Charmaine Cunningham née Jones, Senior Activities Coordinator at Cottingley Hall Bupa Care Home in Bingley, married the love of her life, Ben Cunningham, with a unique twist – the wedding after party took place at work at Cottingley Hall Bupa Care Home.
When Charmaine first got engaged, the residents at Cottingley Hall expressed how keen they were to celebrate her nuptials and, much to their delight, Charmaine was determined to make the care home residents an integral part of her day.
Charmaine commented: “All the residents at Cottingley Hall are like family to me, so it was only right that they were a big part of my special day, from start to finish. Having them be part of the celebrations made our big day all the more enjoyable, for both myself, Ben and the residents.”
The wedding day saw Charmaine get married at Saltaire Reform Church in West Yorkshire, but after the couple announced, ‘I do,’ the wedding party made their way to Cottingley Hall for the celebrations to truly begin.
In anticipation of the happy couple’s arrival, the residents enjoyed a three-course wedding breakfast, complete with champagne and prosecco, served in Cottingley Hall’s dining rooms that were adorned with wedding decorations.
Lesley Laskowsky, Cottingley Hall’s chef who prepared the wedding breakfast, commented: “I was so honoured to be able to cater for this special event and to be a part of the celebrations. It was unforgettable, as the residents were all so excited for Charmaine to arrive.”
Upon the wedding party’s arrival, the residents, and staff of Cottingley Hall took part in a one-of-a-kind ceremony, complete with hymns and a sermon from Saltaire Reform Church’s Minister, Reverend Caroline Andrews, in Cottingley Hall’s gardens.
Charmaine and Ben then took a walk around the home to visit any residents who couldn’t attend the ceremony and to ensure all the residents got to see Charmaine in her beautiful wedding dress.
To make sure the Cottingley Hall residents felt suitably glamorous for the day’s festivities, Charlotte Muire, one of the Cottingley Hall team, adorned the female residents with fascinators purchased by the care home team and made sure all the male residents were sporting their finest shirts and ties.
Lorraine Tinkler, Cottingley Hall’s Home Manager, commented: “It was an absolute honour and privilege to be part of Charmaine’s special day. It really was a remarkable gesture of kindness from Charmaine and Ben and highlights the devotion our care home staff have for our residents.”
Kathleen Smith, a resident at Cottingley Hall who is 91 years old, commented: “Charmaine is so committed to all of us, so it was so perfectly fitting that she celebrated her wedding day here.”
Joyce Mitchell, another resident at Cottingley Hall, commented: “It was absolutely lovely – I hope they are very happy! It was so nice to have a wedding here and so exciting to see Charmaine walk around the home in her dress.”
The involvement of Cottingley Hall’s residents in Charmaine’s nuptials went above and beyond just the wedding day too. On the 20th of May, Charmaine hosted a hen party at Cottingley Hall in which residents enjoyed cocktails, mocktails, a buffet of their favourite foods and small gifts. With the hen do celebrations falling on #WorldBeeDay, the Cottingley Hall care home team decided to embrace the bee theme and dress up as bees for the residents’ entertainment.
John Brennan, Charmaine’s fellow Activity Co-ordinator, commented: “From the hen party to the planning of the wedding to the actual day itself, all the residents and staff alike feel blessed to have been a part of Charmaine and Ben’s celebrations. It was a glorious opportunity to be able to wish the happy couple all the very best for the years that lie ahead.”
Megan Benn, Head of Care at Bupa Care Homes, commented: “I really admire Charmaine’s gesture of involving our residents and keeping them at the centre of her special day. It displays true compassion and epitomises the kindness of our care home teams.”
To extend the celebrations, Lorraine Tinkler, Home Manager at Cottingley Hall, has decided to host a reflection day in which the residents can revisit pictures, videos and memories from the day and their own special wedding days. Lorraine commented: “So many of the residents have fond memories of their own big days, so it will be a great opportunity to revisit those too.”
Cottingley Hall Bupa Care Home is situated in Bingley and welcomes residents in need of nursing or residential care, including those living with early-stage dementia, Parkinson’s and Huntington’s. For further information, please visit https://www.bupa.co.uk/care-services