On becoming a wife {Friday}

The final day of the preceding week.

Before the day has even really started, I have an altercation with a woman in the post office. This may be related to wedding stress, but at the time I’m convinced it is just down to her stupidity.  Looking back, I may have been in the wrong.
Afterwards, we load our suitcases and bags and boxes into the car, as we’ve done many times this week, with each stop collecting more detritus. I’m briefly concerned that we have to pack everything into two suitcases in 48 hours, but push this to the back of my mind. Later I will realise that I should have thought further about this, but for now, I am getting married tomorrow, and that is what I will focus on. We meet my mum and step dad for lunch, where my mum gives me the ring that my granny left to me 17 years ago. We tell  the story to Andy, of the time 25 years previous, when I had been playing with my granny’s jewellery, and I had decided that one was so damn pretty I should take it home with me. Once discovered, I duly returned said ring, but was left it in her will 8 years later, to be given to me on my wedding day.  At this moment I feel like a tiny little girl and a real grown up, all at the same time, and I am close to tears. We eat carrot and coriander soup with thick granary bread and butter with chunks of salt in, and talk about practical things, which we all feel more comfortable with, rather than things that might make us cry.
It is 3.30pm and I am in the suite in the house with some of my best friends in the world.  Later it will be only me and my two bridesmaids staying in this huge room, but  for now it feels full, as people drift in and out bringing presents and questions and love. We are sat in the window, wrapping ribbon the colour of skin around heavy linen napkins, watching people arrive in the rain. Everyone is excited and hopeful, and hugging, and smiling huge great smiles, and talking about tomorrow, and at that moment I catch Andy’s eye. I feel like I have been wrapped up in ribbon myself.
It is 6.30pm and we are at the church for the rehearsal, and I have been asked many times whether I am nervous yet. But the strange sense of calm that I’ve been feeling all week, has settled even lower over me, and I feel detached yet present. Whilst my bridesmaids nervously whisper together about how terrified they are to be walking down the aisle in front of everyone, Andy and I practice saying our vows. At the end I don’t feel comfortable saying ‘I will’, because that would take away from tomorrow’s moment, so I say ‘maybe’, which gets me a look from the vicar and a chuckle from the rest of the church. As we leave ,the vicar tells me he’s never seen a bride so calm the day before the wedding, and I take it as a compliment, though I’m not sure it was meant as one.
We go straight from the church to our meal in the village pub. There are nearly 20 of us, and we take up over half of the pub, but no-one seems to mind. Our family and friends from across the world are here and I stand and watch in awe as all of them cross barriers in language, and age, and culture, and are soon discussing detective novels, Tibetan Terriers, scotch eggs, and various other assorted topics, none of which I would have guessed they would have had in common. As we leave, several of us notice the guy from a house programme on the TV stood at the bar, and as we walk out we all try to remember his name and the TV programme. It is only when I turn around to check that we have everybody, that I realise that he has walked out of the pub behind us, and is now listening to everyone discuss the relative merits of his show versus the other ones, whilst desperately trying, and failing, to remember his name.
I am back in the hotel and I’ve said good night to Andy.  My bridesmaids are still anxiously discussing the moment of walking down the aisle, and I selfishly feel disappointed that they can’t be more excited for me, rather than worried about themselves, even though I know they are both shy, and this is a big deal for them, and I should just be grateful that they are doing it at all. Even though I’ve not admitted it, I’m also nervous now. Nervous about the day going well, nervous about people enjoying themselves, nervous about whether my dress will be ok. I am not in any way nervous about marrying Andy, and I take that as a good sign. In fact, as I lie in bed, hoping for sleep, I find myself wishing that tomorrow could be over, and it could be Sunday, and Andy and I could be driving away, as man and wife, into our future together.  Nobody warned me that I would feel this low the night before the wedding, or that I wouldn’t be excited. It is at this very moment that I know that I have no doubts, or reservations, or worries about marrying Andy. I would do it without this wedding circus that I have created, and so looked forward to for the last 11 months, just to be married to him.
Tonight I will hear the chimes of the bells of the church on every hour. 
Tomorrow I will marry my best friend.
Categories: Wedding Reports
11 interesting thoughts on this


  1. Posted December 6, 2010 at 10:17 am | Permalink

    You have just made me sob in a way that sounded like a sick cat in front of my whole office. I then had to explain what I was reading and got jeered for it.
    But you know what? That read was sooo worth it. I can't wait to hear more. xo

  2. Posted December 6, 2010 at 1:02 pm | Permalink

    lump in my throat!

    An honest and thoughtful post, Clare. Loved it and cannot wait for the next installment x

  3. Posted December 6, 2010 at 3:07 pm | Permalink

    Sobbing like a sick cat just about explains it….you write beautifully xxx

  4. Posted December 6, 2010 at 3:42 pm | Permalink

    Ummm…thanks ladies..I think! Not sure sick cat was the effect I was going for, but glad it elicited some sort of a reaction!

  5. Posted December 6, 2010 at 7:30 pm | Permalink

    'I feel like a have been wrapped up in ribbon myself'

    I die.

    So gorgeous my love, and I'm unspeakably excited for the next part. Even though I was there for what comes next I can't wait to hear it written like this, by you!

    Um, and, ALSO. Was the altercation with the numpty in the post office my fault?! Don't lie to me-you might be in Russia but I'll know!


  6. Posted December 6, 2010 at 7:31 pm | Permalink

    Oooh Ooooh aaaaand, who was the man from the TV?!


  7. Anna K
    Posted December 6, 2010 at 10:43 pm | Permalink

    Love this, and love your writing, it's so evocative. I feel like I was there, having the post office scrap with you! LOVE that you said maybe. Best rehearsal answer, ever.

  8. Posted December 7, 2010 at 7:19 am | Permalink

    Aisling, as much as I would love to blame it on you, the post office rage was actually bikini related, which I can tell you, is absolutely the worst type of post office rage you can have two days before you jet off on your honeymoon. From these posts it it becoming fairly evident to me that I like to keep all my emotions wrapped up, and then choose some unsuspcting person to release them on (ie losing my phone, post office rage etc). It works for me, although I'm not so sure the bystanders would agree.

    And the TV presenter – Nick Knowles. It is fortunate it was neither Kevin Mcloud or Phil Spencer as I may have had to fling myself at them, and then the wedding may have had to have been called off…as I said, luck was on our side!

  9. Posted December 7, 2010 at 1:53 pm | Permalink

    Such a beautiful post. You've written it so amazingly well – I feel like we've had a glimpse into your head. Just brilliant. Thank you for sharing. xx

  10. Posted December 15, 2010 at 2:59 pm | Permalink

    "Whereas before I'd always felt like an equal in our relationship, I suddenly felt like I had no control over this part of our relationship."
    < - THIS!!!

    You have totally summed up how I feel. Me and my boy have been together over 8 years, known each other much longer, and had many grown up conversations about marriage. We've even decided on a vague date, visited the venue we want and taken photos for our (slightly random) invites/wedsite. But he hasn't asked me yet and it's driving me mad because until we're actually engaged I'm not allowed to book or buy anything and I feel like I'm totally and utterly just sat like a pathetic needy character in a crap smoochy film waiting for him to propose. The problem now is that it totally clouds every nice or big moment as a small annoying part of me is thinking 'maybe he's going to propse' and when he doesn't I get upset.

    So thank you for writing that and making me feel a bit less like a total loser/muppet.

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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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