On becoming a wife {The preceding week}

I wake up to find a cup of tea on the book next to my bed, and the smell of pancakes cooking in butter. This is our Saturday morning ritual – when you live overseas you create your own traditions to give you something to cling to, something familiar. This Saturday morning is special because I hear the song that my bridesmaid and I used to sing and dance to when we were 16 playing on the radio. This never happens.  I rush to the kitchen, my hair pointing in all directions but down, overly excited about hearing our song. I find that Andy has started our iPod wedding playlist, and it wasn’t on the radio after all. I dance like an idiot anyway, and eventually Andy joins in too and we whirl each other around, dressed in our pyjamas and bed hair, to the smell of burning pancakes and lemon juice. The Cat watches, bemused.  This Saturday is also special because it is only 7 days before we get married. The rest of the day is spent packing and wearing wedding shoes, occasionally catching one another’s eyes and remembering. One week.


We spend the morning continuing to pack and continuing to wear wedding shoes. We have long discussions regarding the height of my shoes and whether they will make our heights too similar in the photos. On the day we won’t even notice, but for today it gives us something to focus our anxieties on. 


Everyone is very excited for me. I feel  a strange sense of calm and detachment. I still don’t really believe that this thing that I’ve been thinking about for eleven months and two weeks is actually going to happen. I wave good bye to all of my friends at work, all of them more excited than me, but who can’t wish me luck, because wishing people good luck before the event is bad luck in Russia. We check in on-line for our flight back to the UK tomorrow, and somehow get the best seats on the plane. Luck is on our side.


As we take off I clutch Andy’s hand and my gin and tonic with equal determination. I am not letting go of either of my support systems. The old man in the row behind us is crunching his boiled sweet and it reminds me of my granny who used to give us boiled sweets on long journeys and I’m sad that she won’t be at the wedding. As the plane swoops up through the clouds I catch my last glimpse of Russia as a single woman, and wonder if it will feel different to be married. 

We collect our rings and talk to the jeweller about his dogs and the need for snow tyres in Austria. It’s not until we’re sat in the coffee shop across the road, eating sweet chilli jam baguettes, that I realise how beautiful my ring is. We try them on and practice putting them on each other, and it starts to feel like it might be real.  We don’t realise it at the time, but when we leave the coffee shop, I leave my phone. Two hours later I realise I don’t have my phone and Andy spends several long minutes comforting me in the middle of Cheltenham high street whilst I pour all of my pent up emotion into this one moment. We drive to the coffee shop  and I jump out of the car. A dog yaps at me as I run in, and I kiss the girl who hands me the phone. The dog continues yapping, whilst the girl looks amused and I run back to the hire car, half giggling and half sobbing, where Andy pushes open the door  for me and I clamber in. Later I will collect my dress from the dressmaker and spend further time worrying about the height of my shoes.

We are in the spa hotel where we spent our first christmas, and where we spent the last night before we moved overseas, and now the night-before-the-night-before-our-wedding. We swap presents because we both know that we want to be with together for the opening of the presents, without the pressure of others watching. Whilst I have my toe nails painted I wonder idly what the next momentous occasion that we will celebrate here will be. We both feel relaxed and calm, but underneath it all, we can feel the excitement building in the very depths of ourselves. We eat hummus and roasted bread sticks while reading the papers, which is a big luxury for us because you can’t get English  newspapers in Russia. Or hummus. We lie on the loungers holding hands, staring at the slate ceiling, smelling of a strange mix of chlorine and sandalwood, talking about what it will be like when we’re married. Neither of us can think of anything that will change, but we’re both sure that something will change.  Two days.

Categories: Wedding Reports
14 interesting thoughts on this


  1. Posted November 30, 2010 at 9:45 am | Permalink

    This is such a gorgeous, unique take on a wedding recap; unique because you flew here from another country (massive kudos-always), because your writing is so fresh and involving, because you STILL sound so excited!

    I'm so giddy to be reading this in 'real time', can't wait for the next installment!


  2. SVK
    Posted November 30, 2010 at 9:55 am | Permalink

    I am excited! This is a great build up. More please x

  3. Posted November 30, 2010 at 10:11 am | Permalink

    I love this, Clare (just had to correct myself when I wrote "Fliss") – just beautiful.

  4. Posted November 30, 2010 at 10:15 am | Permalink

    So thoughtfully written, I'm even more excited to read more now! x

  5. Posted November 30, 2010 at 11:04 am | Permalink

    @ Emma – please feel free to continue calling me Fliss, or anything else for that matter – unlike The Cat, I answer to all names…

  6. Posted November 30, 2010 at 2:11 pm | Permalink

    M.O.R.E……I can't wait x

  7. Posted November 30, 2010 at 6:49 pm | Permalink

    Your writing is so wonderful – I'm reliving my preparations and leaving my flat as a single woman.

  8. Posted November 30, 2010 at 7:51 pm | Permalink


  9. Posted November 30, 2010 at 8:27 pm | Permalink

    Love it! xx

  10. Posted December 1, 2010 at 8:02 pm | Permalink

    Do not think I could be more excited right now…want the wedding!! (Its like waiting for Christmas!) x x x

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Hello! We're Clare, Aisling and Anna and welcome to a corner of the world where smart, flawed, real women talk about the bigger picture; about their experiences, stories and opinions on all aspects of being a woman today, from marriage to feminism to pretty, too.

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