Reader, I married him.

Too cheesy? 😉

Ok, here’s how it really went down.

On Saturday 10 September I married the love of my life, Ralph McCarthy (aka Replete), in a small ceremony at Launceston Town Hall in Cornwall. We held our reception at Trevillet Mill Cottages – four beautiful 15th century cottages set in a stunning valley in Tintagel – which we had hired for the entire weekend. Instead of a formal, sit down affair, we invited family and friends to join us for the entire weekend, to make the place their own and contribute to the merriment in whatever way they saw fit. I arranged everything and, with the help of my family, we decorated the place with bunting, fairy lights, flowers and candles. Not that the site needed much sprucing-up, as it was already absolutely gorgeous, but with all of the decorations in place we really couldn’t have wished for a more beautiful venue.

Our wedding was, as I said, a small affair – just 30 people, comprising family and friends. Neither Ralph nor I wanted a big do, and inviting more people would have meant having to compromise on the kind of wedding we wanted. As it is, I am immensely grateful to everyone who came, for making such a long trip and being so understanding. I think that as soon as everyone saw the location, they understood why we chose to have our wedding there.

Our wedding colour was supposed to be a soft blue-grey and Ralph was dressed to suit this theme in a pair of indigo jeans, a light blue shirt and a blue/grey waistcoat, with soft brown shoes and a belt to match. Thanks to Sam on this front, for taking my poor fiancé shopping and getting him kitted out in fine style. However, finding bridesmaid dresses for my sister and cousin’s daughter proved to be a bit more tricky, especially after I spotted a gorgeous nude-coloured dress by Phase Eight that featured a scalloped neckline, soft lace overlay and double-layered skirt, that I knew would suit both of the girls. So, I compromised and went pink! And they both looked absolutely gorgeous 🙂

When it came to finding my dress, I only ended up trying on 2. The first dress  was everything I didn’t want – form fitting, low neckline, diamante, fishtail etc etc. In fact, out of the 2000-odd dresses I looked at online, most of them ended up on the “do not want list”, which far exceeded my “want” list in terms of both length and vehemence. So, I kept on searching. And searching, and searching, and searching. And I tried to stick to my original budget, but dammit if I wasn’t finding, here and there, a few dresses that sorta kinda almost matched up to the dream dress I had in my mind, but which were a little too pricey to say yes to. Finally I found an Australian company – Grace Loves Lace – who had a dress that almost fit what I wanted. I was running out of time and had to make a decision. I gave myself one week to decide. And then … I found Victoire Vermeulen, and I saw their Cigogne dress, and I knew that it was The One. Handmade French lace, a fine silk woven skirt and loose silk tie in the back, which was cut right down to the base of my spine, 3/4 length sleeves and a boat neck. Demure, rustic, chic and unusual – it was perfect. The only problem was, not only was it in Paris, but it was massively, massively over budget. Nevertheless, I found myself in their Paris showroom, facing myself in the mirror, wearing Cigogne, and dammit if I didn’t do that very cliché thing and start welling up because it was exactly what I wanted, right down to the smallest detail, and right then and there I knew that it was either this dress or I’d be going bare ass up the aisle. So … a week later Cigogne was hanging in my mother’s spare room, and a month after that my dress and I went together to see a dressmaker (Wendie at Perfect Fit Dressmaking in Leeds) and 3 weeks later I wore Cigogne, with its matching floor length French lace veil, while saying my vows to the love of my life <3

The ceremony itself is such a blur I can hardly remember it. I’m really looking forward to getting the photos back from our photographer, Joey Lamb (woosh woosh) as I know they’ll help me recall the finer details. The things I do remember are lovely – Ralph welling up as he read his vows, placing the rings on each other’s fingers, our first kiss as a married couple and the pronouncement that we were Mr and Mrs McCarthy, and sitting next to my husband as we posed for photos with the registry book and gold fountain pen. And then woosh! Back into the Beauford for a bottle of champagne and leisurely drive back to Trevillet, during which time the driver kept gently asking Mrs McCarthy what she would like and I had to keep reminding myself that that was me now. Or, as Patty (Ralph’s mum) would say – Mrs Mac. Not sure I’ll be using that one 😉

Of course, having the perfect dress and the perfect venue and the perfect fiancé doesn’t mean you’ll have the perfect wedding. And boy oh boy, we sure did not have the perfect wedding. Firstly, the music debacle. They didn’t have the facilities to play music off a memory stick. So there’s me waiting in the back room like a muppet while Sam, who gave me away, popped over the road to get a cable so we could run the laptop through the sound system. And then whilst I was walking in my veil caught in the door and my head jerked back and Sam had to rescue me AGAIN! And then, oh my lord, our perfect naked black forest gateaux wedding cake, which my mother desperately wanted to make and put so much time and effort into, ended up looking like a spaceship had crash landed into a bowl of mixed berries and cream. Our mantra for the day became “perfectly imperfect” … and it was, right down to the very last wonky strawberry perched on the rim of the monstrously looming chocolate sponge. But the best part is that everyone had a great time. And we got married, and we had a great time, and all of my plans for rustic elegance went out the window and instead we all just drank and ate and enjoyed ourselves and it was perfectly imperfect, all the way.

Special thanks must go to Sam, first and foremost, for being the most wonderful best friend a person could ask for. From calming my nerves in the Beauford, to rushing over the road in his suit to go cable shopping, to walking me up the aisle and just for simply being there, being my friend, being my rock and being himself. Both Ralph and I love you to pieces and we hope you’ll always be in our lives and on our next special occasion I promise you can wear your white three-piece suit and top hat – in fact, I insist upon it.

Secondly, to my beautiful bridesmaids, Alison and Ellie, for being amazing and being there when I needed you and helping me whenever I asked and for just being calm and organised and gorgeous. Alison – you are the best little sister I could have ever asked for. And Ellie – you are simply amazing. You are one of the most amazing people I have ever met. You were so helpful and so attentive and patient, and every single one of our guests told me how mature and lovely you were, and how interesting they thought you were to talk to. You were an absolute star and the best bridesmaid ever.

Thirdly, to my family. To my mum, for making literally the most bunting I have ever known anyone to make in such a short amount of time, and for making our perfectly imperfect wedding cake, which everyone enjoyed. You worked your ass off for our wedding and we are so grateful for all of your help. To the boys – Graham, Jonathan and Callum, for hanging bunting and organising things and generally being practical and doing what you were told in a very helpful way. To my cousin Andrea, her husband Gwyn and my auntie Jean, for taking over the kitchen and BBQ and ensuring everyone had the time of their lives and wanted for nothing. To my stepdad Martin, for pitching in wherever he was needed and generally being helpful and happy. And to my mum’s friend Katie, who did our stunning wedding flowers – including my bouquet and those for my bridesmaids – and asked for nothing in return.

Fourthly, to Ralph’s family, who travelled such a long way to be with us and who I am now so happy to count as my own family too. We appreciate all the help you gave us and love it that you were there to share our special day with us, and we both hope we’ll see you all again soon!

Fiftly, as Ralph likes to say, to our friends, who likewise made such an effort and contributed so much fun and laughter and love throughout the weekend. We invited you all because we value having you in our lives, and it was you who truly made our wedding so special. Thank you all, so much, and we can’t wait to see you all again soon as well 🙂

And finally – and this is just from me – I want to say thank you to Ralph. We’ve been together, on and off, for 10 years this month. When I met you, I never dreamed that we’d be making this commitment to one another. And yet here we are, husband and wife, sharing our lives together, planning a future together and making each other better people, each and every day. Thank you. I love you.