To be honest, I’m not sure we were cool enough to pull off a Vegas wedding and anyway, who needs Nevada when you have Croydon registry office on your doorstep.
On the whole I’m a pretty indecisive person, snap decisions, in fact, making any decisions are not usually mine, or your dads forte. Choosing a wedding venue and a dress however were surprisingly straightforward.
Auntie Vicky came with me to find a dress one Saturday up in London. First port of call was a sample sale which was honestly a truely horrendous experience, a free for all, full to the brim with bridezillas and oversized dresses. We escaped quickly and wandered over to a little road with an array of beautiful boutiques. Although we hadn’t actually made any appointments (I was totally clueless about this sort of thing) one place managed to fit us in, as long as we were quick. I had an idea of what I wanted and had brought along a photo of one I’d seen in a magazine. The lady headed straight over to the rails and picked out the exact one. I said yes to the dress there and then. Forget the fact I did it while standing on a large box that added at least another six inches, it was stunning and conveniently only just out of the price range we’d agreed. Looking back, I was slightly disappointed I didn’t try on a few more, when else do you ever get to put on so many beautiful dresses? To make up for that, I’m hoping that one day I’ll get to sip champagne and watch you two do it, or maybe even aunty Sophie if she’d ever let me come along.
The venue was another easy choice, after seeing a number online we chose to visit Wasing Park just outside Reading. Reading by the way held no significance to either of us other than it housed this perfect venue. It was a number of converted barns with accommodation and a church on site, non of this faffing about, moving people between venues. There was only one little hitch, to get married at the church we needed to attend mass there a set number of times and not only was it over an hour away they only held a service once a month. The way round this was to get ‘legally’ married somewhere else and then have a blessing in the church, which to all the guests would look and sound like the real deal. Joking aside, the church bit was so much more important to me than any formality, having a priest conduct the service in front of all our family and friends meant everything, so now we just needed to find a venue for the legal bit.
Once the big decisions were made we headed off on a sort of pre-honeymoon American adventure, an amazing trip which I’m itching to do again someday with you girls. As a child I never really appreciated how lucky we were having two teacher parents who were always off while we were on holiday and I’m so glad both of you will have the same. I remember early on in my own teaching career doing some recruitment work for the TDA and when they told me we weren’t really supposed to mention the holidays when enticing people into the profession I just laughed. Because, I’ve got to be honest, the holidays definitely make it into the top three reasons for signing up, if not the top two.
We flew to San Fransico via a Chicago stop off, then hired a VW camper and made our way along Route One all the way down to San Diego. The views were out of this world, especially at sunset, and they almost made up for the fact that for most of the journey I thought the van was going to topple into the ocean each time we turned a corner. We had breakfast in Malibu, visited multiple theme parks in LA, strolled along muscle beach and watched Captain America at a drive in movie theater in San Diego. After a couple of weeks we started the long drive over to Las Vegas. We met some of your dads friends here and had a few awesome days, partying at the Wynn, chilling in the baking sunshine and then almost getting hitched Britney style. I say almost, we had it all organised, venue, white summer dress and a few witnesses, all until a phone call with grandpa and grandma the night before made me feel a wave of guilt about them not being there and I called it off. To be honest, I’m not sure we were cool enough to pull off a Vegas wedding and anyway who needs Nevada when you have Croydon registry office on your doorstep.
When we arrived home I was pleasantly surprised to see I hadn’t put on two dress sizes, even after the copious amount of food we’d devoured. We had six weeks to get everything sorted, not the easiest task when your family and bridesmaids live over two hundred miles away. In my infinite wisdom I’d decided to save money by hand making all that I could, invitations, decorations, seating charts, sweet tables and the order of service. It definitely took its toll. On the morning of the wedding I arrived at grandmas room in floods of tears, I had put so much pressure on myself and was exhausted.
Although I would have loved a morning of pampering with the girls what I really needed was a few hours alone. I ran a hot bath and soaked it up before curling my hair and applying my makeup (another ridiculous, money saving idea). Your dad who later admitted during his speech that before the wedding, he had no idea how much work went into planning one, and still didn’t, spent the morning playing golf. Grandma on the other hand ran around dealing with flowers that weren’t quite what had been ordered (random red berries in an otherwise purple and white bouquet), an unexpected guest who needed a table and a screen that your dad should have requested that didn’t turn up on the day. She was amazing, your dad was your dad, and I didn’t have to lift a finger.
Despite the shaky start, we had the most wonderful day. A beautiful service was followed by delicious food, great speeches and lots of dancing, even the fact I missed out on the hog roast couldn’t shift the smile that lit up my face. You know, there are only a few occasions in your life when all your family and friends are in one room and that was one of the best. As I went to sleep that night I felt incredibly lucky and very, very happy, another chapter of our lives had begun and all was good.
Love mum xx