I’m sitting on a towel on the beach on a beautiful sunny day in July. The sky is blue, the sea is calm, and in front of me is a picnic with all my favourite foods: smoked salmon, crusty bread, fruit salad and chorizo. There’s a flute of rose champagne in my hand.
But I’m not looking at the view, the picnic or the people running around in swimming costumes. I’m looking down at a little box in my boyfriend’s hands.
“Will you be my wife?” He asks.
I manage a ‘Yes!’ despite my initial disbelieving splutter-fest, and he slips a beautiful silver ring inlaid with diamonds and freshwater pearls onto my ring finger.
And we're suddenly in a whole new world – betrothed, enfianced, engaged. I find myself constantly blushing and smiling, exposing my left hand to anyone and everyone, joining my parents in gushing about my future husband and how lovely he is. Before now I don’t think I've ever gushed over anything that wasn’t a baby reptile.
Once the flurry of ‘congratulations’ emails, cards, Facebook messages and visits had passed, I went to see my best friend Liz who is herself getting married. (Being best friends, naturally we're each other's Maid of Honour.)
The date isn’t until April next year, but her cosy
Southampton flat is packed with wedding paraphernalia. She hands me a thick wedge of magazines and we start poring through them.
And it’s just like trying to shop for a regular dress. In a shop with no exits. While you’re on Acid.
|This is how to get yourself thrown out of Beales, in case you're interested.|
You know those girls that demand a Magical Wedding Barbie at age four? The ones that have perfectly visualized their dress; the first dance, the fillings in the vol-au-vents right down to the last fragment of lace trim and glazed prawn. I’m not one of those. I literally have no idea what to do at a wedding ceremony. Plonk me in the middle of one and I’ll make a weird joke about communism and fall sideways over the master table.
And now the man I love has decided that he wants to settle down with me. Me; the woman who eats like a pig, the woman who loves her pet turtles more than most humans, the woman who makes jokes about Stalin at other people’s special day.
So because I’m such a fan of a good fish-out-of-water story, I thought I’d take the opportunity to start a documentation of my experience. After all, here I am on the cusp of everything I’ve ever really dreamed of: not the colour-coordinated flowers and the three-tiered cake, but a man who knows how awkward and weird and disgusting I can be and still wants in on it for the rest of our lives.
So you are welcome to join me on what promises to be an interesting trip towards the rest of my waiting life.