Well, not just me! Obviously a wedding anniversary needs a husband. And boy do I have a husband to big up.
8 years ago I stood on a beach in Mauritius and pledged my love to him.
And I would do it again now. Today. In an instant. He’s my lobster (Friends reference, if you don’t get it then soz, but that’s what Google is for)
This year has been tough and challenging and difficult. And he’s been amazing. He gets me. He understands me (mainly). And when he doesn’t understand, he still knows how to cope with me. Whether that’s letting me get drunk and rant (not big and not clever, but sometimes necessary), or hugging me while I cry, or leaving me to stew on things when he can tell that’s what I need – he just gets it.
The husband completes me. He also infuriates me. I think that’s healthy. I don’t think the sun shines out of his ass. Sometimes I want to punch him in the face. But always with love (so don’t judge me, yeah?!) Yes we argue, and yes he makes me cross, and yes I make him cross, but that’s life. It’s healthy. I don’t hold shit against him, and he doesn’t with me (although sometimes he threatens to throw my shoes out if I don’t tidy up). But sometimes, even right in the middle of a disagreement, I’m already looking for a way out. A backtrack. Because I hate us not being friends. That’s the main thing that we’re both here for. He’s my very best friend.
Someone at work (a boy, obvs) said last week “well it’s only 8 years, so not a massive anniversary”. And I was very vocal in my level of disagreement. Not because I’m married. But because I appreciate the value of marriage. Every wedding anniversary is important. Every day as a married couple is important. Because marriage isn’t easy. Don’t get me wrong, it’s not overly hard – if it is you should probably throw the towel in. But anyone who gets married expecting nothing but hearts and flowers is misguided.
The best things in life are worth working at.
So, to my husband, my other half, the tonic to my vodka…
Happy Anniversary sunshine. Same time next year, yeah?
If it’s that easy to influence the future then please could someone give me a million pounds? Ta!
Anyway, onto the questions, and my responses!
You are leaving tomorrow to start a life in a new country, where would you go?
I think it would have to be the US. There’s no language barrier and the country is so big and varied that you could holiday and travel there and see so much. Internal flights are pretty cheap and as convenient as catching a bus. I’d base myself in the Los Angeles area for the great climate, and plan visits to New York, Dallas, Nashville, Niagra Falls and Miami, and a return to San Francisco, as a matter of priority.
You can take someone for a weekend away to the place you had the best holidays ever, where would that be and who would you take to go with you?
It would probably be the West Hollywood neighbourhood of Los Angeles, with the husband. We’ve been there 4 times and had some amazing experiences. Even though we’ve done it all before, every single time has been fabulous, and would be a pleasure to recreate.
This would be my schedule:
Saturday – We’d stay at the Mondrian on Sunset, as usual, and have breakfast at Mel’s Drive-In (which is the coolest 50s American diner ever, check out the photos!), go to Griffiths Observatory for the planetarium show and the views, spend the afternoon by the hotel pool, have early evening sushi at Katana (the first place I ever tried sushi, and it was amazing!) and Happy Hour frozen margaritas at Cabo Cantina then shower and change before heading down to Sunset Strip for drinks at the Whisky a Go Go, maybe catch a band, then grab a booth at The Rainbow and eat one of their amazing pizzas.
Sunday – bottomless mimosas and a breakfast burrito at The Saddle Ranch, then bus down to Santa Monica, wander round the pier and go on the big wheel, hire bikes and cycle to Venice Beach, look around all the stalls and talk to the crazy people, back to Santa Monica for a bit of shopping and some late lunch, then back to We-Ho to play rock music on the jukebox at the Rainbow, maybe get another photo with Ron Jeremy and then finish the night with burgers and milkshakes in Mel’s.
(all photos by me or the husband between 2010 and 2012)
God that’s made me miss LA!
You can get married wherever you want to, your budget is limitless, what is your choice?
We got married on a beach in Mauritius which was pretty damn special, and I wouldn’t change that in any way.
I’d quite like to do a renewal of vows in Las Vegas though, officiated by Elvis!
During your travels you can bring back home one animal as a pet, which one would you pick?
A panda. No doubt. They’re so cute and playful and cuddly. And naughty – watch this video to see my point!
I don’t know why I don’t have one as a pet already.
You can get back in time and relive one family trip, which one?
A week in Greece with my Dad. I blogged about it here. Things were pretty fraught between us after my parents’ divorce and the holiday not only fixed our Dad and daughter relationship but strengthened it no end. Plus the location and food and climate was just so idyllic and beautiful – I’ve actually been back 3 times since.
What is the first thing you would pack for a one year travel around the world?
My passport! Duh!
What would your fantasy 100th birthday destination be, and why?
I don’t want to live to 100. Sorry to be miserable, but it would be too sad going somewhere and not being able to do everything it had to offer.
During your travel you can learn one sport to become a pro, what would that be?
I’m not a sporty person at all and don’t really crave to be, but it would be nice to be able to surf. Or maybe snowboard.
I lack the coordination to ever be able to do either!
Plus surfing is so wet, and snowboarding is so cold.
Does drinking sangria until I fall over count as a sport?
Yesterday I blogged all about the planning. Today I’m going to share our big day!
We’d booked our wedding for 4pm, so we had the whole day to relax before hand. We had breakfast as usual, then chilled out on the beach. We decided to have lunch at about 1pm, and then go and get ready. I’d been extremely relaxed and calm through the whole run up, but by lunchtime I was starting to feel a little weird! Not having doubts or anything like that. I think the enormity of the situation had just hit me.
We were offered separate rooms to get ready, but we decided we’d prefer to be together. We could see the preparations happening from our window; palm fronds being laid down for an aisle, a white covered table at the waters edge with beautiful flowers. We had a couple of drinks, and laughed and smiled a lot and then hubby-to-be disappeared downstairs while I added the finishing touches and put my dress on. My planned hairstyle didn’t work out because of the heat so I had a bit of a panicky wobble, but just improvised and actually it worked out all the better for it – much more laid back.
Then the wedding co-ordinator came to collect me, and brought me my bouquet which I was wowed by (I hadn’t seen it up until that point, apart from in photos). It was a stunning mix of lillies and birds of paradise flowers. It was truly amazing.
Our main wedding flowers were orange and white gerbera daisies with gypsophilia.
From there, it all went by in a whirl. We’d agreed that I would walk down the “aisle” and meet husband at the end, but when he saw me he forgot our plans and walked up to meet me! And we kissed and held hands and literally ran down the aisle; the photographer had to tell us to slow down so he could get some shots!
As it was just the two of us the hotel had said they could provide witnesses, but we’d made friends with one of the barmen (Kevin, very Mauritian name, ha!) so we requested him and he was allowed some time off from his bar shift. They stood to the side while the official ran through our vows. The sea was blue and the sand was white and there was a very slight breeze and it was one of the most perfect experiences of my life – in truth made all the better by it being just the two of us. It was so intimate and special, and all about us.
Then we sat, and drank cocktails, and had wedding cake…
…and literally just mooned at each other (not the bottom flashing type, the in love type) for a while, and then the photographer took us to lots of different places for pretty shots (getting in and out of a hammock was fun – NOT!) and people clapped and smiled and wished us well and it was just AMAZING!
And then we went back to our room, as husband and wife, and there was chilled champagne.
And we sat on the balcony and mooned some more (still no bottoms!) and we phoned home to share our joy and I managed to rack up a £200 mobile phone bill (oops, that was nice to get home to) and it was all quite overwhelming and lovely. I have a great picture of the husband looking out over the balcony and it looks like he’s thinking “oh crap, now I can’t escape”, or wondering if he’s strong enough to swim out to sea to get away from me.
In the evening we’d arranged to have dinner on the beach, just the two of us. The table was set with wedding flowers and we were waited on at our table with wine and food.
It gets dark at around 7pm in Mauritius so we couldn’t see anything apart from each other, and the sound of the sea lapping at the shore was idyllic.
Ah, writing this has brought back so many fantastic memories! I want to do it all again!
Getting married abroad was something of a no-brainer for us. The husband hates fuss and fanciness. The thought of standing up in front of people – albeit our friends and family – filled him with dread. I could have taken it personally, been stubborn or refused to marry him, but in truth I liked the idea too. For me being married was always about being with him and making our vows together. The big day and the fancy car and meal and stuff wasn’t at the forefront of my mind.
So we I started investigating where to go. It made sense to be somewhere exotic and farflung. It would be our honeymoon destination as well, so it needed the pre requisite good weather, beautiful beaches, palm trees. It needed to be somewhere that offered a wedding package, that we could trust to make our day what we wanted it to be. Also, importantly, it needed to be a country where our marriage would also be recognised as legal in the UK, and where getting the marriage licence wasn’t an unknown quantity and a bit of a faff (as was the case with Thailand).
And so we settled on Mauritius.
I can’t emphasise enough how easy the whole thing was. I found a company online (Paramount Travel) who worked directly with hotels on the island who specialised in weddings. They were so helpful and accommodating; working with me to find the best dates, advising on weather and times to travel, going backwards and forwards when I kept changing my mind and wanting to know more and more little details. We chose our resort and hotel and dates and then they made all the necessary arrangements – flights, accommodation, wedding package booking, legalities. It was that easy!
My Mom made my wedding dress – it was something I’d always wanted as a kid (she’s a good dressmaker, it wasn’t a DIY crappy job!) Because of the heat and being married on the beach I wanted something very loose and flowing with chiffon. I was able to pack it in my case and hide it in the wardrobe, rather than having to get it transported separately, although I did request extra luggage allowance from the airline, which I was entitled to as I was travelling as a bride.
We didn’t need to do anything else until we arrived.
On the advice of the travel agent, due to the micro-climate and best weather for that time of year, we chose a resort in the North of the island – Grand Baie – and a hotel called Le Mauricia which was on it’s own private beach. It was quite a drive from the airport, in the South, and the weather was quite dull and rainy all the way there, then when we arrived at the resort the sun came out and it was glorious! What a sign!
On our first day there we met with the wedding co-ordinator who showed us around the hotel and the various spots we could choose to have our ceremony. We’d always said it needed to be on the beach, and there was a lovely palm fringed area that we could actually see from our room where weddings took place. We chose our flowers, and food and wine for after the ceremony and that was that. We had 4 days to relax – the only thing we were told not to do was get sunburnt! 4 lovely relaxing days of eating, drinking cocktails, relaxing in the sun and getting plenty of sleep. Bliss.
On the day before our wedding ceremony we got picked up early by a pre-arranged taxi and taken to the capital to do all of the legal paperwork at a solicitor’s office. The taxi driver was slightly crazy and the driving was a little manic, which was all good fun! And that was that. Next stop, the big day.