I am ridiculously honoured and excited that this is the first post I get to introduce on Any Other Woman because it is, quite frankly, brilliant and I really identify with what Sophie says. It reminds me that happiness doesn’t have to be about the big moments, the excitement and the euphoria. Happiness is also the quiet moments, the ability to be truly yourself and be loved for it. A perfect reminder for a Friday morning. And that’s not to mention that the picture itself is Actual Stunning…
I think the most appropriate introduction to this AOP is to declare up-front that while I loved so much of planning our wedding, and was so giddy on the day itself, and am so ludicrously happy and proud to be married to Stuart, we had faced some big old challenges in pulling everything together. There is a lot about a wedding that just seemed totally incompatible with who we are.
So here is a confession for you. Everyone asks, only some a sense of irony, whether it was “the best day of my life”, and I can honestly say… well… no. I’m not sure I’ve ever smiled so much in a day, and the gratitude I felt for the amazing people I have in my life – seeing them all together – was humbling and extraordinary. By some miracle we were canopied by breathtaking blue sky and sunshine rather than the greyest drizzle from the day before. Even my cheeky request for our guests to keep it colourful was granted and I could look at their glamorous get-ups all day. But one of my favourite pictures pretty much ignores all of that.
I love this picture because the “best days of my life” are really the quiet ones. The days on honeymoon when Stuart and I sat in a shady spot on the beach chatting for hours about not-very-much. The days we potter around London and come back home empty handed and exhausted to collapse on the sofa. I don’t even mind how soppy or, dare I say it, boring that makes me sound. But this picture captures a little perfect moment of our wedding day. We forgot the camera and the audience and the schedule and just breathed. Looking at it makes me feel calm and almost like I can feel the sun on my back again.
If I was going to be all romantic I would say, then, that I love this picture because its all about us. It makes me remember how hard we tried to make the day work for us – for two people who cringe at being the centre of attention and always prefer small groups to big rabbles. For two people who never throw parties and make an art of fleeing from a camera lense. For a girl who over-worries about things and can’t quite believe this all, actually, truly happened already. Basically it didn’t come naturally.
Somehow though, what emerged was a beautiful day that will always mean so much to me. It was beautiful because of everyone else who was there to celebrate with us, and because of everything you don’t see in this picture. But what you see in this picture, put simply, is the real us.