"All you need is love, love is all you need".
I have to be honest I never thought I was the marrying kind. I was always slightly in awe of those who made the ultimate commitment to each other. I was a great believer in the sanctity of marriage but I wasn't sure it was for me. Although I could be certain of what I felt in the present moment, the next 10, 20, 30 years was a different matter and right now was all I thought I could ever guarantee.
When my partner Tim proposed however, I had no doubts about our future. I treasure our relationship where I have total freedom to be myself. There is no judgement and we love each other unconditionally. We have found mutual support and our lives together are fluid enough to have coped with unexpected change and I am certain, if we maintain our level of communication, together we can face anything life throws at us. I wanted to honour our relationship and become his wife and therefore didn't hesitate at all in accepting.
I am not the sort of girl who has spent years visualising her wedding, imagining the dress, the flowers and everything else you are supposed to want for your special day. I wasn't sure what I wanted but I was certain of what I didn't want. I didn’t want months of planning and stress, putting everyone else’s wants and needs before our own. I also didn’t want to be paying for it after the event. If we couldn’t afford it we would go without. We were adamant the most important part of our day would be our love and if wedding favours and table decorations didn’t feature it wouldn’t take anything away from our unwavering commitment to each other.
It was with a feeling of trepidation we decided to sit down and pick a venue. We are no different to most couples in that we have some family complications and limited funds. Our families are based in two different locations (3 if you count us) so the first dilemma was always going to be where should the ceremony take place.
Approximately 5 minutes into the first tentative planning conversation I’d had enough. The wedding should be purely about us. We joked it would be easier to run away and get married without telling anybody. We laughed, and then we looked at each other, and then we weren't laughing anymore. Could we? Should we?
It wasn't a decision we took lightly. People have expectations when it comes to weddings. Was it selfish to put our needs first with no compromises?
We were undecided and subsequently kept our engagement secret. What would be the right thing to do? Was there such a thing as the right thing? We decided to individually make a decision then reveal them to each other and hope they matched.
Ultimately I had to ask myself two real questions.
What did I really want?
Used to a lifetime of following my heart I knew this was so huge my head needed to be part of the equation. I made a pros and cons list. Although I wanted to share my day with my loved ones ultimately I wanted to be Tim’s wife in a stress free, debt free, least amount of planning way as possible.
Could I stick with my decision and be happy with it?
This really simplifies any big decision. Generally only one option (at a time) works. To acknowledge a decision has been made and it is the right one for you eliminates lots of angst. It is easy to half heartedly make a decision and then wildly yoyo between “it’s right” and “well should I? could I?”. Accepting I am happy with my decision eradicates any future “what ifs”.
Eloping seemed the perfect choice and thankfully that was the conclusion Tim had also come to. So, we were running away then.
We called Gretna Green in Scotland to see what planning a wedding there entails and came off the phone 20 minutes later having booked the venue, registrar, hotel, florist, photographer, witnesses, a dvd and discussed our music options. Half an hour after this we had ordered wedding outfits online and that was pretty much that. Wedding booked. Now exhale and relax.
Our wedding was beautiful in its simplicity. when Etta James sang “At Last” the words took on a whole new meaning. Not only could we apply them to our day, our love, it was also probably one of the only times either of us have wholly put ourselves totally first. Doing what we wanted rather than adapting and compromising to suit others. That in itself should be celebrated.
I don’t feel I have missed out not having a traditional day. We are all individual and what suits some would be another’s worst nightmare. For me though I had all I needed on the day. My best friend was there. I was marrying him.
You can read more about my wedding week here.