There’s a tendency, when you get married and have a predisposition towards bridezillayness (yep, hi there!), to get sucked into the whole ‘It’s all about the bride’ nonsense when it comes to weddings. I tried not to take advantage of this (except when I really, really wanted something) as I thought (and still think) it’s important to remember four things:
- It’s definitely (almost definitely) not worth your friends and family secretly hating you forever because you acted like an entitled brat for the sake of one, albeit massive, party.
- On a related note, it may well be the biggest day of your and your-soon-to-be-spouse’s lives, but it’s almost certainly not for everyone else. I’m not saying they don’t love you and want you to have an amazing time – I am saying your guests probably aren’t having sleepless nights about whether you’ll go for the medium pink roses or light medium pink roses, so you needn’t either.
- It’s not ‘your’ day. It’s also the day of the person you are marrying, and, to a lesser extent, your guests too.
- And finally, a wedding really isn’t about that one day. The real fun comes after the wedding; you’re a team for life, and it feels pretty ruddy spectacular.
With these in mind, it was important that The Boy be involved in the wedding planning, so it was about the things that we love, not just the things I love (those who attended the ceremony can confirm this worked out, what with that line from The Legend of Zelda in our vows).
Luckily, he agreed. Except when it came to cake toppers and bridesmaids’ dresses, although he was surprisingly adamant about table confetti. He helped choose the venue (second time around, anyway), he created the whole wedding playlist – from pre-ceremony, to ceremony, to reception, to band breaks – and was very calm about the whole thing, even in the face of my extensive whining about the amount of punk rock, and he was very sympathetic to my pain while I was packing boxes and boxes of crockery while he frantically wrote things for work.
And he had just as much fun as I did – the Guitar Hero he wanted nicely balancing the DIY vintage photo booth I wanted (it’s all about compromise people).
He’s put together a list of the 50 things he loved most about our wedding, and I thought it only right to share it with you good people (because that’s why he wrote it).
1. This first conversation of the day:
Mark (Best Man): “Big day today.”
Me: “Yep, Sunderland v Man United.”
Mark: “Neither side can afford to drop points.”
Me: “Not at this stage in the season.”
2. Stroking the affectionate stray black cat who lives in the Travelodge I stayed in (a guest fed him once and now he stays there).
3. The pocket watch Carrie-Ann bought me, engraved with the Doctor Who quote: “Hold tight and pretend it’s a plan”.
4. My mum getting all flustered about needing blusher, so one of the bridesmaids stepped in to save the day.
5. Speaking to an old friend, Ian for the first time in ages.
6. Sarah, a friend from university, turning up in a TARDIS dress. [Ed: It was amazing]
7. Seeing my dad in a bow tie.
8. Over 100 of our friends and family sitting down, waiting for the bride to arrive. Which she did. Eventually.
9. James, friend from work and generally nice chap, and I sharing a knowing look when a piece of Zelda music was played.
10. Seeing my beautiful wife walk down the aisle. If this list was in order of greatest moments, this would top it. “I almost cried when I saw your face,” said one of my ushers.
11. Nervously putting the ring on the wrong finger.
12. Greg – one of Carrie-Ann’s brothers – not making a scene at all as he hobbled to the front [ed: he’s got a broken shin, he wasn’t doing it for attention] to deliver a wonderful reading with Simon – Carrie-Ann’s other brother – about tea. I like tea.
13. Carrie-Ann giggling endlessly.
14. Ben’s (one of the ushers), attempt at delivering Neil Gaiman’s excellent but also tricky poem: The day the saucers came. He slipped once, but recovered delightfully. You heard me right: delightfully.
15. Our lovely registrar. We had no control over whether we got a good one or not, but we definitely got a very, very good one.
16. Walking back down the aisle to “Life’s A Happy Song” by the Muppets.
17. Christine, one of the bridesmaids, acting as Master of Ceremonies. Absolutely fantastic.
18. The two little girls following Carrie-Ann around all day because she looked like a princess.
19. Our marvellous photographers, who stayed for ages and took loads and loads of clever pictures [ed: more to come on this very soon].
20. Seeing Craig, another of the ushers, doing jazz hands.
21. Seeing the full(ish) Dring family reunited one more time around a table.
22. The number of people who thought rye bread was chocolate bread.
23. The fact that, for all the cheating, only three people answered all the quiz questions correctly.
24. Half the room not having a clue as to why I had spent four days wrapping Celebrations [ed: if you’re not sure, watch the Gavin & Stacey Christmas special].
25. A young boy handing me a picture of the bride and groom he had drawn. Usher Ben, who was seated next to me, then said, (with the young man barely out of earshot): “He got your hair colour wrong.” Probably something to do with the lack of brown crayon.
26. The Harry Potter-style fire place.
27. Jayne, mother of the bride, unfurling a really long sheet of paper and getting a huge laugh before her speech.
28. Steve, father of the bride, delivering a speech so targeted at Carrie-Ann, half the room didn’t get the references. Which was very, very thoughtful.
29. The room’s reaction to the word ‘Duxford’.
30. And while I’m at it, the room’s reaction to the last part of my speech.
31. Mark’s best man speech. Every. Single. Line.
32. Lovely guest Claire running up to Mark at the end of his speech to give him a hug for doing so well.
33. Kieran’s best man speech. It could have been cruel (there’s a lot of material) but it was really loving.
34. The number of people who embraced the board games, video games and photo booth we had cobbled together and that the bridesmaids/ushers had set-up.
35. All those heated battles of Jenga and Guess Who.
37. The number of people who wanted to play with sparklers in the rain.
38. Dad’s cousins – Donna and Peter – swing dancing.
39. The really tasty hog roast I managed to scoff down quickly before I was pulled elsewhere.
40. My friends Remy and Paul screaming Plug In Baby at me as if they were in some satanic death metal band.
41. Craig finally getting to the dance floor for the very same song.
42. Maid of honour Katie bouncing to every punk rock song with her brother Simon.
43. Carrie-Ann sprinting – giant dress and all -to find her cousin because a Take That song had come on.
44. Dad saying he was proud of me. He never says things like that.
45. Watching a friend who has suffered an unspeakable heartbreak, deliver an unforced smile as B*Witched came on.
46. The fledgling bromance between Mark and Jaik, who’d only met once before.
47. Heatherden Hall and Pinewood Studios. They were brilliant.
48. This picture:
49. The glass of champagne in our wedding night bedroom and the knight guarding our room.
50. Sunderland beating Manchester United 2-1.
Some people have asked me already, possibly due to my not-so-subtle despair at the whole cost and workload involved in getting married: was it worth it?
And I can’t help but be a little philosophical and pretentious about it.
Ultimately, life is just a series of stuff that happens. Some of it is beautiful and lovely and full of joy, and other parts are tragic and heartbreaking and sad.
We have very little control over the sad things. Those days are just going to happen. But the happy times…that’s all down to us.
I’m not telling anyone to get married. The decision to do that is far more nuanced than anything I can write here. But what I am saying is this: don’t let the cost or the hard work put you off. Instead of organising a wedding, I could have spent my time writing a book or playing some video games, or simply relaxing.
I could have spent the money on something more practical, like a house, or a new car.
Don’t get me wrong; at times I wanted to.
Yet I come back to that series of good stuff and bad stuff that make up our lives. And February 13th, 2016, will forever sit very close to the top of the very, very best of days.
It was definitely worth it.