This week is Marriage Week, whatever that means, so we took the opportunity to ask our writers how they felt about tying the knot. First up, Vicky Lindsay Warburton explains why she took her own sweet time.
My parents have been married five times between them. Four of these betrothals culminated in disaster. Any child psychologist would agree I was hard-wired to believe that marriage was a load of old cobblers. Especially given my mother and her current partner of 20 years have never legally married, but happiness reigns. Now there’s a blueprint.
I’ve been to cheap weddings, the buffet splayed out on trestle tables; dry, pre-sliced, white baps smeared with margarine. I’ve attended exquisite events in stately homes where doves have been released by the bride and groom. And I’ve been to weddings in the grounds of family houses. I’ve been sober, sick, and even given a best-man speech.
Every occasion was different. But it was not for me. The older I got, the more I recoiled and viewed bridal get-up as fancy dress. The wedding breakfast filled me with horror. The option of marriage was like the ignored unopened packet of quinoa in my cupboard. I didn’t notice it; it didn’t register; it was never a choice.
Twenty-four years ago, I met my (now) husband at college. Our on/off teenage relationship didn’t fade away. We travelled individually for years in our 20s, but returned to each other. Years rolled on, we moved in, had two children. It was always meant to be. But people weren’t satisfied, and there was always the accusatory question: Isn’t it about time you two got married? Erm, nope. Piss off.
That said, as I edged towards 40 something surprising happened: I attended a few low-key weddings that sparked my interest. Embryonic interest, I must add.
“I had a beautiful six-year-old bridesmaid and the best man was aged three; speeches were blessedly short, as he could barely speak.”
Two years ago my boyfriend took me away for my birthday – a massive surprise trip to Morocco. A meticulously planned birthday treat as I was desperate for a little independent travel. We were emerging from the early childcare years jaded and bedraggled and up for some much needed ‘us time’. I was blissfully unaware of any other plan.
On our last day in Essaouira, a dramatic windswept coastal retreat, my then life-partner muttered, “Let’s go over here where it’s quieter…”
Quieter? Quieter than what? Death? I knew then. Right then. Realisation. SHIT THIS IS A LIFE MOMENT COMING NOW OH MY GOD. I’M OFF GUARD. I AM OFF GUARD. THIS IS WHY YOU ARE HERE – NOT FOR YOUR FLAMING THIRTY-NINTH!
Nervous words machine-gunned out of my mouth as I felt him edge closer and could feel something in his pocket (not that!), a hard box against my leg. SHIT HE HAS GOT A RING. I REPEAT A RING! MAYDAY MAYDAY! He leaned over and pulled out the box. I braced… It was his sunglasses case, not a ring. Phew. Phew?
YOU’VE GOT IT WRONG. OH. NO. DISAPPOINTMENT. ACTUAL DISAPPOINTMENT. We sat. I breathed.
Sat there staring into the elements, he asked The Question, and I replied, “Of course, of course.” Amid snot, tears and hyperventilating. I looked like hell; this was draining stuff. “It’s time,” he told me. I already knew. I was at last ready.
No ring was produced – amen – but excitement was. We decided to have a small wedding, so small, in fact that we didn’t invite anyone except his parents, and my mum and her life-partner. From proposal to execution it took eight weeks. Every Easter, we go to the Lake District; we thought we could tie IT in with our yearly trip, so we did.
The ceremony was emotional. Thank God I didn’t have to do that in front of an audience. I’d love to report glorious sunshine but it was a bit damp. We wanted the wedding to be about us. Just us two. I had a beautiful six-year-old bridesmaid and the best man was aged three (speeches were blessedly short, as he could barely speak). We celebrated with a local pub meal and rang all our friends and family to tell them the news.
A few months later we treated our would-be guests to a free bar and a good old boozy do and that was it. Mr and Mrs. I don’t own an engagement ring, a big wedding dress or a wedding photo album but for me it was perfect. At 39 I understood the actual point of wanting to get married and being bloody thrilled about it. From that point I began to notice marriage.
Every wedding is different; people are different; marriage works for some and not others but for me right now, I love being married. I’m in a team – Team Warburton with the people I love the most in the world.5281 Views
Vicky is reintegrating back into society as her children are now in school. She teaches mindfulness to teenagers, wears trainers and paddles through the nonsense of life.