Friday, 16 November 2012

the big day...

Two weeks tomorrow and my beautiful niece will become a Mrs. I can’t wait for the wedding. Firstly because I haven’t been to a family wedding in years, decades! And secondly, to get it over with. I don’t mean that in a negative way, just it will be nice to move forward. It seems like this whole year has been leading to the wedding, to this one day. Everything has become about ‘the wedding’. So now the countdown is really on and I’m excited for the happy couple and our family and it will be a wonderful day. Actually few days, because it’s not just the wedding day, there’s the meet and greet drinks and some other thing planned.

The build up has made me reflect on my own wedding, almost 15 years ago. The total opposite of the wedding we are about to attend. Truly one of the best days of my life. Why? I’ll tell you. It was spontaneous, it was intimate, it was personal, it was about just the two of us. It was not about the dress, the cake, the menu, the bridesmaids, the guests, the hens nights and stag nights and colours and decorations. It was me and him. That’s it. We didn’t get engaged. Mr S proposed and we planned our wedding straight away. We didn’t invite anyone (although our parents did end up coming along), we didn’t want a big wedding and party. We just wanted to get married, underwater. So I contacted a couple of dive companies in the British Virgin Islands (where I had leant to dive many years before) and researched marriage licenses overseas, booked our flights, brought new swimmers and off we went. To be honest, we really didn’t know if any of our very loose plans would come together, and we were fully prepared to return home unmarried (remember ‘package dive weddings’ didn’t exist back then). But you know what, it all came together perfectly. All the locals thought we were mad! We bought our marriage license with stamps, had it witnessed by security guards, hired a small boat to take us to an island, we drank cheap champagne in plastic cups and had our marriage vows written on fish and heart shaped slates (by marker pen) with a pencil attached so we could tick, the ‘I DO’ box. We wore ‘borrowed’ dive shop wetsuits and my bouquet was eaten by fish. At night we drank rum punch at Bomba Shak (a beach bar made from materials washed up on the beach), signed our names on the ‘wall’ and listened to a Calypso band until it was time to walk back to our hotel, barefoot along the sand.  I would not change a single second. It still makes me smile. I’d do it all again. And all it cost us, was just a little more than our normal two weeks in the sun.

It sickens me the amount of money spend on ‘traditional’ weddings. Thousands, tens of thousands spent on one day. One day! I know that many people dream of their wedding day and each to their own, absolutely. But. Personally I could never have enjoyed a big white wedding. All the expectation and expense and needing it to be perfect, and who is it really for? How many people can honestly say their wedding was perfect, that they really wouldn’t change a thing? I wonder... I hope my niece’s day is wonderful and she will have treasured memories like I do of mine.  One thing is for sure.  She will look beautiful. 

Bomba Shak, Tortola, British Virgin Islands
Image by John French at

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