At the end of a rainbow, you’ll find a pot of gold
At the end of a story, you’ll find it’s all been told
But our love has a treasure our hearts always spend
And it has a story without any end
At the end of a river, the water stops its flow
At the end of a highway, there’s no place you can go
But just tell me you love and you are only mine
And our love will go on ’til the end of time
10 years ago, around about this time (assuming you’re reading this the moment it’s published), I was walking down the aisle at Ardencote Manor, to the sound of Earl Grant’s “The End”, on the arm of Pa Lee, towards the man that fans of A Brummie Home and Abroad would come to know as Mr Fletche.
It’s the little things about a wedding day that you remember – the big things tend to go by in a blur. I remember coming downstairs at my childhood home on the morning – only to find I’d been deserted by everyone. Turns out Ma Lee was at the hairdressers and Pa Lee was in the loo with a cuppa and the crossword. I remember Ma Lee making far too many sandwiches and inviting all the neighbours in for champagne. I remember Pa Lee making me knock back a top-notch brandy whilst I’m trying to carefully apply my wedding make-up. I remember my driver arriving and insisting we leave an hour earlier than planned “in case of traffic”. I remember being calm and composed until I leave the house, where I promptly burst into tears on the doorstep – with no way of returning to repair my make-up. I remember arriving at our wedding venue – an hour early (there was no traffic…) and parking up in a layby whilst I watch our guests arrive, shivering because it’s November, I didn’t think to purchase a wrap and the driver won’t put the heating on in our Beauford for fear of carbon monoxide poisoning.
I remember trying to make a misty-eyed Mr Fletche laugh during our vows, and demonstrating my wobbly finger party trick as he tried to push the ring down my third finger, left hand. I remember not being sure whether to sign the register with my new or old signature, so scribbled something which would pass as both (and remains my signature to this day). I remember smiling til my cheeks ached as we returned down the aisle hand-in-hand to The Turtles “Happy Together”. I remember us taking a champagne drive around the grounds, and Mr Fletche telling me about his Fantasy Football team changes. I remember confirming to our event organiser that yes, I still wanted to do a speech, and then panicking because I’d left my notes back at home. I remember feeling the slight weight of my grandparent’s wedding rings as I did my speech, tied into a pouch inside my dress, sealed with blue ribbon – my old, my borrowed and my blue all in one place. I remember Pa Lee, so nervous about his speech, practiced a hundred times, yet opening with a beautifully ad-libbed line about how this was the second proudest day of his life, after the day I was born. I remember Mr Fletche being a surprisingly excellent public speaker, so comfortable that I expected him to pull a PowerPoint presentation out of the bag at some point.
I remember our photographer whisking us off for photographs somewhere between the main course and dessert, keeping everyone waiting for their apple crumble. I remember that the clay Mr Fletche kept falling off our wedding cake – even now his head falls off on a frequent basis. I remember our evening guests starting to arrive – making it through the heavy fog that had descended – even though we were still finishing up our meal. I remember not worrying that we were running a little (or a lot) off schedule. I remember being in Mr Fletche’s arms for our first dance – the We Are Scientists version of “Be My Baby”. I remember being back in Pa Lee’s arms for “My Girl”. I remember being thrown around the dancefloor to “Mr Brightside” by one of our ushers. I remember the bruises from looping my heavy dress over my arm. I remember the relief of taking off my hooped underskirt, making my dress feel about three stone lighter. I remember the disappointment at missing out on the sausage sarnies and bacon rolls because I was having far too much fun dancing to leave.
And I remember taking about seventy hair grips out of my hair, and still finding them down my cleavage for days. I remember us ripping open all of our cards and presents in our room, not making any notes of who bought us what (which probably explains why, ten years later, people are still awaiting a thank-you card from us – if you’re reading and you bought us something or gave us cash or vouchers – thank you!). I remember wondering what time the drunken guests down in the bar (aka my chief bridesmaid) would get to bed, and whether they’d make it down to breakfast (very late, and no). I remember wearing my tiara down to breakfast the next morning, because I wanted to hang on to the very last bit of wedding paraphernalia.
And most of all I remember feeling that this was the start of our life together. One which would include travelling, photography and blogging. Which would include a university degree, redundancy, new jobs, new opportunities, exhibitions, accidental hiking, mountain climbing, mourning the loss of two cats and various houseplants. Which would eventually include selling our house and embracing city living. One which would lead us to here, ten years later. Today, we are sipping cocktails by a pool in Costa Rica, making plans for the next ten years.
What are your favourite wedding memories? Which small details do you remember? And what advice would you give to others? Mine would be not to worry if best-laid plans go awry, no-one but you will know! No-one knew we were running late, no-one knew I was hiding in a car in a lay-by, no-one knew my garter had slipped down my leg as I walked down the aisle (apart from the guest who kindly picked it up for me)…and no-one knew that Mr Fletche was lying at the bottom of the (decidedly crooked) wedding cake whilst I triumphantly stayed on the top tier…