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So, it was our fifth wedding anniversary recently. How time flies when you’re ageing badly and raising two “spirited” children! We’ve watched our wedding DVD precisely twice (it’s too cringe) but we do have the odd chinwag about what we’d go back and change. Which, it turns out, is quite a lot.

The story goes that he proposed to me on Christmas Day 2010, and by 1st January 2011 I’d pretty much bridezilla’d the tits off it. I’d arranged viewings at venues, subscribed to two wedding magazines, started looking at readings for the ceremony, and picked the colours. I absolutely went hell for leather – despite already knowing that we’d probably have an 17 month engagement because I simply HAD to get married in May but I didn’t think five months was long enough to plan. I’d love to go back and give myself a great big smack around the face, for being such an annoying twat.

Of course, the bulk of our wedding was just lovely. But, at the ripe old age of 27, I fell into the trap of just wanting all the things. All the quirks, all the traditions, all the finishing touches. I wish I hadn’t bothered with half of it, it took up so much stress and was largely forgettable to the untrained eye. I’ve narrowed it down though, and here’s my slightly crushing list of what I’d do differently, if I could nip back in time.

Dress

I know! Sacrilege to slag off your own dress. It was huge, with a ruched overlay on the skirt and a detailed halternack strap. It looked stunning if I stood still, but was an absolute fucker to move around in and the bodice was tighter than a crab’s arse. And, without wishing to bodyshame myself, I was a chubby bride. To be honest, when I look at our wedding photos, that’s all I focus on: “was I really that big on our wedding day?”. I hadn’t embarked on my fanatical fitness campaign and was a good two stone heavier than I am now. Thing is, my dress suited me as a tubster. I couldn’t get away with that style now. Oh, how I wish I could superimpose “now” me onto “then” me and give myself a slim fitting dress with a bit of a fishtail and some sort of lace on my upper arms.

Bride and groom outside venue

Theme

Colour schemes are lovely for a wedding. I chose yellow and green, and I don’t regret that for a second. But EVERYTHING was yellow and green, and there was a lot of everything. My accessory list contained, but was not limited to: paper pompoms; letter blocks; Mr and Mrs sweets; table jewels; chair sashes; candles in jam jars; personalised ribbons on said jars; bunting; signage; ice breaker cards. All yellow and green. Phew. It’s lovely, yeah, but is it really that important? Really?

Our wedding guest book and name blocks

Flowers

Eeeks. This one makes me sad. I LOVED my flowers…I had stocks, sweetpeas, lisianthus, roses, hydrangeas, baby’s breath, and other such whimsy. However, I had a bit of an altercation with my florist which to this day leaves me a bit bemused and fucked off. I’d mentioned that I’d quite like to have part of my bouquet dried and whacked into an expensive paperweight or something (every bridezilla needs 7,000 keepsakes). My florist had said that she used just such a business regularly for lots of her clients, and would I like her to arrange it after the wedding as we were jetting off on honeymoon. I said yes please, and handed over my bouquet the day after we were wed, together with a fat roll of notes. Long story short, she didn’t take my bouquet to the shop. I didn’t find this out until we’d got back from honeymoon a month later, and I phoned the place. I checked under my maiden name, my married name, her name, my husband’s name – nada. My flowers weren’t there. The florist wouldn’t return my calls and eventually I resorted to leaving a shitty comment on her business FB page, which I felt crappy about. I got my money back but…boo. Why didn’t she take my flowers in, like she said she would? Did she just bin them?

Honeymoon

Lucky swines that we were, we went to Australia for a month. I wish wish wish wish WISH that we’d spent half on our wedding and double on our honeymoon, because it is the most incredible, beautiful country on earth. I’d move there in a heartbeat and I wish we’d seen more of it. For our first week, we stayed with my cousin and her family in Brisbane. I’d only ever met my cousin once, when I was about 12, and I’ll never forget stumbling into the arrivals lounge at Brisbane Airport and being gathered up in her arms. Ultimate Cilla Black goals. Oh – you’ll enjoy this – we did pay heavy dollar for a scuba diving weekend on the Great Barrier Reef. Turns out I’m not so much keen on the old underwater experience. Like, panic attack mode. Three of us did a test dive with the instructor, and my husband was first to lower himself along the descending guide rope into the murky, shark infested waters. I was next, but royally lost my shit about 0.01 meters down. The instructor, in her Aussie twang, slightly patronisingly told me I was missing out on a ripper experience and she’d have to go down and tell my boyfriend to come back up while I got un-geared and taken back to the boat. I managed to halt my wracking sobs to shout indignantly “he’s not my boyfriend, he’s my HUSBAND!”. Dick. Me, not her. Well, a bit her.

What would I keep?

The groom, I guess. I have to say that or he’ll trash me on social media. No – I’d keep a lot of it. The thing about weddings is that they represent a snapshot in time – a small capture of a lifestyle and group of people that are never quite the same a year down the line. Nowadays, my friendship circle has evolved to include countless mummy and blogger friends, who I love and feel like I’ve known forever. But back then, the guests we had, they WERE our circle. They were all part of the puzzle.

There’s one thing I’m really proud of, one little quirky touch that I’m so pleased I did. Our tables were named for relatives who had passed away, because we wanted to include them as if they were still here. So, we had Betty’s Table, Walter’s Table, Olive’s Table, Doug’s Table, and Ruth’s Table to remember our grandparents, plus a few extras. I may have remarked, amidst a sheet of A1 paper with circles drawn on and post it notes everywhere – “Are you sure we don’t have another dead relative? We’re one short…” Ladies and gentlemen, Norman The Hamster’s Table ROCKED.

-SJW June 2017

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