In July 2011, I agreed to do something radical, shocking, anathema to my unconventional, non-conformist, non-traditional feminist self.
I agreed to get married to The Boy; a man I started dating in June 2009, told I loved in July 2009 and moved in with in September 2009. In April 2012, we got married.
As you will know from previous posts, I am of that strange breed of woman who never fantasised about the perfect wedding, or the security that marriage supposedly brings. I hoped to be a mother one day, and hoped for love and companionship but was open minded about whether I would have transient loves which helped me to grow as a person and see me through each stage of my life or whether miracle of miracles I would meet one person that represented everything I could want in life.
As it happened I did meet one person. The Husband is described as perfect for me by my friends and family and I am quite convinced that of all the frogs I've kissed (and whilst I can't pretend to have encountered 6,500 different species of amphibians, I certainly consider myself to have explored many of them) - he is the frog for me. He wanted to get married, I wanted him and therefore a wedding was arranged.
And there began the madness for me. I announced that we were getting married in April and within about 4 days had booked the ceremony at a registry office, a bar for an evening reception and after a quick lunch-hour trip to Monsoon I tried one wedding dress and that was that. One of my closest friends is a fabulous photographer so I had no need to look further than Blue Lights Photography.
When people naturally enquired after the wedding plans I explained that it would be very simple with no bridesmaids, flowers, theme, seating-plan (as there was no sit-down meal, just canapes at the reception) and after sending out an invitation on Facebook, there was no need for any more fuss or drama.
Or so I thought.
Something happens to people when it comes to weddings. Despite telling them quite frankly that I was lacking the bride gene and that this was to be a simple wedding which I'd already finished planning and had now completely lost interest in discussing... it seemed that no one was prepared to speak to me about anything else.
Every day, every week for 10 LONG months I was greeted with "not long now! How are the wedding plans coming?" and every day I politely reminded them that the plans were all finalised and that I was a person with an identity of her own, not a bride and that I would really prefer to change the subject.
And yet it continued, because that's what happens. People assume that your wedding day will be the most special, magical day of your life and that you are simply obsessed with it. It doesn't matter if they've known you all your life or if you've told them repeatedly that you're not - nothing will convince them and I firmly believe that the reason that people get so stressed about planning their weddings is not because of the planning aspect, it's because of the overwhelming pressure from people to be "a bride" - it's a full-time relentless job, like motherhood or marketing.
Society has programmed people to behave in this manner just I like I am programmed to abhor it. Blame it on a lifetime of reading Dorothy Parker, Erica Jong and Simone De Beauvoir but I spent 28 years learning to be a self-sufficient individual with self-confidence and self-worth. When I'd learned to be satisfied with myself, I then had to learn to be co-dependent and share my life. As it turns out that wasn't hard at all. Love tends to lubricate the way like a snail leaving a trail.
No, learning to be a bride is by far the hardest thing I have ever done and I can safely say that the only tradition I'm prepared to embrace is that the idea is to do it only once.
The wedding itself was lovely as it turned out. Was I an elegant princess with perfect hair and makeup? Was I buggery. After a few hours of dancing all of my carefully arranged Grecian curls and flawless makeup was ruined by sweat. Did I care? No I took off my shoes, ripped out the hairpins and bounced around like a loon with the best of them. Was the ceremony dignified and solemn? Was it fuck! The Husband and I laughed all the way through it, effectively ruining every photograph and I had to deliver my vows to his back because I couldn't look at his face without snorting in a most unbridal-like manner.
No, I spent the day tweeting for People of Leeds, promoting my food blog ironically with a "bridal colander" from the fabulous Kirsty, mummy of People of Leeds and having a laugh. I spent more money on hot and cold canapes for my guests than on a dress or photographs and I spent more time planning an amazing playlist than on planning the entire wedding.
I may have disappointed and alienated a lot of people by refusing to go Bridal, but at least I never disappointed myself. Everyone had a good time, it was a day to remember and now FINALLY it's all over.
As promised, here are some pictures (not by the fabulous Adele of Blue Lights, but a collection from guests)
Ziggy played guitarrrrrraaaaarrrrraaaarrrrrr.
Title: The Wedding by David Bowie