When you’ve been together for a long time and have never gotten round to getting married you hear a thing or two. Your relationship status seems to be a source of fascination for some people. I’m sure people don’t mean to be unkind but over the years I’ve heard the following: –

‘Is it the money?’
‘Has he never asked?’
‘You’re just as married as us.’
‘It feels so different once you’re married.’

And this from a child…
‘Do you love each other?’
I sensed what this 7 year old was getting at so I asked him,
‘What does it mean not to be married?’
‘It means you can walk out.’

I’ve always found the whole wedding industry creepy, from the cheesy cringe busting images of people flashing their ring finger to Hen nights – which frankly are the worst invention known to woman. What should be a fun night out between mates is often a booze soaked cheese fest of such forced proportions I can’t even… NO. Thank. You. Then there’s the overpriced dress, favours, flowers, chair covers, marquees… Honestly, I want to lie down just thinking about it.

My partner and I have been together for almost 20 years. We have seen each other through sickness and health, good times and bad. We have 3 children together. Lord knows that’s enough of a test in itself. It’s probably safe to assume our relationship is stronger than some of the marriages I’ve known.

We just never got round to it.

Then a few years ago we got engaged. It wasn’t out of the blue, it wasn’t a surprise to me, it was talked about and I designed my ring (Art Deco inspired in case you’re wondering). I can’t really explain what prompted it but it happened and it was sweet and then life went on as normal….
Meaning that each time we tried to arrange a wedding some major life event happened. And by life event I mean death.
And it just doesn’t feel appropriate to be planning a party at the same time as a funeral.

So now we find ourselves in a relatively calm patch and have decided to get on with it. And so why have we?
The kids want us to.
And us. We want to.
And me.

I want a ritual to celebrate how far we’ve come and how lucky we are to have this life together.

So I find myself in the bizarre position of wedding planning. I’ve even tried on expensive wedding dresses. (For anyone else contemplating such an excursion I can only suggest a stiff drink before hand.) I’m having to think about a Hen night at a time of personal change. Where the old no longer serves the new.

I have to face up to the emotional wrench of not having my Dad at my wedding. Or my brother.

Everytime I read wedding blogs I cry. The beautiful faces in these pictures of young bohemian brides frolicking in fields in their Jenny Packham dress and perfect shoes are lovely to look at, but they don’t really reflect me. So I have to scale back and think about what it means to be us. Who and how we are as a family. And at the end of it all there is love. As with everything, that’s all that matters. And we have plenty of that so I hope our day reflects this.

Will I feel any different? Who knows? But it will be nice to have a big party, with my children a part of it, to walk down the aisle of a beautiful church that means so much to us, to stand up and declare publicly what I knew the day we met, a private vow we made years ago, that we were in it for the long haul. And to have my 5 minutes in a nice frock and some flattering (photoshopped) pictures to remember the day. That will be something.

They say that nothing’s surer in life that death and taxes.

Well, my reasons for getting married so late in the day lie somewhere between the two.

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