Archive for Here come the brides

Four Years in the Making…

Four years ago today, we put on gorgeous white dresses, walked down the aisle in front of our family and friends, spoke our vows and exchanged rings.  But at that time we were not allowed to use the words “bride” or “wife” in our vows or refer to the commitment we were making as a “marriage”.  Instead, we entered into a civil partnership, something which closely resembled civil marriage in all but name.  Some people might have waited until full equality had been achieved before taking that step, but we were eager to start a family together and wanted to do so from a place of commitment publically declared and legally bound.

On 29th March 2014, the first same sex marriages finally took place in this country and then on 10th December 2014, it became legal to convert a civil partnership into a civil marriage.

We contemplated having a big party to celebrate finally being able to truly say we were married, but priorities change and – as I’m sure those who were there on the day will agree – nothing could ever begin to match the delight of our wedding day.

Instead, today we have visited our local Registry Office to fill out the paperwork and are headed back to our wedding venue for delicious food and relaxing spa treatments.

The four years we have been civil partnered have been amazing.  We have continued to grow and learn about each other and ourselves.  We have been through the struggles of raising newborn twins and enjoyed first steps, first words and watching our children’s personalities blossom.  It hasn’t always been easy and it hasn’t always been sunshine and rainbows but I can definitely say that our relationship is stronger now than it has ever been, even whilst it has changed to accommodate the presence of two other people in our lives.

Marriage isn’t stationary; it’s a constantly moving and growing thing.  It ebbs and flows, reaches pinnacles and nadirs.  It is constantly teaching us more about each other and ourselves and I wouldn’t want it any other way.  We are human, we fall, but I wouldn’t want anyone else there to pick me up again.

So, if you would like to, please raise a glass to us and our marriage – four years in the making!

4 Years in the Making from Becoming Mums on Vimeo.

The Best Best Man’s Speech

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It’s been two years today since L and I tied the knot. The two best years of my life, no question.

As I write this (a couple of days in advance, obvs), she is outside, arranging some kind of surprise for me, whilst I am trying not to eat all of the Marks & Spencer Extremely Chocolatey Chocolate Orange Biscuits (she better hurry up and finish that phone call is all I’m saying).

I know I’ve got all soppy before about how amazing my wife is – and that’s still all true, of course, she’s the best wife and mother I know – but she’s not really one for soppiness. In fact, she would always, ALWAYS, pick a funny card over a soppy one, regardless of the occasion.

And with that in mind, I feel it is only right that I finally share what I truly believe to be the best Best Man’s Speech of all time. I know often at weddings the speeches are hilarious to people who know the bride and groom well, but require a level of insider knowledge in order to really appreciate their humour (indeed, Laura’s dad did a wonderful job with his Father of the Bride speech, but you would have to know a little about Laura to see the immense humour in her joining the Brownies expecting camping and adventure and instead being taught how to make flower arrangements), but somehow my brother managed to turn his Best Man’s Speech into a stand-up routine about lesbian weddings. It had all of our guests absolutely roaring with laughter and people still talk about it today.

So, in the hope that I haven’t built it up too much and left you with a sense of anticlimax, here it is:

The Best Best Man’s Speech (Ever!) from Becoming Mums on Vimeo.

Where the heart is

It’s been a year since I married my best friend.  And what a year it’s been.

We got pregnant, found out it was twins, moved house and then had our two babies.  In theory life should slow down now but, well, we have two babies to look after.

I got up this morning and Imogen had kept L up half the night, so I took both babies downstairs and let her have a lie in.  Not only did she really appreciate this, but it made me confident that I might actually be able to cope when L goes back to work in only 3 weeks!

Life is pretty busy, which is why my blog posts have been fairly few and far between.  In actual fact I have several aborted drafts on my WordPress dashboard that may well never get published, either through lack of time or because they just stopped being relevant weeks ago.

So, in that vein, here are some pictures of our house once we were all moved in and unpacked.  These photos were (obviously) taken before the babies arrived.  Our house will NEVER look like this again until at least 2030! And by then we’ll probably have moved.

Anyway, without further ado…

Living-dining room (this was just before L’s birthday party if you were wondering about the bottle of Pimms on the table!)

Living-dining room, reverse view

Living-dining room including our wedding canvas (photo by theotherday.co.uk, canvas printed at Transform Your Image, Bluewater). The bookshelf is going and we are getting a dresser/display unit to go there instead. (Ignore the birthing ball!)

Kitchen

Front room. This will be a second living room/play room, but currently we have no sofa!

Bathroom

Master bedroom. Wedding photo and canvas as above.

Nursery (although the babies won’t be sleeping in here for quite a while).

Changing table complete with reusable nappies and cheeky wipes.

The babies’ bookshelf with their Olympic mascots. If you’re wondering about the book on the far right of the shelf, I did explain to my wife that it isn’t *actually* a children’s book!

Our wedding in pictures

Our photographer, the wonderfully talented Rich from The Other Day Photography, dropped our wedding album off yesterday evening.  It’s amazing.  I took it into work today and everyone was gushing all over it.  Not only do we have a fabulous album of selected prints, but Rich also brought round a memory stick of all the photos he took of the day, so I can finally post specific pictures and link to vendors with images so that the references make sense.

So, our wedding:

2pm Saturday 13th August, Rowhill Grange Hotel and Spa, Wilmington, Kent


We loved the fact that our ceremony could be outside under a gazebo (although I did have many weather-related panics in the days and weeks leading up to the big day) and the grounds are BEAUTIFUL and made for FABULOUS photographs!


Our music during the ceremony was provided by Stringendo string quartet, who also played whilst our guests arrived and then again during the photographs.  We walked down the aisle to Pachelbel’s Canon in D, signed the register to the Flower Duet (AKA the British Airways music) and walked back up the aisle to All You Need Is Love.

Our flowers were by the amazing Floral Explosion and our bridesmaids’ dresses were Mori Lee.  The colour we chose for the bridesmaids is called ‘Metallic Sage’ and we were so relieved when we managed to find ties that matched for the men in the wedding party!  The maternity bridesmaid dress is by Dessy and is ‘Kiwi” colour.  Flowergirl dresses were from Next (9 year old) and Mamas and Papas (18 month old).  Our flowers were mostly greens, with creams and pinks scattered through, which, amazingly, matched the beautiful gardens and grounds at Rowhill so perfectly.


Floral explosion decorated the gazebo and aisle, and provided our centrepieces and other decoration inside the room where we had the wedding breakfast.  The mosaic vases we found in Selfridges and were one of the first things we bought.  They are made by Indian Ocean and we gave them as gifts to the bridesmaids afterwards.


Our dresses were Pronovias and we bought them in Harrods.  I know.  But we went for a bit of a laugh, thinking we’d get a glass of champagne (we were right) and ended up finding our dresses there.

Our hair and makeup were done by Nicola Beddoes, who was recommended to us by my mother-in-law’s hairdresser and did a brilliant job.  The tiaras were custom made by Beretun Designs.  I’d tried on untold amounts of tiaras, but nothing really made me go wow.  They were all just… tiaras.  But then I saw the asymmetrical starburst design by Beretun and knew I’d found my tiara.

Our seating plan, I mentioned in a previous post, was based on the theme of famous lesbians.  The food for the wedding breakfast was provided in-house at Rowhill and was beautiful, although neither of us ate as much as we would have liked as we were worrying about the speeches.

Our cake was absolutely outstanding.  One of the real indulgences of our wedding was the cake.  We saw it at a wedding fair and after that nothing compared, we had to go for it, despite the cost.  It was made by Linda Fripp and the three layers inside were devil’s food chocolate cake with raspberry and white chocolate ganache, strawberries and champagne, and apple, cinnamon and calvados.  It not only looked stupendous, but tasted absolutely divine!

The DJ was provided as part of the package we booked with Rowhill and he did a great job, keeping everyone dancing all night with a real range of music catering to our taste.  Our first dance was to ‘Parachute’ by Cheryl Cole, which had just been released around the time we got engaged and was very apt as everyone knows we both love Cheryl/Girls Aloud (although let’s not mention Ashley, okay?).

All in an an absolutely perfect day…

Unholy Matrimony

Before we started planning our wedding, I didn’t know much about Civil Partnerships.  I knew that legislation had been passed that afforded gay people the same legal rights as straight people following a ceremony, but I hadn’t given it much thought aside from that.

When we got the first bits of paperwork through from Kent County Council, I went on their website and looked up details about our ceremony.  I was surprised to note that it specified that a Civil Partnership could only be between two people of the same sex.  It hadn’t really occurred to me that this might be something only available to gay couples.  After all, straight friends of mine have had Civil Marriage Ceremonies; what was the difference?

It was my nan who actually asked us that question.  And I didn’t know the answer.  So, like all good 21st Century gals, I turned to Google.

It turned out there wasn’t really a difference.  We could still have a ceremony, although it wasn’t essential, and we would have all the same legal rights as we would if we were a straight, married couple.

But we couldn’t technically, officially say we were married.

When the legislation was introduced, in December 2005, there was still uproar from certain religious circles, despite the fact that the government had specifically avoided referring to this legal recognition of a relationship as a “marriage”.

What it boils down to is that the only significant difference between a Civil Marriage Ceremony and a Civil Partnership is religion.  A Civil Marriage Ceremony may contain religious aspects.  A Civil Partnership may not.

Now this was neither here nor there to us.  We had no desire to include any religious aspects and there are plenty of beautiful secular readings out there to pad out your ceremony and reflect the way the two of you feel about your relationship.

But.

It kind of bothered me.  Bothers me.  The only thing making us have to tick the “Civil Partnered” box, rather than the “Married” box on a form, is religion.

The UK government has announced plans to launch a consultation into gay marriage in March 2012 and this will be the first time any British government has actually considered full marriage rights for gay and lesbian couples.  About bloody time, quite frankly!

I’m incredibly grateful that my wife and I (I’m probably not officially allowed to call her that, but really, “Civil Partner” is a fucking mouthful!) have been able to have a legally recognised partnership, but I do think it’s ridiculous that we’re not allowed to call it a marriage, lest we upset the poor, bigoted religious types*, who preach love and tolerance, but seem to struggle to put any of this into practice.

It’s about time we had real marriage equality in this country.  As far as I’m concerned, I got married to my wife, but I’d quite like the law to recognise that too.

*It’s only fair to say that my ire is directed solely at the self-righteous, prejudice laden religious types, who I know are not representative of all religious people.

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