By Laura Abernethy and Lauren Windle, The Sun
A British woman was stunned as she accepted her partner’s proposal only to find he had flown her friends and family out to join their holiday for the wedding which was planned for 24 hours time.
Michelle Williams, 37, from Merseyside, England received the shock of her life when roofing surveyor Scott Williams, 42, dropped to one knee at a winery on the volcanic Greek island of Santorini on August 18 this year.
The romantic man had been secretly planning the idyllic wedding for nine months, without his girlfriend having a clue about the grand surprise.
Straight after saying yes Williams heard a chorus of cheers – and turned to see over 50 friends and family, waving from the rooftop of the building behind them.
Then, Williams revealed that they were getting hitched the next day, revealing how he had organized everything – including the venue, flowers and even her wedding dress – without her suspecting a thing.
Williams, who works in office administration, said: “Scott had planned everything with all my friends and family and I didn’t have a clue. He’s quite a man’s man, so he’s not usually this romantic. He can be at times, but this was really something special. I still can’t believe he pulled it all off.”
The pair – who have been together for two years – booked a family holiday to Santorini as a treat for Williams, who was coming to terms with the death of her mom Janet Kilbraine, aged 65.
She explained: “My mom passed away last year on August 7. I thought this holiday was to help take my mind off the anniversary. My brother, sister and my dad were coming with us, as well as my children Molly, 14 and Brandon, 18, from a previous relationship.”
“My Dad, Michael, is 79 and he hasn’t been on a plane since he was in the army, back in 1957. When the others told me Dad was coming, I was surprised, but thought it would be lovely.”
“I had absolutely no idea that anything else was going on. I just thought it was a big family holiday.”
Three days into the break, the couple spent the day at the marina before visiting a winery for a few drinks, after which they planned to head back to their hotel.
Williams said: “We were sitting there enjoying the views. We were about to leave to go back to the hotel, but Scott turned to me and said, ‘I want to do this first.’ He got down on one knee and proposed to me. I had always wanted to get married, but never even considered that he might propose then. I was so shocked, but of course, I said yes straight away.”
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“Everyone was saying, ‘Did you really not know?’ I said ‘Do you think if I knew, I would have been wearing shorts and a t-shirt?’ I would have put something a bit more glam on. I was dressed for comfort, but this was one of the biggest moments of my life.”
Then, as she hugged her new fiance, Williams heard rousing cheers in the background and was even more shocked when she realized her new fiance had flown out their closest friends and family to watch.
Williams added: “Then he said, ‘By the way, the wedding is tomorrow.’”
“I was so overwhelmed by it. I get emotional now even thinking about it, as it was all so surreal. I wasn’t worried about anything, though, because I knew he would do a good job.”
The next morning, on August 19, Williams woke up on her wedding day, with no idea what was going to happen – and most importantly, what she was going to wear.
Nine months before, she had visited William’s friend Shelly Jory-Leigh, who owns the dress shop Brides of Southampton.
Over a coffee, Jory-Leigh had suggested she should try on some of their new stock, to help them assess the fit.
Williams explained: “Before she’d even said that, we’d been looking through some brochures and I saw a dress that I just fell in love with. It was white, fitted lace with a beautiful long train. I was really excited when Shelly brought out the ones to try on and it was one of them.”
“I tried it on and I started crying, because I was thinking of my mom and I wanted her to see me in a wedding dress, but I just kept saying, ‘I’m not even getting married.’”
“I had no idea that it was all a ploy so that Scott could pick something that I would like. I thought it was just a bit of dressing up.”
On her wedding day, Williams was delighted to discover that Jory-Leigh had traveled to Santorini, bringing her dream bridal gown – a long fitted, white lace dress together with a shorter frock that Williams had chosen for the reception afterward.
Jory-Leigh, who has no idea what the wedding cost, revealed the dresses, out in the open, with the turquoise sea as a backdrop, with family and friends watching, as she was moved to tears.
There were even more surprises to come, as Williams had arranged hair, makeup, flowers and even made sure the eight bridesmaids’ light pink dresses were perfectly fitted.
Williams’ dad walked her up the aisle, which had been specially constructed outside at a rooftop venue affording spectacular views of the island, to meet her charming groom.
She added: “The day was so perfect – there was nothing I would have done differently. Scott had planned it all so well. He had a photographer, cake and even remembered name tags on the tables. It was amazing.”
“I had so wanted my mom to be there and he had got a picture of her printed and placed on an easel at the wedding. That meant so much to me and my dad. When I was walking down the aisle, I had tunnel vision, but when I was saying my vows, I saw the picture and it was just perfect. It made me feel like she was with us. He had just done so many little thoughtful things.”
After making the most of the stunning scenery for their wedding photos, the rooftop was transformed into a splendid party pad.
Williams changed into her second gown, a short fifties style dress, before enjoying the first dance to Ed Sheeran’s Thinking Out Loud and then boogying the night away with all their guests.
The wedding party spent two more days enjoying the sunshine, before heading home.
“I think everyone had a great time,” Williams said. “Afterwards, I think they were all relieved that they could talk about it and didn’t have to keep it a secret anymore.”
“I had never suspected anything. It wasn’t until afterward that I started putting things together.”
“Scott, my daughter and our friends Ken and Lorraine had been out to look at venues, but he had told me he was going to Russia to look at a boat, as he’s into powerboat racing. I looked at the temperature and said there was no way I was going. That’s how they ended up sneaking off to look at venues, without me realizing.”
“We haven’t had a honeymoon yet, but I think I need a chance to get over the wedding first!”
Williams’ new husband added: “I started planning everything back in January and it was a challenge but I know that organizing a wedding is so stressful. After everything that happened with Michelle’s mom, I didn’t want her to have to worry about it.”
“I knew I could do it and I did have a lot of help but it was a lovely day. There were some moments where I thought she was going to find out but luckily she never caught on.”
“I knew she would say yes and I was so glad she did.”