Fours years ago today my wife and I got married…
There had been months of planning and preparation. Lots of things to do. Finding and booking venues for the ceremony and reception. Designing and making invites, orders of service, table decorations, seating plans etc. Booking a honeymoon. Getting the right suits for the boys and I, and most importantly the right wedding dress for the bride!
We had gone for a pink and black colour scheme, the beautiful bride wearing a fantastic pink dress and groom all in black (except for a pink tie).
Theme wise, we went for music and marbles, with old 7″ vinyl records complete with new labels used for invitations and also for table markers, and marbles adorning all the stationery and on the tables in large glass bowls.
The day before the ceremony we had enlisted our children and some friends to help us cart stuff to the village hall, that we had booked for the reception and evening do, to set up tables and chairs and all the table decorations etc. etc.
The wedding day started early for the boys and I, as we headed back to the village hall to set up the laptop and sound system for our personalised playlist (that took a lot of work to choose!) and photo gallery to be set playing by our eldest before the newlyweds entered the building.
Then it was off to the church to put out floral decorations and for the two younger boys to distribute the orders of service.
We were fortunate in that it was a beautiful sunny day. The children (ours plus our two wonderful nieces) all looked great and were brilliant in what they each had to do – best man, ushers and bridesmaids – and the arrival of the bride at the church ensured that the day continued throughout the ceremony and reception as perfectly as we had hoped.
During the ceremony itself, we had chosen lyrics from Bob Dylan’s “Wedding Song” for a reading, which I think are worth reiterating today:
“I love you more than ever, more than time and more than love
I love you more than money and more than the stars above
I love you more than madness, more than waves upon the sea
I love you more than life itself, you mean that much to me
Ever since you walked right in the circle’s been complete
I’ve said goodbye to haunted rooms and faces in the street
In the courtyard of the jester which is hidden from the sun
I love you more than ever and I haven’t yet begun
You breathed on me and made my life a richer one to live
When I was deep in poverty you taught me how to give
Dried the tears up from my dreams and pulled me from the hole
I love you more than ever and it binds me to this all
The tune that is yours and mine to play upon this earth
We’ll play it out the best we know, whatever it is worth
What’s lost is lost, we can’t regain what went down in the flood
But happiness to me is you and I love you more than blood
It’s never been my duty to remake the world at large
Nor is it my intention to sound a battle charge
‘Cause I love you more than all of that with a love that doesn’t bend
And if there is eternity I’d love you there again
Oh, can’t you see that you were born to stand by my side
And I was born to be with you, you were born to be my bride
You’re the other half of what I am, you’re the missing piece
And I love you more than ever with that love that doesn’t cease
You turn the tide on me each day and teach my eyes to see
Just being next to you is a natural thing for me
And I could never let you go, no matter what goes on
‘Cause I love you more than ever now that the past is gone”
Although my wife has often commented that Dylan sounds like an old drunk when he sings – and let’s be honest, his isn’t the smoothest voice around – there is no doubting that the man has a way with words!
Later in the evening I was able to surprise my new wife by joining the live rock ‘n’ roll band that we had booked, The Woods, on stage for a rendition of The Kinks’ “You Really Got Me”. This was great, except for the fright I got when I realised that, as they were missing their lead guitarist that night, the band were expecting me to do a solo (thankfully handled instead by the singer/guitarist) and the fact that my mind went completely blank when it came to what chord to start the intro riff with!! Fortunately, a further performance with the band on Neil Young’s “Rockin’ In The Free World” at the end of the night was less stressful!
We spent the majority of our wedding night clearing and cleaning up the village hall – the downside of organising and doing it yourself! – then went off for a wonderful honeymoon in Wales exploring and visiting old castles, burial sites, standing stones etc.
Now, you may wonder, given that I have previously expressed an appreciation and leaning towards a pagan / pre-Christian outlook why I married in a Christian church. The fact is that my wife wanted very much to get married in church and I wouldn’t have wanted a registry office ceremony anyway. Regardless of your religious beliefs I personally don’t think a registry office etc. compares to the experience of marrying in an actual church (and of course many churches were built over old pagan sites anyway). My wife’s understanding and acceptance of my questioning of Christianity and organised religion and support as I explore the old ways is just one of the very many reasons that I love her.
Our lives have changed massively since we met and even more so since the day we married – in ways both positive and negative. My wife’s health has worsened and is a daily struggle for her, but she makes little fuss and is determined to make the most of what ability she does have, and I truly admire her strength and do my best to support her.
On the positive side, we have moved to a stunningly beautiful part of the country, live in a lovely home, our children are all progressing in their own way, and we have much to be thankful for.