My Big Fat Irish Wedding: Part 1

It’s been a while! I deleted a post which said I had been down.  Multiple reasons, will go into those later.

This entry has been over a month in the writing, so if it is wildly varying in tone, you know why.  I should also mention: I am writing this largely for my own reference, as I haven’t got the best memory so have been writing this as I go.

Which is why this is part 1.

If we’re being all diarist: Weight gained since July: 15lbs (seriously.  I also made no attempt to do that whole losing weight before the wedding thing because I couldn’t be arsed, then ate a stone on honeymoon).  Alcohol: HOLY SHIT  MY LIVER etc.

Hello! I got married two weeks a month ago! So, for my Google searchingness- I am now Ms Seaneen Molloy-Vaughan. Which sounds rather posh. Never thought I’d be a double-barrelled (and I was never going to be a Mrs.) but I can’t give up Molloy, and Vaughan is too cool a surname to wave by shaking my head at. So there you go.

It was a fantastic day.

Classy. I’m the one in white.

But before I go into the fantasticness- a few gripes! I don’t want to end this post negatively, but I do want to briefly moan.

First of all, the niggles so I can rant somewhere and so I don’t end the post negatively (it was an overwhelmingly positive six weeks).

1) Many, many people gave me the same piece of advice, which was this. Find 10 minutes during the day to be together, just the two of you. We didn’t do this. The reception, especially the evening, is an absolute blur. In the nicest possible way. My beloveds at the ceremony and then more beloveds turning up all through the evening. Every time I said hello to one person, another lovely person was there to say hello to also! It was very overwhelming and it made me rather tearful. (It may also be blurry due to copious amounts of booze).

2) Stress does ruin it a little. It was the most stressful thing I have ever organised in my life and I wish I had sat back a bit and let it happen.  The week before I was a wreck.  I cried a lot- I cried because I missed my dad, who I didn’t even mention in my sort-of-speech.  I felt awful about this, until I remembered how much I had cried.  I think I just didn’t want to cry again.  Besides, I was wearing a locket with his photo on his wedding day- he was there.

I was also emotional meeting my friend David, who has been one of my best-internet-friends for 9 years.  Him being there (having come from Baltimore) added to the mad surrealness of it all.  I felt like tapping his face to see if it made the, “Thunk” sound a monitor does, which I definitely wouldn’t know, nope.

GET BACK ON FACEBOOK CHAT YOU WEIRDO

It also added to feeling of quite overwhelming privilege.  I cannot believe how many people stepped up to help, to be there.  I felt so much more honoured than someone who chainsmoked her way through her wedding appeared to be.

On the morning and the night before, I was incredibly stressed. The place was a mess when my big sister Michelle arrived, but she managed, in her magic way, to clean it in about half an hour.  Then everyone came and the quietness I had had that week vanished- my family were there (my mum and baby sister for the first time) and it was definitely happening, and it was real.  I felt very emotional saying goodbye to Robert as he went to stay with his family, and I felt emotional saying goodbye, in a way, to my own family.

They were devastated.

Face masks were on (they are not my family’s actual skin- their skin is green, as all Irish peoples’ skin is), and my mum- my MUM!- even had a cheeky drink.

Adrenaline kept me awake until 5am, but I did have to take medication or else I would have started to get the runny-nose-sneezing-itching withdrawal later in the day.  I could only be roused at 11am and, as my sisters were out faithfully sourcing me a, “Something blue”, we were very late to get started.  So my flat was a nest of screeching, stressed, snappy women (and my brother, who was on Facebook), half-high on hairspray. Not the relaxed, “Haha, let us pose for photos where I am drinking fizzy shit and looking excited and oh look, I’m being reflected in this grand mirror which coincidentally has a bunch of white roses in front of it, how lovely!” mornings you so often see on wedding websites. Because of shit taxi (3), I also exited the flat not in a cloud of  bridely serenity but screaming down the phone and scaring the neighbours.

I shouldn’t have been so stressed, as we got a lot of free help. A fantastic reader-now-friend Emma (of Fussy Tarts) made our wedding cake and loads of cupcakes. And look at it, it is just…amazing. And delicious.

“This was a triumph…”

My sister in law Kate made more cupcakes so everyone was well fed. My friend and Rethink companion Abigail did beautiful flowers for me and the bridesmaids (and the bouquet toss was skillfully executed by 4ft 11″ me not being able to throw it properly thus launching it into my friend’s face, then taking it back because it didn’t count and hey, THEY’RE MY BLOODY FLOWERS ALRIGHT) and Suzanne made the room and garden look beautiful with balloons, sparklers, bubbles, lights- it was gorgeous.

Everyone looking very happy here. I think we were delirious from hunger after the long wait for the ceremony.

Part of the stress was doing it on such a tiny budget. That beautiful room, and beautiful garden, with gorgeous food and (it nearly floored me, I felt so fancy) wee glasses of fizz on arrival all came to £600- for 50 people. So it can be done! If you don’t mind giving yourself a hernia in the process. (If you’re in London, it was at the Cambria in Loughborough Junction.  They were brilliant).
3) I was partly stressed due to the UTTERLY UNPROFESSIONAL Brixton Cars. Obviously, I couldn’t afford a car to take me there so I ordered an 8 seater taxi after another company let me down. I wish I had accepted their offer of 2 taxis and not rang this shower of bastards. They came 40 minutes late, by which time I had missed our wedding slot, and then got lost on the 5 minute journey (in two separate taxis as my superstar friend Sarah had been frantically ringing all the taxi places in the area so we actually got there). As a result, instead of relaxing before we left, I was screaming down the phone in complete panic. As another result, the timing of the day was an hour and a bit late. So we had people for the evening arriving during the speeches, and then our first dance (which was about the 20th by this point) much, much later in the evening, after the party had started, in front of loads of people and I was so awkward I just ate Robert’s face off. I had also forgotten most of us smoke and drink so everyone was in the (beautifully decorated, thanks to my friend Suzanne) garden and I had to call people up for the first dance, which is not what I wanted to happen! It felt a bit like calling the kids in from school. “Aw, MUM! Do we have to?” *puts out fag*

4) We went on honeymoon to Rome.  I now understand why people laze on beaches and drink coconut milk and suchwot on their honeymoons.  We were so tired we could barely move. It also rained heavily for most of the week, which, on arrival I was rather irritated by, but which turned out to be a blessing.  It was wonderfully cool, and there were lightning storms! I’ve never seen forked lightning and I kept waking up my sleeping husband (more on that later) by squealing.  I did take photos on my phone, which brings me to niggle 4 proper.  Don’t trust friendly Romans, because they will steal your phone.  On your 27th birthday.  All my wedding photos, texts, and photos of my bum (taken for medical purposes- really) gone. This WILL cause a massive fight with your beloved because you are a) pissed and b) pissed the fucking-fuck off.  We made up for it the next day, however.

Right, niggles over!

I have never been so nervous in my life.  And I’m a pretty nervous person.  I’m someone who turns around from nights meeting friends and fakes illness, or, even more ridiculously, fakes going out to people when what I did was sit in the house.  As soon as Robert left, I hit Twitter. And I try to do Twitter, without much success, but I was a demon that night.  I looked for any indication he might not show up.  This is social networking nerves.  Has he just tweeted, “#marriageisforknobends I’m going to France”? I didn’t really think he wouldn’t show up.  But I was aware of the huge enormity of him not doing so.  I read multiple, “Ditched at the altar” tales and reckoned with myself I’d still be pretty cool with the cats and Robert’s bollocks as earrings.  No harm done.

#fuckthisshit

I’ve always been close to my family.  I’ve lived in London for 10 years and I have never met anyone who understands my background.  The poverty, the penances, but moreso, the bond you have, through better or worse (I heard that one later). We are weird.  We are dysfunctional. But we love each other.  It was the first time I had ever had my mum in my house, and the bickering, the arguments, the jokes- made me keen and yearn for my childhood.  For a life I was leaving.  Willingly, very willingly to make my own family.  But I felt the pain acutely.  I wanted to talk of unicorns and shit and distract myself from the massive step I was taking.  But it was like Christmasses.  It was difficult not to revert to my childhood self, to be the adult, to be the person whose home it was.

I didn’t feel grown up.  We’re not grown ups.

Robert. Silly, tall, funny, bizarre, beautiful man, who was now going to stop being my fiance (he was adamant I used this word, I never got used to it, how would you in 8 months?) was going to be my husband.  In the months and weeks and years before I felt a kick a pride every time I saw this messy haired silly sod through a crowd, his Dulwich Hamlet scarf, even in hot weather, tucked up to his chin, his beautiful hands. So vivid and colourful and real.  He was mine.  And I was his. My first love.  And my last. (Which I had engraved into his wedding ring).

But to be someones’- really someones’- You don’t need a marriage certificate for it, of course.  But that is what we were doing.  I remember looking around the newly tidy (thanks Michelle and Orlaigh!) flat and thinking, “What would a wife do? Should I be different now? Apron? Duster? Stockings?” And deciding- not much and kicking my shoes onto the bedroom floor, hanging my tights around the heater, like I have always done (but cleaning plates as soon as I’ve used them: WHAT HAPPENED TO ME? WHY DON’T I LET THOSE WONDERFUL GREEN COLONIES GROW ANYMORE?)

I’ve already mentioned the morning. My family and my friend Sarah were with me and kept saying, “It won’t matter, really, as soon as you get there, this will all mean nothing”.  I told them, politely, to go fuck themselves.  Of course it would, I bet I’ve missed my fucking wedding!  Robert’s gone and married a fucking chair! He’s currently commenting on its sexy velvet upholstery while I’m standing in the middle of the council estate I live in bothering the fucking neighbours!” I got out of the (free) taxi, outside the register office and:

YES I LOOK LIKE AN EEJIT. But that was my actual expression when I saw everyone

Because my phone got stolen, I only have a photo of later.

People I loved, adored, all standing there.  Waiting for us, and our wedding. My mum in law, my sister in law, and Robert, not there, hiding, doing his groom thing.  All proud and tall- even Rhoda looked tall, even tiny Laurie who I often stand on my tiptoes when talking to- looked tall.

And nerves- but different nerves this time, not taxi nerves, not, “I look like shit nerves” (I did my own make up, but my lovely sister did my hair) but, “Holy shit, soon I will be getting FUCKING MARRIED” nerves kicked in. Delicious, fizzing, terrifying, hands numbing nerves. This. Is. It.

And then, dissolved, as they are, by life.  What the hell are we supposed to be doing?  I called our guests in about six times then exhorted them to stay outside.  Lots of photos in the register office room with my family and my family-to-be.  Thankful of the something to do. Feeling like my knees were going to go any second.

GORGEOUS SODS.

Occasionally Robert’s best man Nick came out of the room.  Every time my heart skipped a beat that he was going to blythely announce that Robert had crawled out the back window.

The registar came.  She was amazing.  “Do you have the music?” I demanded of her.  She reassured me that she had 20 years experience in this field.  “But the person who does the music just started today”.  From my rigor mortis face she laughed.  And then-

“How do you want to walk in?”

My bridesmaids first.  My sisters: Michelle, Paula, Orlaigh, and my sister in law, Kate.  Then me, on the arm of my little brother in the vestiges of, “Father of the Bride” (in my dad’s obvious, aching absence.  My brother asked if he should cut his dreads off. Silly man).

Everyone turned to look at me.  Smiling smiles that broke faces.  It was unearthly. It was like I was being welcomed into heaven.

And then I saw Robert.

Robert usually has incredibly messy hair.  He sprays it with coloured spray.  Barely washes it (likewise, I don’t wash mine often).  He looked so neat.  Like a boy at his holy communion.  Newly washed and scrubbed, clean and clean shaven.  It was odd, I don’t see him like that often.  But so lovely- the knowledge of how seriously he had taken it. Not that I doubted it. But I know him and his worrisomeness, and imagined him, in that second, worrying about his hair. And such a smile.  And warm brown eyes.  And beautiful-beautifulness, charming charming-ness, shyness. Proudness.

I can barely remember half the ceremony.  Just the, “ssh” of cameras and the registar saying stuff while I felt dizzy and unreal but so, so happy.

And our vows. Holding hands.  Awkward in front of the glare.  Meaning anything more than I had ever meant. As long as we both shall live.

Robert winced at, “the union between a man and a woman”.  Visibly so.  I was too cuckoo to notice.

My love. My darling.

Unfortunately, Robert’s wedding ring was a wee bit small.  Nothing a bit of Vaseline wouldn’t fix.

That’s his mum losing it in the background!

Then we were pronounced husband and wife.

You may kiss your bride!

To cheering, roaring applause, we married.

The rest to follow!

11 Responses

  1. Oh man, reading this has made me cry all over again.🙂 xxx

  2. It is wonderful to read of your weding day Seaneen. I have Bipolar and am fortunate enought to be marrying my sweetheart in January. Congratulations to you and Robert. x

  3. Lovely pictures, love the hair! Glad everything worked out, even if there was unnecessary stress!

  4. Oh, that’s lovely. Your photos are gorgeous, your husband is gorgeous, you are gorgeous. I love your dress and your hair. Actually on the verge of tears.

  5. Brilliant documentary of some of ‘your day’ I am choking on tears as I read your love and see it in your eyes. All the stress and fears have (hopefully) disappeared and you can both continue to love and cherish each other for all of time. XX

  6. May you both enjoy a long and happy marriage.

  7. Fuck you’re good at doing words, woman!

  8. ‘YES I LOOK LIKE AN EEJIT. But that was my actual expression when I saw everyone’

    you look beautiful.

    exquisite bone structure.

  9. Oh Seaneen I had stopped crying, now like Narky I am in tears again… you both look fabulous, I am so pleased for you!

    Ally
    x

  10. I just want to say…the photograph where you arrived and saw everyone waiting for you is simply extraordinary! There are so many beautiful emotions in your eyes, and the genuine wonder that parted your lips is raw and intensely beautiful. You went from stressed and fearful and angry to suddenly seeing everyone you loved there waiting to support you, and suddenly realised how truly loved you were, in turn. Whomever caught that moment is genius. I think you are very, very fortunate to have such an image from you day. And by the way, I think you looked fabulous!

  11. Firstly, happy anniversary. Secondly, you’re both gorgeous, but you in particular look like a doll. Your eyes are beautiful. I would put your wedding photo up on my fridge if I didn’t think it would make me look like a stalker.

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