Saturday, 24 June 2017

After Twenty Four Years of Planning....

I get married in two days.

Tonight is the last night before the night before my wedding.

I imagine that most of you who have had a wedding will have found that you have very little time alone in the weeks leading up to The Big Day. When I haven't been at work I've been in meetings with various people, and when I haven't been doing that I've been with Dale/my cousins/my brothers/my parents/my grandparents planning and organising.

Today we had brunch with Dale's dad who has come to visit from abroad for the wedding, met my Grandma and Mum for last minute shopping, headed straight for a spray tan and then back home where my Dad, his girlfriend, her son, Chip, Dale and I finished off the last of the favours whilst discussing the last final details of the day.

And then they left.

Dad, his girlfriend and her son went home. Chip went to the gym. Dale went out for dinner with his dad.

And I was left alone.

For the first time in what feels like weeks.

The sudden silence was too loud for me, so I put Pitch Battle on (fantastic Saturday night background tv, by the way), where I was almost immediately greeted with our First Dance song.

And finally, after what Dale thinks has been seven months but has actually been around twenty four years of planning my wedding, I felt overwhelmed.

Not with stress. Not with the ridiculousness of how many times seating plans need redoing, not with the outrageous prices provided at the word 'wedding', or the difficulty of being asked the question 'which flowers do you want in your buttonholes?' (Absolutely no idea about flowers. As I demonstrated with the florist when I commented that the plant on her table smelt incredible and asked what it was, only for her to tell me that they were unscented, artificial flowers.)

Instead I was overwhelmed with the fact that this is really happening.

I haven't always wanted a big wedding. We're not particularly having a big wedding. It's going to be a relaxed family affair- one flower girl, no best man, no hats, no hen/stag events, no videographer. I would have been happy popping to Orlando and doing it in a strappy summer dress.

But I've always wanted to get married.

And more than anything- I've always wanted to plan a wedding.

Not even necessarily mine. Anyone's.

When I was a kid I used to tell everyone that I was going to be a wedding planner when I grew up. It was always assumed- to my absolute horror- that it was because of the Jennifer Lopez film.

It wasn't.

It was because of the film Father of the Bride. It was and continues to be one of my absolute favourite films, and I know it almost word for word. I watched it on the plane on the way home from the holiday that we got engaged on, and I will be putting it on again as soon as Pitch Battle finishes.

And I cannot believe that it's finally me.

I'm Annie. Granted I'm six years older than Annie and not living in my parents' mansion in LA. But that, ladies and gents, is where the differences end.

Tonight, when everything finally went quiet and I had a rare few minutes to reflect, a few things suddenly hit me....

1) I am no longer going to be Rebecca Ann Lund.

Obvious right?

Not really.

I knew I was going to change my name when I got married, but it's seemed so far away for so long. Then this evening I was filling in the form for my spray tan and realised it was the last time I'll circle the 'Miss' option, the last time I'll fill in that last box with 'Lund'. My brothers are Lund. As is my Dad. My Grandad, my auntie and uncle. My blog is Lund. My degree. My name tag. My Boots loyalty card. Twenty eight years, twenty seven days, four hours, twenty nine minutes of my life as Miss Rebecca Ann Lund.

And suddenly it won't be me anymore?

 I voiced this to my dad's girlfriend, who lightened the mood by replying 'and will you be changing your Facebook name as you walk back up the aisle or will you be leaving it until after photos?'

This is why I'm pals with her.

2) My parents could rule the world.

Seriously. I am, as I am frequently told, fiercely independent. Which means that whilst I will regularly call my Mum and ask her opinion on topics as wide ranging as 'what shall I have for lunch?' to 'what shall we name our baby?' and will quite often call my dad to rant about something stupid that happened during my day so that he can also be outraged on my behalf, it's quite rare that I actually ask them to take any action for me.

I wouldn't have done during wedding planning, had I not put a Facebook status declaring that I had asked all of the sources I had at my disposal and couldn't seem to organise a microphone and speaker for the singer, and asking whether anyone would be able to help. People had started to comment when my Dad- who is in no way a singer or DJ and who it had not even crossed my mind to ask- commented 'I'll sort it', closely followed by 'sorted it.'

Bit embarrassing.

Similarly, every problem I've mentioned in passing in front of my mum, she's managed to fix. She bought my wedding planning book, she's providing baskets, a postbox, and jewellery, suggested the venue for me, she came to the first viewing and the final meeting, has solved guest list/table plan conundrums, and knows the best places to buy crafts.

How lucky I am.

3) On Monday I am going to be a bride.

I LOVE seeing a bride. Have done ever since I was old enough to know what a bride was. A friend and I used to take turns in walking down the middle of the lounge to 'Going to the Chapel' holding my mum's artificial flowers when we were about eight. When I lived in Rome I used to drive everyone crazy by gasping, pointing, and jumping up and down in excitement, leading them to think I'd seen a new incredible building only for it to be a bride. And now I get to be one? Seriously? I actually really don't love being the centre of attention (hence the desire for a smaller wedding), but I am so excited to be a bride.

4) I seriously have the best people around me.

My parents, grandparents, best friends, brothers, cousins (especially cousins, actually) aunties, uncles, Hayley (who I regularly refer to just as My Hayley as she isn't actually related but may as well be), colleagues, parents from work, and even friends on Facebook who I haven't seen for years have all  been INCREDIBLE in helping my dreams come true and I am blown away by the efforts some people will go to for other humans every day.

5) Most importantly of all...

On Monday I am going to become a wife.

Earlier on my Dad's girlfriend said 'you're going to have a husband!'

For just a second I felt really, really grown up. I am going to have a husband. I'm going to be wearing two rings on my left hand, and I'm going to be able to say 'my husband,' and soon after that 'our baby.'

Then I looked across the room and remembered I'm marrying Dale.

'My husband' sounds ever so grown up and serious.

Dale was playing Cotton Eyed Joe for my Dad telling him he's going to organise for that to be played as we walk back up the aisle instead of the song I painstakingly chose that means a lot to us.

I had a flash back to the excitement on his face when he pulled out the blow up electric guitar he had bought and jumped around the living room with last week.

Remembered that when I was only eight weeks pregnant and telling him we mustn't get too excited, he was looking at nappies, suggesting names, and asking if it was too soon to be buying the baby a bubble gun.

Thought of the time we spent Christmas in Disney and he was jumping on the bed on Christmas Eve in excitement.

Realised that agreeing to spend the rest of my life with this guy is not as huge and grown up as it seems.

It's what was always meant to happen, and what I knew I would one day do on the day I met him.

Suddenly leaving behind my name doesn't seem so serious, and instead it seems that the absolute honour, joy and excitement that comes with selecting that 'Mrs' box and typing in his last name will never wear off.

So I will blink away the overwhelmed tears before they drip down my face and wreck my spray tan, put Father of the Bride on, and practise walking down the aisle in my lounge one last time. Planning this wedding has been every bit as magical and exciting as I thought it would be, now I only hope the day is just as wonderful. And I know that the rest of my life as Mrs Stark will live up to expectations.

I do :)

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