Marriage [mar-riage] noun
An endless sleepover with your favourite weirdo.
Recently my husband and I celebrated 6 years of marriage.
Our wedding day was categorically one of the worst days in the last 9 years we have been together, to a point I can’t stomach looking at pictures of the day.
Why am I telling you this? With Covid-19 affecting all areas of our lives this year, there will be so many people sitting with anxiety, disappointment and possibly even feeling regret. I thought that since there isn’t many things out there in internet land that give this kind of account of weddings that perhaps if I can put this side out there it may elevate some hard feelings, not just for those waiting to enter into marriage but those who, like me, didn’t have the fairy-tale day.
I’ll give you a little background on myself first, especially for the new people in the crowd *waves enthusiastically at you* Welcome! My name is Rochelle, I’m a tattooed wife and badass mother of 2 boys. I never thought I would ever say that previous sentence. I have heard so many stories of other girls who have dreamed of their wedding days since they were as young as 4. The girls who put pillowcases over the back of their heads or their Mother’s best lace curtain to wear as veils and pretend they were brides. I wore my Mother’s net curtains and pillowcases too but as a cape while jumping off the couch or around the bed. Needless to say, I was no Monica Geller, I didn’t have a folder of wedding pictures made saved for when I’d need it in adulthood. In all honesty, I didn’t ever think I would find someone who would ever understand me enough to truly love me. I saw that my own Mother didn’t need a man by her side to get by and I knew that if I was right, that no-one would love me for me, then it was okay. I would be okay.
I’ve never traditionally “dated” anyone. There has been some, malfunctions I suppose is the best way to describe them, along the way and in between but I’ve only had 3 serious relationships. My first boyfriend was someone I met when I was 13 in high school and we were together for 4 years. We obviously hung out together outside school, we formed a band alongside a few friends and saw each other a lot but we never “dated” I just became his girlfriend and that was it until we were 17. My 2nd longest relationship was my 1st long distance relationship. I lived in Scotland and he lived in Belgium…I wished we had kept it that way but hey! You live and learn! I met him via a forum online that one of my best friends had made (ah remember those days?) and we became really close friends first and then I guess it blossomed into having feelings for each other. So, he became my boyfriend before I even met him in person (I had seen him on video and pictures) so we never dated either and by the time he moved to Scotland we were already a year into our relationship. 7 years deep, after planning, postponing and rescheduling our wedding, I finally came to my sense. That’s enough about him. My 3rd and final serious relationship is the one I am now in with my husband. He was my 2nd long distance relationship as he lived in England. We did however visit each other more and spend long weekends together so I guess those counted as our “dates”. Almost 10 year later and It would seem I like him more than originally thought because he’s still around for me to thoroughly annoy.
My first myth buster of this post is this; it doesn’t matter how long you’ve been in a relationship to get engaged. Mr H asked me to marry him after 9 months of being together and here we are, 6 years of marriage and 2 kids later and still going strong. I’d have said “Yes” the first day we met in person if he asked me and the result would’ve still been the same.
“Marriage is just two imperfect people choosing to never give up on each other”
Now that you’ve got a rough but well-rounded account of me and my love life, I’ll take you to the original point. Why was my wedding so terrible? I tried hard throughout planning to make it all about me and my husband, to incorporate who we really were as everyone always says “It’s your day” but as much as there was personal touches, looking back it is clear to us both that our wedding day was totally about others and not about us.
- I never got the option to marry in Scotland. It was made clear by family members of my husband’s family that it must be England.
- I wanted a loch-side wedding with a mountain backdrop, and we got a converted farmhouse and barn. A very beautiful barn but no stunning backdrop to be seen, just lots of flat farmland and sheep.
- I had minimal guests. Excluding my wedding party, I had less than 15 people there from my family out of 50 guests. Some of the guest we did have I would have happily traded for others.
- Not being the “typical bride” I had no idea how I wanted to really look on my wedding day and I decided to go for an old school Scottish traditional style dress with a very prominent puck rock edge to it as my husband referred to me in the early stages of our relationship as his “Tattooed, punk rock princess” In sentiment it worked in every other way it did not. I hate the way I look and in all the pictures you can tell it.
- My hairdresser ruined my hair. Instead of doing what I had requested months before when I contacted her and she assured me she could work with the extensions I had in, she in fact ignored what I told her and on the day had no low heat products to style my hair. I had to google while sitting in the chair a style that could kind of work. Also, my bridesmaid stole my original hair idea.
- The best men didn’t ask my husband for a seating plan so when I arrived nobody knew what the fuck was going on because the seating plan I had worked with in the rehearsal the day before wasn’t followed.
- Our photographer lied about her credentials. I asked for natural photography and I ended up feeling awkward and posed and totally out of my comfort zone. People also followed us around taking pictures on top of the photographer and it was the most overwhelming situation I could’ve imagined.
- One of the best men lost my tablet that all our music was on and my husband had to tap into the venue wi-fi so he could download a new playlist that added 25 minutes on to our lateness to start.
- People didn’t turn up. People didn’t contact us to tell us why they didn’t turn up. We paid extra for meals for people who didn’t turn up.
- The DJ didn’t stick to the set list I had requested and ended up playing songs that were actually on my “no go” list.
- My Husband helped me do my own nails the morning of our wedding because my 2 of my bridesmaids were too self-absorbed and while my husband and I ran around like headless chickens the day before, my bridesmaids (2 out of 3) sat on their asses, chilling out and worrying about their own appearance.
- My husband was late for the ceremony because he had to chauffeur people to his own wedding.
There is probably more I could add to this list, however, I think you get the picture. It was a disaster and not at all the wedding day that we had hoped for, especially when there was so much hard work and planning put into it from our side.
There is so much pressure and expectation with regards to weddings, in movies and TV programs, especially the “real life” type of shows, for your wedding day to be spectacular. Your bridal beauty is supposed to radiate, the term “perfect” get thrown around all too often and I’ve seen many a bride crack under the pressure (“…Can’t talk to her, can’t kill her, she’s a bridezilla”) Another Myth Buster for you; You Don’t have to look the best you’ll ever look on your wedding day. I for one would say that I’ve grown more within myself since my wedding day and the way I carry myself now makes me the most attractive I think I’ve ever been.
I found it very difficult to think or talk about my wedding for many years, I still can’t really stand looking at the images we got, however, in those images there is glimmers of true and genuine happiness between me and my husband and this brings me to my main point. I’m not at all belittling how significant a wedding day is, it’s a very important milestone but the parts of my wedding that mean the most to me are parts that were just me and my husband. There is so much money, time and effort that gets put into one day but what I’ve come to realise is that it doesn’t matter if you have a lavish wedding, a fairy tale wedding, an intimate wedding or anything else in between because, without meaning any kind of offence, it’s really just the celebration for making things legal. The important part is the marriage. I had one terrible wedding day, however, I have had so many amazingly wonderful, beautiful and life changing days within our 6 years of marriage and I know there’s many more a head of us. I could sit here and plan to do it all again, knowing exactly how it will go without one second of doubt, from the dress (another myth buster; your future husband seeing your dress actually isn’t bad luck and doesn’t mean divorce is one the cards) to the venue, to the theme but it wouldn’t make one bit of difference, our marriage would still be the same.
If you are someone who has had their wedding dreams dashed due to this pandemic, I say this with all due respect; Take it from someone who knows, in the long run it doesn’t matter if you have 10 guests and not 80, it doesn’t matter if you can’t get a huge band to play, if you have to down size or make changes because the only thing that matter is that 2 people are joining each other and giving their hearts, souls and love to each other for the remainder of the life they have. You are going to have a lifetime together to make so many amazing memories and what kind of wedding you had won’t matter much as you embark on the roller coaster that is marriage. After all, the couples that are meant to be are the ones who grow through everything that will test them, the things designed to tear them apart, yet they will only come out stronger than ever before.
To those of you who had Covid weddings; Congratulations! You’ve not only made it through the wedding stress but you did so in a bloody pandemic! You’ve started your marriage game strong.
No matter what part of your journey you are on, I wish you every happiness for your day when it comes and the future you both have in front of you.
Love Hard. Be Fierce. Horns High.