I have always said that I wished that I had attended my own wedding as a guest, and not as the bride. Although my wedding day was wonderful in so many ways, it was also very stressful and tiring. I lost a ridiculous amount of weight in the run up to the big day. I wore shoes that were too high, and so it looked as if I was running up the aisle towards my betrothed. I had professional photographs taken that didn't reflect the day itself. I didn't eat or drink the whole day. I did have a sneaky ciggy in the loo with my friend Nina, but was caught and told off by my Auntie Beryl. The last thing I remember was lying exhausted in the hotel bedroom, while Marc was whistling in the bathroom. I woke up the next morning still fully dressed.
But going to a wedding as a guest is fabulous. I love a good wedding. I love that everyone looks so smart. I love that everyone is so happy and chatty. I love catching up with old friends or family members that you haven't seen for a while. I love making friends for the day with people at your table. I always cry when the bride walks down the aisle, because she always looks so beautiful and happy and nervous. I love the speeches. I love the food. I love the banter. I love the dancing. I love it all.
This weekend Marc and I travelled to Belfast to attend the wedding of Andy and Sarah. Andy was Marc's best man when we got married in 1996. He and Marc met at University, and shared a love of guitars and rock music. They both studied Mechanical Engineering. Andy has always been a good friend to Marc. He is reliable and trustworthy. He is funny and kind. He drinks like a bloody fish, and him and Marc have many tales to tell of drunken shenanigans over the years.
It was an absolute privilege to be invited to share Andy and Sarah's big day. It also meant that Marc and I had a very rare weekend away together. My sister in law looked after the boys, and we made the most of every minute that we were away. It was just lovely to hold hands and wander around Belfast city centre. We went out for dinner the night before the wedding and got a bit tipsy (we were in Ireland after all..) and met up with fellow guests back at the hotel.
The day itself was bright and breezy. The ceremony took place at Ulster Folk Museum which was a wonderful setting. There were ice creams after the ceremony and a chance to have a look around this wonderful place before the wedding reception. Marc and I love this sort of thing, and I spent a long while sat in a thatched cottage chatting to the curator about it's history. It had a particularly lovely cottage garden.
We were seated at a table with old friends of Andy's, some of whom Marc already knew. Everyone was friendly and chatty. The bubbly flowed, and many glasses were raised to health, wealth and happiness. The speeches did not disappoint. The groom and best man were on fine form with anecdotes of misadventure and also heartfelt emotion. There was not a dry eye in the house. There was live music and Dad dancing galore. Marc had a whale of a time storming up the dance floor in his own inimitable style. There is a video circulating on Facebook of me shaking my thing for all it's worth. Hideous to watch, but very fun to do!
I wish Andy and Sarah every happiness. I have been married for nearly eighteen years. It hasn't always been easy, but if I had to do it all again, I still would. (Although I think I would have like to have gone clubbing and skinny dipping with all of our friends after the reception).
Here's to the happy couple!
With much love,