Our wedding day.
What a day.
What a spectacular, phenomenal day.
What a momentous, miraculous milestone on my journey back to myself, on my journey to love, on my journey to the heart.
A journey that began almost two decades ago when I finally found the courage to slow down, to stop running away from my pain, to step inside and to explore my inner world.
A journey that I’ve traced on this blog, which I began as I turned 40 – back then, a single woman, somewhat lost and bemused (how on earth did I end up here, at this age and stage, with an impressive CV but no partner and no children?) – and which I write today, as a newly-wed, aged 48.
It took so much to get here – so much time, so much effort, so much energy, so much bravery and so much help.
Thank you to all of you who’ve supported me along the way, from my blog and book readers to my friends, to my fellows, to my family, to my coaching clients and retreat attendees, and to my therapist!
Of course, the journey doesn’t end here. I have arrived at marriage, thanks to my unwavering commitment to knowing and understanding myself and to healing my past wounds.
But I still have a long way to go. I am still me, with all my struggles, fears, worries and tears.
Some of those struggles, fears, worries and tears surfaced on my wedding morning. I guess I could have predicted that my emotions would be running high that day. That’s the case for most brides but for me, there seemed to be so many layers of emotion.
I’d waited so long. I was 48. I’d worked so hard to get here. My life had turned out beautifully in so many ways, but it wasn’t the life I’d planned and it wasn’t the traditional life.
I thought I’d get married younger. I’d simply imagined I’d have children (without really understanding my ambivalence around motherhood). I’d imagined my parents would be there, watching on proudly, supporting me.
My dear dad passed away years ago and my dear mum couldn’t make my wedding in the end, because of her own deteriorating physical and emotional health.
Even as I write that now, one month on from my wedding day, tears spring to my eyes.
My mum wasn’t there.
So I guess it’s not surprising that her absence floored me for a while on my wedding morning.
Throw in stress and time pressure due to indecision, procrastination and perfectionism, my own misjudgement of the number of people I needed in my room on my wedding morning (it was chaos!), and the sudden, shocking discovery of a pulled thread right in the centre of my eye-wateringly expensive and absolutely gorgeous wedding dress and you have a recipe, right there, for emotional overload.
So I cried.
Or rather I fanned my face like crazy to stop the tears from rolling down my immaculately made-up face.
And for a moment there, just for a brief moment, I didn’t think I could do it. I didn’t think I could get into that dress and make it outside. I didn’t think I could get married.
It was too much.
There was too much emotion.
I was overwhelmed.
My mum wasn’t there (and it wasn’t just the fact that my mum was absent – it was all the feelings of loss that her absence stirred, all the past losses and the losses to come).
I’d been short-tempered with my fabulous friends, about which I felt ashamed.
There was a pull in my dress!
The wedding march was playing outside and I was nowhere near ready.
I don’t think I can do it. I can’t do it.
And then I did it. I leant on my friends. I summoned all my strength. I put the tears away in a box. And I stepped into my wedding dress.
I’m a bride. I’m a bride!
And then this bride stepped outside, into the glorious June sunshine, under wide blue skies, on a farm deep in the Dorset countryside and suddenly, everything changed.
The stress, grief and overwhelm dissolved, whisked away by the warm breeze and replaced by excitement, glee and love.
I’m getting married.
And then I saw my husband-to-be, stood at the bottom of the steps of the pergola, dancing to our upbeat Latin wedding march, even though he usually hates to dance in public or to be the centre of attention, and everything was right, with me, with us, with my life, with the world.
Perfect, in fact.
From that moment on, it was phenomenal, so phenomenal that I don’t even know where to start.
So I won’t.
I’ll just say that we sang and danced our hearts out. We laughed and talked. We reunited with old friends and we reminisced. We sang karaoke!
And I’ll share some photos below (courtesy of Camilla Arnhold Photography) so that you can see for yourself – the love, the joy, the fun, the miracles.
I have so much more to say about my wedding, about being married, about the fear that kicked in a few days into my honeymoon (what on earth have I done, committing myself to this man for the rest of my life?), about the emotional comedown and exhaustion afterwards, but I’ll leave it there for now, to be continued another day.
Importantly, though, before I go, I want to encourage you to open your heart, to open your heart, to open your heart (yes, I meant to type that three times).
To open your heart to love, to life, to intimacy, to relationship, to creativity, to success, to abundance.
Yes, I know you’re scared. Of course you are. I was scared too. Terrified to open my tender heart to someone, terrified to love, terrified to choose one person in case I got it wrong.
But I did it, and you can too. You can open your heart to whatever you need and want to open it too.
Do so knowing that you’re not alone. Do so knowing that I walk by your side. Do so knowing that I’m still scared. Still scared of all the challenges that remain. Still scared of deeper intimacy. Still scared to speak my truth. Still scared to ask for my needs to be met. Still scared to rise and soar and reach my true potential as a writer, speaker and coach. Still scared to run a business that requires people to trust in me and to invest in me.
I’m still scared. I still feel shame. I still carry pain.
That’s life, isn’t it? That’s how it goes.
No risk, no reward.
So let’s risk.
And let’s reap the rewards.
Enjoy some of my wedding highlights: