Surprise of a lifetime: Telford teacher's Christmas party turns into a surprise engagement

By Mat Growcott | Ironbridge | News | Published:

It was the surprise of a lifetime when a woman who thought she was all dressed up for a Christmas party found out it was actually an engagement party.

Lewis proposes to Katie

When she was led out a fire escape outside the 'party' and saw her partner dropped to one knee, Katie Coleman didn't hesitate in saying yes.

The 28-year-old old thought she was visiting the Best Western Valley Hotel in Ironbridge as her friend Leah’s Christmas party plus one and thought her partner Lewis Ayres was away in Chester shopping.

The hotel and the Ironbridge area hold a special place in Katie’s heart as the Valley was where her parents got married.

Katie and Lewis, 29, who live in Priorslee, say they have not discussed a wedding date yet.

Katie and Lewis

Katie said: “I didn’t suspect anything. It was truly overwhelming. I have never really understood the full meaning of that word before – but I certainly do now. It was an amazing night and one I will never forget.

“My best friend asked me to go to her Christmas party with her as her fiance couldn’t go. I can’t believe Leah and Lewis lied to me. They spent so much time together arranging everything and I never had any idea.

“We walked into the Valley and I thought we must be a bit early for the party, then Leah opened the fire exit door and said I needed to go outside. I saw the gazebo and Lewis and then realised something was happening. I couldn’t look at him - I was in complete shock.



“I’ve never been surprised like that before. Lewis went down on one knee and what made it all the more special was it happening in the same place my mum and dad got married. We’ve talked about getting married but I didn't expect it to happen, it’s become a bit of a running joke, really, but now it’s for real. I still can’t believe it.

“The staff at the Valley were brilliant, including the barman, Lee, who played along with the secret until Lewis sprang the surprise.”

Lewis said: “I wanted it to be really special and make sure Katie got there without knowing anything about it. I had no real apprehension about springing the proposal on her, I was more concerned that someone might have let it slip beforehand.


“I had arranged for the gazebo to be decorated to make it special and Leah was heavily involved in making sure it all went to plan. Katie was told it was her friend’s Christmas do and that she was going along as her plus one. She had no idea I was there and when they arrived in the bar Katie was told she needed to go out back. . . and there I was. It was brilliant!

“She had no clue about what was happening, it came totally out of the blue. I had arranged for about 18 family and friends to be there and I did it all properly, going down on one knee - thankfully she said yes.

“It was a special night - we really celebrated in style and it will be something we will always remember. It was also quite a sentimental thing for Katie as well with the Valley’s connection to her mum and dad’s wedding.”

Lewis, who works for Network Rail in Stafford, and Katie, who is an English teacher at Madeley Academy, will have been together six years in February and will now start to think about a wedding date.

“We have talked about getting married before but that’s about as far as it went,” added Lewis. “I suppose it’s now time to give it some serious thought!”

Lisa Snape, sales and marketing manager at the hotel, said: “We were delighted to help Lewis spring his surprise, he knew the significance the Valley had with Katie and it was a wonderful thing to do.

“The evening proved a great success, everything went off very smoothly and we are very pleased that everyone enjoyed the occasion. It was the ideal setting for Lewis to make his proposal.”

Mat Growcott

By Mat Growcott
Reporter - @MGrowcott_Star

Shropshire Star reporter


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