I always cry at weddings – especially my own" – so said Humphrey Bogart.
December heralds not just the festive season but the wedding season in South Africa. I attended one yesterday and it was perfect. A beautiful, blushing bride, a handsome but nervous bridegroom, proud parents and family and friends gathered to witness their vows. It was a garden reception – Mom did the flowers and family and friends chipped in with various helping hands to make the occasion unforgettable and the music and dancing continued late into the night. Even the PE Weather played its part! I will be writing more later in the week about this unique wedding!
As always when the vows were exchanged, it took me back to my own wedding day many years ago, the vows have remained unchanged but my wedding was very different.
I met my husband when I was an art student and was supplementing my income by waitressing in a soccer club. He was an apprentice trying to support himself on lowly wages and had taken a waiters job in the evening to make ends meet. My parents did not approve of the relationship and despite – or perhaps – because of this we were determined to get married. With no parental support it was a shoe string budget – a very short shoe string!
My designer gown was designed and made by me and I must have been going through a pastoral period as I resembled a milkmaid. My straw boater hat was decorated with pale blue ribbon and carnations in the colours of our local rugby team – red and white! The bridesmaids wore floppy hats; similar lilac cotton sprigged milking outfits and platform shoes. The groom was equally colourful in his burgundy suit, mauve shirt and maroon tie and wore Saville Row boots that had been left in the dressing room of the soccer club and fitted perfectly but creaked when he walked – perhaps that’s why they had been abandoned. As my parents refused to give their consent or approval I was ferried to the registry office by the bridesmaid’s father and left after the service in my new husbands’ pale blue Ford Anglia which he had parked on the municipality car park – I slid down the embankment to it in my blue satin wedding slippers but the car park attendant let us off the parking fee - I think we must have made a touching site!
As for the family – it didn’t take them long to realise that we were meant for each other and my father and husband soon became the very best of friends and we had our wedding vows blessed in church for our silver anniversary. Sadly by then our parents had passed away.
Thirty eight years later, a new country, several moves, many arguments, four sons, two grandchildren, much laughter, some sadness - our marriage has survived all that life has thrown at us. So yesterday when young couple promised to “have and to hold from this day forth, for better or for worse, for richer, for poorer, in sickness and in health, to love and to cherish: from this day forward until death do us part...” I was taken back to that day and thought how easy it was for me to make that promise and how hard it has been for me to keep it all these years.
To Saturday’s bride and groom – “wishing you health, wealth and most of all laughter and happiness.”