Any Other Photo {Mary-Jane and Tom}

I love the AOP series, because you get a glimpse into the mind of someone wired completely differently to you, yet you know a) you’d get on famously and b) that the common themes of a wedding, and what weddings stands for; dreams, hopes, trust, are common throughout.  I read this Any Other Photo and I think; Mary-Jane had a lifetime of waiting for her perfect wedding, of imagining how it would be, and that came true in ways that she could never have forseen, or planned for, or pictured as a teenager dreaming about tulle.   

And she loved every moment.     Happy Friday, readers:

Photograph by the marvellous Sheila Scott  Photography from Galashiels in the Scottish Borders

I married my wonderful husband on the 21stMay 2011, and this photo for me, sums up what a wedding is all about.  Tom and I had been together for 4 years by the time we got married, and our wedding day was the most perfect day.  Not in terms of the weather (it was overcast with gale force winds: I thought my veil was going to pull my hair out at times as it whipped around my head wildly clinging to the faces of nearby guests), but in terms of being the wedding day I had always hoped for: full of love and happiness and utter joy. 

I am one of those women who has dreamt about their wedding day since they were a little girl.  Barbie and Ken (actually, I think it was Paul I had, who I believe is Sindy’s other half?!) regularly got married during my childhood, complete with a disco and first dance to Michael Ball’s “Love changes everything”, before driving off into the sunset in one of my brother’s dumper trucks (how I longed for Barbie’s car). 

So when it came to planning my own wedding, I threw myself into it with gusto, planning it down to every small detail.  I read wedding blogs during every spare moment (including Any Other Wedding in its day!) and knew exactly what I wanted for our special day.  Luckily Tom couldn’t really care less about what flowers we had, or what colour the invitations were, so long as we got married and I was happy, he was happy.  I went daft making things, from the invitation and table settings, to the flower arrangements, scrapbooks for my bridesmaids and fabric hearts for the church. 

My sister, brother and I grew up next to Ladykirk church which is just the most wonderful old building full of history and charm.  We used to help my Mum clean the church and wind the clock weekly (which involved climbing up the church spire to wind the weight up the full height, v exciting as a small child).  We attended the church services there, and walked past it to school every day.  For me, there was no other option of where to get married.  Every time there was a wedding I would hang over the white gate at the end of our garden straining to catch a glimpse of the bride, and then later go along to pick up pieces of the confetti (probably for Barbie and Paul’s next nuptials). 

On the morning of our wedding I was calm and a little excited.  My bridesmaids and I went about getting ready, getting our hair and makeup done, and I had time to go down to the marquee and take a few snaps.  And then I realised I still had 2 hours before we needed to leave and I was ready.  I didn’t know what to do with myself and then the nerves and panic really set in.  I just couldn’t stop crying and worrying that when I got the church I would burst into tears and not be able to say my vows.  One of my bridesmaids decided that the best cure for this was to make me repeat my vows over and over to her through my blubbing to prove that , worst case scenario, I would still be able to get the words out.  It totally worked and I managed to compose myself just as the photographers arrived. 

We were all ready to go a little early for the service so Dad and I sat in the car just around the corner, and my nerves began to build up again – all these people were here for Tom and I, would I make a fool of myself by sobbing and choking out the vows?  But as soon as we got out the car and I took my Dad’s arm and we began to walk up the familiar path to the church, I was suddenly as cool as a cucumber.  I walked down the aisle to see my gorgeous hubby smiling at me, and I realised that this moment was what it was all about, and I was totally ready for it. 

This photo was snapped by our photographer, just as we were saying our vows.  I remember our minister (who I have known my whole life, he even christened me in the same church 25 years earlier) saying to us before the wedding that we were to try to look each other in the eye no matter how nervous we were.  He said he had lost count of the number of brides and grooms who said their vows to him, or the floor, or looking nervously at each other and then darting their glance away.  And he was right, it was so important to look at each other and really take in what we were saying as we made the most important promise of our lives. 

The photo isn’t perfect, there is the shadow of someone’s shoulder on the side, and the minister is slightly blurry, but to me it captures the most special moment of my life: the moment when we committed our whole lives to each other.  It wasn’t about the weather, or the decorations, or the food, or the flowers, or the car, or the dresses any more.  This moment was about us.  And I couldn’t have been happier.

Categories: Any Other Photo
10 interesting thoughts on this


  1. Gemma N
    Posted August 30, 2013 at 7:33 am | Permalink

    Dammit AOW, stop making me cry first thing in the morning!!

    These words are just perfect, you are totally right it is all about that moment. And I also love the fact that the minister looks genuinely happy too, what a great part of the job that must be!

    But please could we see a little more of that dress?! I am always tempted by a flash of lace!!

  2. Posted August 30, 2013 at 8:15 am | Permalink

    What a beautiful photo, and such a lovely description of your wedding day too!

    You can definitely see the happiness between you both, and I also love how happy the minister looks!

    It’s good that thinking about weddings for so long made it possible for you to have the wedding of your dreams!

    Emma xx

    • Posted August 31, 2013 at 3:10 pm | Permalink

      Yeah it must definitely be a perk of the job to get to officiate over the most important day in people’s lives. It was indeed the perfect day for us, don’t get me wrong, things didn’t all go to plan, but it was just as I had imagined it and more. xx

  3. Yanthé
    Posted August 30, 2013 at 10:43 am | Permalink

    Waaaaahhhhhhhhh. 7 weeks off from exchanging vows myself this has had me dripping tears in to my cuppa. Congratulations to you both Mary-Jane and what a beautifully written post xxx

  4. Posted August 30, 2013 at 1:30 pm | Permalink

    Perfect, perfect, perfect.

    KL xx

  5. Posted August 30, 2013 at 1:44 pm | Permalink

    Gorgeous photo and lovely writing – it really does all boil down to that moment you’re making those promises :-)

  6. Posted August 30, 2013 at 2:18 pm | Permalink

    Lovely, thanks for sharing with us! x

  7. Posted August 30, 2013 at 9:10 pm | Permalink

    A beautifully written piece, filled with such love and joy. Thank you for sharing x

  8. Posted August 31, 2013 at 3:11 pm | Permalink

    Thanks for the comments ladies. It’s a couple of years ago now, but I still remember how I felt at that precise moment, and I hope I do for the rest of our lives. 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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