception.
Richard said: “The bus took us into town and dropped us off at the Knight and Garter pub. We posed for some fun shots on board, before going into the venue to be greeted by the most amazing saxophonist, Rob Charles, playing over a backing track of Ibiza classics.”
At the reception, 150 guests enjoyed champagne and oysters while dancing to funk and soul DJ sets and club classics.
“Everyone was dancing and it was a spectacular end to our perfect wacky wedding,” Richard said.
Since the big day, the pair have been enjoying their honeymoon at their holiday home in the UK.
John said: “We’re not quite ready to travel abroad yet due to the pandemic, but we have a second home in Hunstanton, Norfolk, which is perfect for our honeymoon.
“We just wanted the whole wedding day to be full of fun, which I think all our family and friends were looking forward to after such a difficult couple of years.”
He added: “Our day matched our personalities exactly, which is why it was perfect for us. Just a fun day full of love and laughter.”
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