Friday, 13 May 2011

WEDDING PLANNERS 2 (The Bride Strikes Back)

I have been married twice. Unfortunately, marriage #1 went south after about 10 years and I quickly learned that working full-time when you are a single mother of 2 isn't exactly a bowl of cherries. In fact, for a while there it certainly felt as though the whole of my life was heading south too. But then I met someone...someone who held my hand, dusted me off and even pushed my dishevelled hair back from my face so that I could see the world again.
Well, Mother was just as gobsmacked as the next man that someone was willing to take me on again and it proved the dozens of candles she had lit down at the church had not been in vain after all: ”oh, please, please, let this one work out.... she's driving us potty... she's 35 years old and needs to move out …now.... we want to paint the spare room in 'Hint of Hawaiian Dawn Blue' and turn it into an office..."  Anyway, Mother's prayers were answered, the spare room was repainted and Wedding Party #2 (WP2) was duly announced.

Having had almost no control over WP1, fiancé #2 and I decided that this wedding was going to be just about us. We were financing it ourselves so no-one, and I mean no-one else, was going to interfere..... We excitedly began to flick through those countless Brides magazines that you instantly buy the moment you get engaged and Mother gave helpful suggestions on what I should wear, including a "lovely" 2-piece silk suit she had seen in the Berketex catalogue:

“This one looks nice – green flowers – it's spring-like...and look, you can use the jacket again afterwards – so that's handy isn't it?”

I diplomatically tried to steer her away from the “Princess Anne/Linens Direct mash-up” look, but I admit I was beginning to feel a bit down. I mean, the 2nd marriage suggestions in the magazines were nice enough, but they were all so...well.... boring and just not us. Then  fiancé #2 said: “well, it's our day; what do we want? The safe option?....Or the fairytale?” and we looked at each other, closed up the stupid magazines, chucked the Berketex catalogue in the recycling and.....

I got married in a beautiful full-length, ivory wedding dress with a short veil and tiara. Just like I wanted, and.....

all the men wore morning suits, just like fiancé #2 wanted. Father caused a terrible stink over this because he didn't “want to look like a bloody toff”, but then was actually quite smug when Mother said she had never seen him look so handsome, and.....

we were married in a beautiful country hotel with chandeliers and chintz and goats in the car park. The ceremony was followed by a carvery meal- meat/fish + vegetarian options (no sausage rolls or ham sandwiches here would you mind). We had balloons, bubbles and confetti for the kids (OK...well, actually they were mostly for me because fiancé #2 had drawn the line at my suggestion of a mass custard pie fight) and.....

we wrote our own vows and chose our own readings and.....

we decided on our own music: Pachelbel's Canon in D Major for my arrival; Louis Armstrong's “All the time in the world” for the register-signing and no-one said a word when we walked out to a recording of Morecambe & Wise singing “Bring Me Sunshine”. Well, Mother-in-law #2's face was a picture but everyone else smiled.. (I don't know what she would have done if we had used our back-up songs - Billy Idol's “White Wedding” and  Mitch Murray's “Down Came the Rain” if it rained – luckily it didn't)

Bring me Sunshine” was important to us, not only because of the “feel-good factor it brought from our childhood, but because of the lyrics. We all laugh at M & W doing their final number of the show, but few of us really listen the words:

WP2 took 2 years of planning and was probably the singularly most “selfish” thing we have ever done. Having said that, we didn't do anything intentionally to cause hurt or spite. We didn't say: “well, we don't care what you think – things are going to be done this way, so you can like it or lump it”. We did however, hold our ground when other people tried to force through their own opinions about how they thought things should be done.

Many years ago, a therapist once told me the word “should” was one of the most difficult words she ever had to deal with. We are all governed and chained in by those 6 little letters...... “should”.  If I learned one thing from that therapist it was this: as long as we are happy with the consequences of our actions, then perhaps the word “should” should be shoved out of the dictionary and no longer allowed to exist.

Because in the grand scheme of the world it really doesn't matter if I get married in full wedding garb instead of a suit or a day dress, or if we have Eric and Ernie instead of Ave Maria. WP2 may not be everyone's idea of a perfect wedding – but it was our fairytale and because we had chosen and arranged everything, we were relaxed and happy on the big day. In fact, we both enjoyed every single minute of it, so much so that 11 years later, we can still say we wouldn't have changed a thing – not even the goats in the car park....

Bring me Sunshine, in your smile,
Bring me Laughter, all the while,
In this world where we live, there should be more happiness,
So much joy you can give, to each brand new bright tomorrow,

Make me happy, through the years,
Never bring me, any tears,
Let your arms be as warm as the sun from up above,
Bring me fun, bring me sunshine, bring me love.

Yes, it's me!! I'm with a tiny guest - not a tiny groom - just to clarify
(and no, I wasn't constipated, he was giving me a kiss)

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