AS soon as we announced our engagement, people started asking about our wedding plans.
My sister was the first. ‘Where do you want to get married? What about your bridesmaids? Do you have any plans?’
I looked at Chris. Chris looked at me. ‘No. No plans.’
‘When do you want to get married?’
The questions just kept on coming. It took me by surprise. We’d just got engaged. We’d never thought about the details of a wedding.
‘What are your plans?’ My friend, Lisa, was about the millionth person to ask.
I shrugged. ‘Don’t know.’
‘I had a plan in my head.’ Lisa tapped her head. ‘Didn’t you have a plan in there?’
I shook my plan-less head. ‘No. I’ve never given it much thought.’
I felt bad that I’d never had a wedding plan. Should I have dreamed about getting married, planned all the details so that when the proposal came, I’d have it all sorted.
The only thing I’d ever dreamed about is being a writer. Chris knows this. ‘If I had the choice between a wedding and a book deal,’ I told him. ‘I’d choose the book deal.’ This is what I said to my new fiancé.
He took it remarkably well. ‘What we really want,’ he said. ‘Is a marriage without a wedding.’
‘That’s it! That’s exactly it.’
The whole idea of organising a wedding left us feeling a bit confused, but I liked the sound of a marriage without a wedding.
My Mum didn’t.’If you’re getting married, you have to have a wedding. It goes without saying.’ She rolled her eyes and pulled her I can’t believe you’re my daughter face.
‘Right,’ I said. ‘Okay.’
And so the search for a wedding venue began.
My cousin, Clare, had a lovely wedding about 20 years ago at Waterton Park Hotel. It seemed sensible to try there first. So, on a rainy, cold and miserable Sunday in January we attended our first wedding fair.
We pulled into the car park. ‘There’s a lot of people.’ The competitive me was already taking over. I wanted to be the first in.
‘Plenty of time,’ Chris is the laid back one in our relationship.
‘Have you got an umbrella?’ Mum was in the back of the car. ‘I don’t want to get my hair wet.’
It was just as busy inside. It seemed that everyone in the world had got engaged at Christmas and wanted to get married at Waterton. I have to say that it is a very beautiful place. It’s on an island and has a very romantic feel to it.
I was waiting for that feeling I’d heard that people get when they see their wedding venue or dress for the first time. My stomach rumbled, but apart from that, there was no feeling.
Chris and I stood in the reception room listening to the string quartet. We shook our heads and smiled. Waterton, however lovely it is, just wasn’t for us.
I was starting to feel a bit disappointed, but then we walked across the bridge into the newer part of the hotel where we got talking to a photographer, Gav Harrison. He showed us his albums and seemed really lovely.
‘Get his card.’ Mum came up behind us. ‘And let’s get out of here.’
Gav had a special offer on. If we booked in February, there was a discount.
‘Right!’ I pulled out of the car park. ‘That’s the challenge. We need a venue to go with the photographer.’
We drove home happy that at least our wedding planning was underway. We had a photographer.