We make no secret of our Mahj-love here on Any Other Wedding. Unfortunately, Martin got there first, and so much the better because from the glimpse we got from their Any Other Photo, their wedding day was all happiness, love, and a shit-eating grin. Just as it should be. We’re freakishly lucky to have a two-part report from Mahj here at AOW and if you keep your eyes peeled, you’ll see plenty of what is possibly the most stunning wedding I’ve ever laid eyes on.
When we first talked about featuring wedding reports, we decided we only wanted to do them if they would really matter to you, our readers; if they would knock you sideways, if their honesty and candour would catch you off guard. Mahj’s wedding report embodies all those things. She told us that the words ‘just flowed’ when she sat down to write them, and that makes us deliriously happy. We think the story of Mahj and Martin’s wedding day will have exactly the same effect on you, too. Enjoy.
Pre-ceremony and the ceremony…
I can’t remember when it was exactly that I started to get nervous on the 22nd July. It wasn’t when I saw my photographer or my parents. It wasn’t whilst I was having my hair and make-up done and it definitely wasn’t when I finally got to put my amazing outfit on. I was too busy twirling around for Andy our photographer, shrieking and squealing “look at the skirt, look at the skirt!”
Maybe it was when the events manager Rebecca arrived with the Registrars. Two older, but very polite and lovely gentlemen called John and Peter. I do remember having some sort of out-of-body experience when they were asking me my name and where I live and we would be standing whilst everyone sat, non? Though this could have been caused by the pain in my right shoulder, where my cousin kept jabbing it with safety pins, trying to get my duputta to stay in place!
Alls I know is that by the time my bridesmaids, father and I were walking down the length of the hotel towards the ceremony room, my heart was beating faster, there was a roaring in my ears and I felt shivery. Not cold shivery but adrenalin shivery. This was it. The day had finally arrived and holy sh*t, I didn’t consider that I had to walk down the aisle with 100+ eyes staring at me. Why did I not consider this? Ok breathe Mahj, try and calm yourself….
Beauty in EPIC quantities, non?
We reached the entrance to the room and I just couldn’t help myself, I had to have a sneaky peek. So I snuck forward, just as my first bridesmaid Leanne went down the aisle and everyone was facing towards the back. DOH! I jumped backwards like I’d been shot and my Dad gave me one of his exasperated looks and rolled his eyes at me!
My Dad said to me as we started to walk, that the Registrar’s said to walk slowly and take our time. I was actually incapable of speech at this moment. I think I just squeaked. My friend Katharine was sat at the end of one of the aisle’s as I’d asked her too. She had been bugging me for a year and a half about the colour of my outfit and I wanted her to see it. She smiled at me with the biggest grin to which I winked back at her – clearly I was capable of facial movements!
And then I saw his back and his best man standing steadily by his side who whispered to him and then all of a sudden I could see his face and his eyes had filled with tears and then crapballs so had mine and all the deep breathing in the world was not going to help me. But maybe looking anywhere but at him would, so I looked desperately at my bouquet, the ceiling and the floor and dear God why haven’t we walked all the way down the aisle yet?!
And then we had. And my Dad let me go but Martin was already holding my hand and squeezing my arm and staring at me like he’d never seen me before. And he was so emotional and so was I, so was the room. And the danger of having that pesky out-of-body experience was looming again, but I pushed it aside. I could float through the rest of the day but damnit, I was going to be present and in my body for this!
And so it began. We kept looking at each other and smiling our sh*t eating grins (!) and even though there were 100+ eyes behind us now, watching our every word, our every gesture, it no longer mattered. We both kept welling up, it was too hard not to. We’d made it, after everything we’d actually made it.
At various points I could feel myself slipping away, up onto the ceiling to watch it all unfold but I kept myself in the present. I focused on what John/Peter* was saying, the words he was speaking and I tried to ingrain them onto my memory. To find meaning in them within Martin and I’s relationship. When he asked if anyone had any objections to make, without thinking about it, Martin and I both turned round at the same time to look at our guests, you know, just to check! Of course this set both us and our guests off laughing and it was a full minute before we could continue!
Whilst we were facing each other to say our vows, Martin and I were drinking each other in. Him taking in my jewellery, my hair and make-up. Me taking in his proper handsome formal suit, his button hole and his new shoes (I have an obsession with men’s shoes!). Martin thought he spotted a stray hair on my shoulder and proceeded to pull it off, only realising at the last minute that it was still attached to my head and he pulled it out. I don’t think anyone else caught this but us and my cousin Alex who was filming. I winced and he nearly keeled over with laughter.
Our very good friend Dave did our reading. We both smiled big smiles at him and we could see how badly his hands were shaking when he read. But he was good, god damn he was so effing good! We should have gotten him to read more. He put love and meaning into every word, every sentence. He has this deep, little bit gravelly voice. He’s a good public speaker (and a good singer I’ll have you know) and he more than deserved all the praise from our guests.
John/Peter asked Martin to repeat after him and it was going so well until he has to repeat “live with you in love and harmony” which he started laughing halfway through. Which then set everyone else off again. If you know Martin, he is a completely wonderful man who is also the most argumentative bugger on the planet. So harmony my arse! And we sometimes bicker more than we do anything else. But the moment felt so real and so true of us that I love it. If I could bottle it I would.
And then came my turn and through a series of looks at the ground and the ceiling and the wall, I thought that I had my emotions well under control. All until I had to say “I will always be there when you need me most”. If you know our story and I think some of you do, you can imagine why I meant this so much.
This picture hits me right.in.the.heart. Stunning.
I have never paid much attention before to the symbolism of a wedding ring. But I understand it now and love it! The whole unbroken circle part. And I really love the style of ring that Martin chose for himself. As for mine, all I could think when he was putting it on my finger was “YES! I finally get to wear it! It’s so shiny and purdy!”
And then John/Peter was saying “it gives me great pleasure” and I literally start jigging up and down on the spot because I know what’s coming next and my grin is getting bigger and bigger and I may actually burst and then he says it: husband and wife. And I throw my arms around Martin’s neck and kiss him like he has just returned home from war and our guests are clapping and cheering and we are clinging to each other and having a competition to see who can squeeze each other the hardest and are we really married now? Really really?!
All together now…’Awwwww!’
Our witnesses were my big brother Adil, our very good friend James and Martin’s cousin Liz. We just sat on the chairs, holding hands and smiling and laughing in that really high-pitched, nervous excited way and Martin kept saying “you are so beautiful” and squeezing my hand. We were excited, happy and relieved. Maybe now we could get a drink?
Mr and Mrs Brammall. We salute you.
And then we could leave. Martin was clutching the wedding certificate in one hand and my hand in the other. The Registrar said something which I actually don’t remember. People clapped and cheered. The music started for our walk back up the aisle – Somebody to Love by Queen and I walked from the room with my husband for the first time ever as Mrs Martin Brammall.
*I can’t remember which one was which!
(Mahj and Martin’s photographer was the immensely talented and stupendously lovely Andy Wardle. We at AOW love him. Look at these pictures-of course we do!)