Winning wedding at Jocasta

Wedding – How it began…

Sharon Howell and Kevin Chalinor met on Valentines Day 2004 on a night out in Doncaster in with friends. They were soon inseparable and moved in together a few months later. In April 2007, after a romantic meal at their favourite Italian restaurant Emilio’s in Bawtry, Kevin proposed at home and gave Sharon a beautiful white gold engagement ring set with three diamonds.

A date was set for July 2009 and Sharon registered on a number of different wedding websites to help her keep track of the plans and to get ideas for the big day. To her astonishment, in late 2008 she received a phone call to say she had won a £10,000 wedding provided by Jocasta’s Group of Lincoln through

I could not believe it; I just sat in silence for a while before I could take it all in, says Sharon. I arranged to meet Jenny Heliwell, the events manager at Jocasta’s, and once I knew that it was all for real we began putting plans into place.

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The venue

As well as offering marquee hire, Jocasta’s has a marquee on its own site at Thorpe on the Hill. The second I saw Jocasta’s venue I fell in love with it, says Sharon. It’s by a lake and the marquee was so versatile that we could make it look however we wanted.

The couple decided on a black and white theme, with black chair covers and white sashes, plus a starlight ceiling over the dance floor. They opted for a carved buffet reception, followed by a barbecue in the evening. On the day the food went down amazingly, enthuses Sharon.

Everyone commented on how delicious it was, especially the puddings chocolate maltster pie, wild fruit cheesecake and lemon torte.

Jenny, Steve and the staff at Jocasta’s were really helpful and full of advice.

Nothing was too much trouble one night I emailed Jenny at 10pm and I didn’t expect her to reply that night but she did, just to put my mind at rest. It’s that kind of personal service and commitment that can really make your wedding.

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Cocktail Limousines in Retford supplied a white limo which took Sharon and her father to Jocasta’s, then Sharon and Kevin to the West Retford Hotel for their wedding night.

The rings

Both opted for white gold bands Kevin’s plain 9ct and Sharon’s an 18ct diamond cut.

The dress

Sharon looked in lots of shops and was giving up hope when she found Celebrations in Bawtry. What I thought I wanted was something simple, understated and elegant that fitted my body. But nothing I tried on looked right. Sue at Celebrations suggested a Veromia dress and to be honest I didn’t like it on the hanger, but as soon as I tried it on I knew it was the one and I began to cry. It made me feel like a princess.


Sharon’s sister Helen was chief bridesmaid and witness. The other bridesmaids were Kevin’s sister Emma, Sharon’s cousin Vicky (eight months pregnant at the time!), best friend Nicola, daughter Skyla (seven), niece Georgia (11) and cousin Lilly (four). The older bridesmaids wore black evening dresses and the little ones wore floaty white dresses.

Main men

Kevin could not think of anyone who he would prefer to stand by his side as best man than David, his Dad, who has always been an absolute rock and inspiration for him. Pageboys were Kevin’s stepson Nathan, cousin George and nephew Alexander.

Flowers and decorations

In keeping with the black and white theme, Sharon’s bouquet was white germinis tied with black ribbon from More Than Flowers in Retford. Sharon also bought long black vases from a department store and filled them with artificial black and white flowers.

The Cake

The cake, made by the Pinewood House, was white with a black ribbon trim, with each layer a different flavour.

Special touches

The day itself was like a dream it went so fast but it was everything we could have ever wished for. It had rained every day in the week running up to the big day, but it luckily held off on the day itself.

All I remember is seeing Kevin smiling at me as I walked up the aisle with my Dad that moment with all our friends and family watching was the most amazing moment ever. The service was just what we wanted, and my daughter and niece did readings which really added a personal touch.


Christina Savage was chosen as photographer as Sharon liked her contemporary style, adding: “I loved the idea of having a female photographer too. I felt I was really able to relax on the day and she knew just what we wanted.”

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The couple stayed at the Paradisus Rio de Oro in Guardalavaca, Cuba, booked through Thomas Cook. No words can describe how amazing Cuba was,  says Sharon. The hotel staff treated us like royalty and nothing was too much trouble.

The food and weather were amazing, and as it was our honeymoon we had a complimentary day in the spa, a candlelit meal on the beach and breakfast in bed.


Guitarist Nigel Truman played the couple’s favourite tunes while the guests were arriving and Cannon in D as Sharon walked up the aisle. In the evening Jocasta’s set up a disco. Says Sharon: The DJ mixed the music up and managed to get everyone from the grandparents to the young children dancing.


Venue: Jocasta’s Group 0845 6025062

Photography: Christina Savage 07984 233336

Dress: Celebrations of Bawtry, 8 Swan Street, Bawtry, Doncaster

Men’s suits: Greenwoods, 10 Market Place, Retford 01777 701349

Cake: The Pinewood House, 35 Churchgate, Retford 01777 705383

Limousine: Cocktail Limousines 01777 700951

Rings: 01777 703144

Guitarist: Nigel Truman

Florist: 01777 860018

UK Bride:

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